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Taylor Abraham of Beach performs a layup in front of McKenna DeMoe of Thompson during their opening-round game of the North Dakota Class B basketball tournament Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Thompson falls in opening round of state tourney

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FARGO — Bailey Waldal had reason for optimism for the final two quarters Thursday.

“We knew we couldn’t do worse than we already had,” the Beach senior said.

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After struggling for 16 minutes, the Buccaneers did much better in the second half. Beach rallied from a 33-17 halftime deficit to defeat Thompson 56-48 in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota state Class B girls high school basketball tournament at the Fargodome.

Realistically, did Beach anticipate that turnaround? “I don’t know,” Waldal said, hesitating. “We were down by a lot.”

In fact, Thompson, after closing the first half on a 9-0 run, scored the first three points of the third quarter to go ahead 36-17. But Beach capitalized on big spurts to end the third and fourth quarters.

The final run came after Thompson, down 46-40, rallied to a tie at 46 when Karleigh Weber hit a 15-footer from the baseline. But Waldal’s trey from the corner with 2:25 left broke the tie and started a game-ending 10-2 spurt for the Buccaneers, with Hailee Farstveet scoring six in the clinching run.

“After we tied it, I felt the girls were getting some confidence back,” Thompson coach Jason Brend said. “But they had an answer for everything we did in the second half.”

The answers started after Shannon Galegher hit a layup for a 38-22 Tommies lead with 5:29 left in the third. Beach replied with an 18-2 run to tie the score at 40 entering the fourth quarter.

While Beach was making layups — six of them in the quarter-closing spurt, three of those on fast breaks — Thompson was just 1-of-14 shooting from the field.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Brend said. “We were a little above average shooting in the first half. The ball was falling in. But the second half was probably one of the poorer halves of shooting we’ve had all year.

“Beach had something to do with that with their defense. They were aggressive. And we quit attacking like we’d been in the first half. We settled for outside shots.”

Thompson finished 21-of-64 overall after making just 7 of 32 field-goal attempts in the second half. Beach, was 14-of-29 in the second half to finish 22-of-61 overall.

Beach coach Bob Waldal anticipated a better second half. “No way we were going to shoot that poorly again (in the second half),” the Buccaneers coach said. “We had good shots (in the first half). They were rolling in and out. You start to make the shots and everybody is a better team.

“And all of a sudden they couldn’t hit. Our kids stepped it up defensively. We didn’t do anything differently. We did play better.”

Waldal’s 19 points led the Buccaneers, with Cyndi Stedman scoring 16 and Farstveet 15. Farstveet and Waldal each had double doubles with 10 rebounds apiece.

Weber had 15 points for Thompson. Bethany Ivesdal and Galegher each scored 11, with Galegher getting a game-high 11 boards.

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