Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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FARGO—Eight years was enough for Devils Lake. The No. 8-seeded Firebirds had four players score in double figures to knock off No. 6-seeded Central 62-46 in an East Region girls basketball tournament state-qualifying game. Devils Lake (11-14) earned a trip to the Class A state tournament for the first time since 2009. The Firebirds are the No. 4 seed from the East Region for the state tournament.
With a conference title hanging in the balance and a postseason tournament No. 1 seed on the line, there was no way Quinton Hooker—one of UND's more dynamic players in years—was going to be denied. As usual, he wasn't. Hooker led UND to an 82-73 win over Portland State on Saturday before 2,870 fans at The Betty—a win that gave the Fighting Hawks the Big Sky Conference regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in next week's postseason tournament in Reno, Nev.
PORTLAND, Ore.—UND earned a share of the Big Sky Conference women's basketball title a night earlier, but the Fighting Hawks won't carry the No. 1 seed into next week's league postseason tournament in Reno, Nev. Portland State downed UND 81-67 on Friday night in the regular-season finale for both teams. UND dropped to 15-3 and 20-9. Montana State (15-3, 22-6) beat Weber State on Friday night to move into a tie with the Hawks for first place. Montana State holds the tiebreaker over UND by virtue of its overtime win over the Hawks earlier this season.
North Star will meet Kindred on Saturday night for the North Dakota state Class B girls basketball title. North Star reached the title game with a 61-41 win over Minot Our Redeemer's in Friday night's semifinal round at the Alerus Center. North Star received 23 points from Macey Kvilvang and 20 from Stephanie Miller. Our Redeemer's was led by Morgan Olson's 22 points. North Star will take a 26-0 record into the title game while Kindred is 25-0. North Star 61, Minot Our Redeemer's 41 MIN 5 18 8 10-41 NST 11 18 19 13--61
MIAMI, Ohio—UND kept its hopes alive for home ice in the upcoming National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoffs with a 3-2 win over Miami on Friday night. Ludvig Hoff, Tyson Jost and Trevor Olson scored for UND. UND improved to 10-12-1 in the NCHC and 17-14-3 overall while Miami dropped to 5-12-5 and 9-16-7. Miami held a 2-1 lead before Jost tied the game at 13:54 of the second period. Olson picked up the game-winner at 18:20 of the second period. UND outshot Miami 41-16. The teams wrap up their series Saturday night.
Kindred has reached the state title game of the North Dakota state Class B basketball tournament after beating Grant County 67-52 in the semifinal round Friday night at the Alerus Center. The Vikings placed five players in double figures, led by Brooke Hiatt's 17 points. Abby Duchscherer added 14 points while Kyra Braaten added 11. Madison Erickson and Mikayla Reinke each finished with 10. Kindred improved to 25-0 while Grant County, led by Taylor Roehl's 20 points, dropped to 22-4.
It's early March, the time college basketball teams usually can't overcome a clunker of a performance. But UND can take a Mulligan heading into Saturday's Big Sky Conference men's basketball game against Portland State at The Betty. A UND win will give the Fighting Hawks at least a share of the Big Sky regular-season title and the No. 1 seed heading into next week's league postseason tournament in Reno, Nev.
UND's bid for its first Big Sky Conference men's basketball title will have to wait. How long the wait now is the big question facing the Hawks. Sacramento State derailed UND's title plans with a grind-it-out 57-53 win over the Fighting Hawks on Thursday night before 2,266 fans at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. UND dropped to 13-4 in the Big Sky and 18-9 overall while Sacramento State is now 9-8 and 12-16.
It wasn't until late in the girls basketball season that defense became a consistent strength for Grant County. There was a spurt in midseason when the Coyotes allowed 44 or more points in four out of five games. "We gave up a lot of points early in the year,'' Coyotes coach Nicole Bentz said. "We were still winning, but I think the girls realized they could play good defense. It's a mindset.''
The trey has been a big part of the Kindred offense this season. The Vikings averaged 6.9 three-pointers per game and 33 percent shooting accuracy. They topped both those numbers Thursday in defeating Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier 56-41 in the opening round of the North Dakota Class B girls high school basketball tournament at the Alerus Center. Kindred made nine treys. The Vikings were actually more accurate from beyond the 3-point line, going 9-of-17 (52 percent), than they were on 2-point attempts (46 percent).