Langdon-Edmore-Munich has added the basketball title to its state volleyball championship.
The Cardinals pulled away in the fourth quarter Saturday to defeat Grafton 52-41 in the championship game of the North Dakota Class B girls high school basketball tournament.
The championship night drew 3,682 fans at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, a single-event attendance record at the facility.
All five basketball starters also were regulars on the Langdon-E-M team that won the Class B state volleyball tournament last November.
“It’s unreal -- undefeated,’’ said L-E-M coach Rob Scherr, who picked up his 400th career coaching win in the title game. “These girls worked their butts off for this.’’
Said senior Callie Ronningen: “It’s honestly better (than the volleyball title). It was coach's 400th win. I don’t remember how it felt after we won volleyball. It must have been like this.’’
Grafton was within 36-35 with 5:54 left after Cassie Sieben hit a 3-point basket from the right baseline.
But Langdon-E-M answered with a 13-3 run. When Kaitlynn Scherr hit two free throws with 53 seconds left, the Cardinals were up 49-38.
Most of the run was at the free-throw line. Langdon-E-M was 11-of-12 from the line in the decisive stretch.
“We’re a good free-throw shooting team,’’ Rob Scherr said. “They all shoot well.’’
Langdon-E-M’s defense, meanwhile, caused havoc in the second half.
Over the final two quarters, Grafton committed 19 turnovers while shooting just 4-of-14 from the field.
“Our defense turned it around in the second half,’’ Rob Scherr said. “We ran a new press. I think it really frustrated them. We’ve practiced it, but we haven’t run it in a game all year. We wanted to try something new.
“And Kaitlynn did a heckuva job guarding Carlee Sieben (Grafton’s point guard). That was huge. She runs everything for them.’’
The Cardinals converted turnovers into 16 of their 32 second-half points.
“A lot of times our defense turns into our offense,’’ Ronningen said. “We needed to put on more pressure in the second half, to step it up. And (defense) has been working for us all year.’’
Grafton had an advantage of as many as seven points in a first half that ended with the Spoilers leading 23-20.
“I thought we had them in a good place for us in the first half,’’ Grafton coach Laurie Sieben.
“Credit Langdon. They came out a lot more aggressive in the second half. We tried a few different things. But I think we lost a little of our composure.’’
Ronningen’s 20 points led the 27-0 Cardinals, with Morgan Freije adding 15 and Kaitlynn Scherr 13. They combined for all but four of the team’s points.
Walker Demers had a big game for Grafton. The 6-foot-3 freshman center had 11 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks. Carlee Sieben added 10 points for the 23-4 Spoilers.
Rob Scherr was named Class B coach of the year.
The senior athlete of the year award went to Ronningen, who was also named tournament most valuable player.