Defending state champion Grafton rolls in Region 2 opener
GRAND FORKS – Thirteen seconds into the game, Grafton’s Ainsley McLain hit a 3-pointer from the right wing. The three-pointers continued to fall and Grafton continued to roll on as the Spoilers opened the North Dakota Class B Region 2 girls basketball tournament with a 67-23 win over Larimore on Monday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
The game’s big highlight, however, was the milestone reached by Grafton’s Walker Demers, who went over the 1,000-point mark for her career. The South Dakota recruit led the Spoilers with 19 points.
Only three of the four quarterfinal games were played, however, as another round of winter weather took its toll on games. The Mayville-Portland-CG/Park River/Fordville-Lankin game was postponed until Tuesday.
Grafton will take an 18-3 record into Wednesday’s semifinal round.
The Spoilers are looking for their third-straight Region 2 title and are also shooting for a second-straight state Class B title.
But the Spoilers aren’t looking that far into the future.
“We’re grateful to move on,” said Grafton coach Laurie Sieben. “And it’s Game 2 of a new season. We just have to be ourselves; that is how we approach things.
“The girls did a nice job of coming out ready to play. And they’re playing for each other. That’s what we emphasize in our culture.”
The Spoilers improved to 18-3 and were ranked No. 4 in this week’s final North Dakota Class B girls basketball poll.
Grafton has three losses – but they all came against state powers – Kindred, Four Winds-Minnewaukan and Langdon-Edmore-Munich, three teams ranked in the final Class B poll.
Reagan Hanson added 14 points for the Soilers while Trinity Parsons added 10.
Demers, a junior, helped lead Grafton to a state title last season and has been the Spoilers’ top scorer this season.
“We knew Walker’s 1,000 points were coming but it was real fitting she did it at The Betty at tournament time,” said Sieben
Larimore, which closed out at 4-16, was led by Bethany Holter’s 12 points. Willo Morten added nine.