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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Skyhawks win 52-43 over Beach in Friday semifinals

FARGO — Shiloh Christian guards Gabby Wilkinson and Jaye Two Bears have played together since fifth grade.

Nothing represented that bond better than the no-look bullet pass from Two Bears to Wilkinson in the final minutes of the Skyhawks’ 52-43 win over Beach in the North Dakota Class B state girls basketball semifinals on Friday at the Fargodome.

“Me and Gabby know each other very well,” said Two Bears, who finished with 15 points and eight rebounds against Beach. “We have that connection, and we just feed each other. It’s a bond we have. She knows when to go, and I know when to go for her.”

Beach (23-3) had crawled back from a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter to tie the game on a layup from Taylor Abraham with 4 minutes, 52 seconds to go. Shiloh Christian answered with a 9-0 run highlighted by Two Bears’ no-look pass from the 3-point line to Wilkinson under the basket for a wide-open layup. It was two of Wilkinson’s game-high 17 points to go along with her seven rebounds in the game.

“They make it very easy to coach,” Shiloh Christian coach Jim Petrik said of Two Bears and Wilkinson. “When they’re on the floor, I know that I can trust them. I don’t have to say too many things. They make a lot of plays.”

The two aren’t just making plays for Shiloh Christian (25-1). They are making history for a program that has never won a state championship.

“This is the first time a girls or boys basketball team has made it this far,” Petrik said. “We’ve done so much through the summer and the past couple of years. We’ve always stuck with it. (A championship) would show the girls that hard work does pay off.”

Beach scored the first two baskets of the game, but Shiloh Christian answered with an 8-0 run and never trailed the rest of the way.

It didn’t mean the Buccaneers made it easy on the Skyhawks. In the quarterfinals, the Buccaneers trailed by 19 in the third quarter, only to come back to snap Thompson’s 23-game winning streak. The Buccaneers’ eyed the Skyhawks’ 23-game winning streak, but fell short in the final five minutes.

“There seemed like there was a lid on the basket all the time,” Beach coach Bob Waldal said. “We just couldn’t find any rhythm in the game. It seemed like we were fighting everything. It’s hard to win games like that.”

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.

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