Langdon-Edmore-Munich won last season’s North Dakota state Class B girls basketball title. A repeat wasn’t necessarily expected, considering the graduation losses from that title team.
But as March approaches, Langdon-E-M still has a shot at a repeat title after holding off a late charge from Four Winds-Minnewaukan on Thursday night in the Region 4 title game at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
Langdon-E-M, avenging an earlier loss this season to Four Winds-Minnewaukan, took a 48-42 win over the Lady Indians to punch its ticket to the upcoming state tournament in Minot.
“These girls had so much pressure after last year, trying to do the same,” said Langdon-E-M coach Rob Scherr. “Now, we have a week to figure it out.”
With only two seniors on its roster, Langdon-E-M led throughout and built a comfortable cushion in the first half before Four Winds-Minnewaukan rallied.
It was nearly identical to what happened earlier this season when FWM captured a 61-54 win over Langdon-E-M.
“We actually had a 13-point lead in the third quarter in that game,” said Scherr. “Then they really came after us because they outhustled us. And that was kind of happening tonight. We had a lead and let it slip away. We’re not real established as far as leadership on the floor yet. But we knew what we needed to do to finish.”
A free throw by Mahpiya Jackson tied the game at 39 with 2:56 to go. But the Cardinals responded with the two biggest baskets of the game -- the first from Morgan Frejie 11 seconds after the free throw and the second from freshman guard Jaya Henderson with 2:06 left.
Henderson hit a three-pointer from the corner to put Langdon-E-M up 44-39. The Lady Indians could get no closer than two points in the final two minutes.
“There were a little bit of nerves,” said Freije of the FMW comeback. But we knew if we played defense like we know how, get the rebounds and turn that into points, we’d get it done.”
Langdon-E-M gained the separation it needed late in the second quarter. With the game tied at 17, the Cardinals finished quarter on a 9-1 run for a 26-18 halftime lead.
Landon-E-M improved to 18-6 while Four Winds-Minnewaukan closed out at 15-8.
Kaylee Lowery led the Cardinals with 14 points. But L-E-M had three other players -- Freije, Henderson and Cora Badding -- all finish with nine points.
Four Winds-Minnewaukan was led Ezura Rainbow’s 16 points. Myona Dauphinais added 13 and Mahpiya Jackson 12.
The Cardinals now have a week to prepare for a run at a second-straight state title.
“This feels really good,” said Freije. “We had a couple of setbacks in games this year, just figuring out our spots and learning to play together. It means a whole lot to get it done with this young team. Now, we’re moving on.”
Four Winds-Minnewaukan 42
Halftime: LEM 26, FWM 18
Four Winds-Minnewaukan -- Ezura Rainbow 16, Myona Dauphinais 13, Mahpiya Jackson 12, Makisha Cavanaugh 1
Landon-Edmore-Munich -- Kaylee Lowery 14, Morgan Freije 9, Cora Badding 9, Jaya Henderson 9, Lexis Olson 2, Jalynn Swanson 2, Whitney Pankratz 3