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Lions basketball: Class B girls win in a rout

BISMARCK -- It’s always an honor to play or coach in an All-Star game, but it is that much more fun to be a part of the winning team.

That is exactly what the Class B All-Stars did, routing Class A 62-39 in the North Dakota Lions All-Star basketball series here Tuesday.

Class B was able to get off to a hot start, opening up a double-digit lead early and carrying it to the end of the first half. When the buzzer sounded, the Class B All-Stars had already opened up a 35-18 advantage through 20 minutes of play.

“We have a lot of good players on this team,” said Perry Piatz, who coaches at Kindred. “There aren’t just a couple girls that we look to. There are a few that kind of stand out, but for the most part, there are a lot of good players.”

Fallyn Freije, who played for Lakota-Edmore, was one of the greatest reasons for the big lead at halftime.

“I think our transition was really the difference in the first half,” Freije said. “Adrenaline in this kind of game is huge. You know, it’s an All-Star game. You only get two of them. Defense, hustle and heart, that’s what is going to win it.”

Freije, a UND recruit who scored 12 points, was one of three Class B players to reach double figures in scoring. Gabbie Bohl of Minot Ryan had a game-high 13 points and Mackenzie Irwin of Midway added 10 points.

“I think hanging out throughout the week and just the level of play for all of us builds that chemistry,” Freije said. “That’s huge in any sport, but especially basketball. Being able to read a play and say, OK, I know she’s going to cut here for example – that’s just a huge part of it. This week we meshed really well, and all of us get along great.”

Chemistry was a big reason why the Class B All-Stars were ahead when the final buzzer sounded, which is impressive considering how little these girls have played together.

“Well, we did have eight practices,” Piatz said with a laugh. “You could just see (improvement) every day. When you get good players together, they know how to play the game of basketball, so we just try to stay out of their way as much as possible and let them play.”

Winning the game was important, but both Freije and Piatz were quick to note how much of an honor it is to be a part of the event.

“It is such an honor to be here and such a blessing,” Freije said. “Coming from a small town like I did, you just have to work with what you have, but it’s nice to not have to create everything.”

“It’s an honor not only for the players, but for us coaches, too,” Piatz said. “Having coached 29 years, and this is the first time I’ve gotten to do this. It’s a true an honor to do this. The kids love doing it, and they make great relationships out of this.”

Alexis Klabo of Fargo Davies led Class A with 9 points.

The Class B All-Stars remain 12 games behind the Class A All-Stars in the historical series, with Class A leading 39-27 through 66 games.

The teams meet again today in Fargo to conclude the two-game series.