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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Shiloh Christian advances to title game

Shiloh Christian didn't have a specific game plan to attack the North Star defense. "We try to take what the defense gives us,'' Skyhawks coach Daryl Bearstail said. "All the girls have the green light. They can all shoot.'' On Friday, Shiloh Chr...

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North Star's Stephanie Miller (5), front, tries to turn the corner on Shiloh Christian's Amber Stevahn (34) during game eight of the girls ND State Class B Girls Basketball at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, ND on Friday, March 4, 2016. (Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)

Shiloh Christian didn't have a specific game plan to attack the North Star defense.

"We try to take what the defense gives us,'' Skyhawks coach Daryl Bearstail said. "All the girls have the green light. They can all shoot.''

On Friday, Shiloh Christian worked the perimeter and distance overcame height. The Skyhawks advanced to the championship game of the North Dakota Class B girls high school basketball tournament with a 47-45 semifinal win against North Star at the Alerus Center.

Shiloh Christian held a narrow lead throughout the final 3:21 after Brittan Grubb hit a 17-footer from the left wing for a 43-41 advantage. That was the way of the offense for the Skyhawks. With North Star’s 6-foot-5 Macey Kvilvang defending the interior, Shiloh Christian's 18 field goals (43 percent accuracy) included 14 made from 10 feet and beyond. That included a 6-3 advantage in 3-point baskets.

"There weren't a lot of layups for us,'' Bearstail said. "Kvilvang is a basket protector. Anywhere from eight feet and out, we were hitting.

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"We were very fortunate. The girls were knocking the (perimeter) shots down.''

North Star, down 25-19 at halftime, rallied for a 36-33 lead when Steph Miller put together a personal 8-0 run to close the third quarter, sandwiching two treys around a drive for a layup.

"We felt we had some momentum,'' Bearcats coach Jill Vote said. "But they hit some big shots that deflated us.''

Shiloh Christian regained the lead at 41-39 when Grubb hit a 3-pointer with 4:01 remaining. Two Kvilvang free throws pulled the Bearcats even again.

But after Grubb's go-ahead basket, Paige Murray hit a jumper from the free-throw line for a 4-point lead with 1:48 left. In the meantime, North Star turned the ball over on three straight possessions trying to lob the ball inside to Kvilvang. The first two were batted away by defenders and the third was thrown away.

"We got rattled,'' Vote said. "We talked about getting the ball to Macey. But (the Skyhawks) have length. We didn't get enough on our passes the first two and they knocked it away. Costly turnovers hurt us down the stretch. I think nerves got to us.''

After Murray's basket, Kvilvang scored from close range to cut the lead to 45-43 with 42 seconds left. The teams exchanged free throws -- two by Grubb, then two by the Bearcats' Peyton Halvorson with 8.5 seconds left. North Star had one last chance but a corner shot was off the rim at the buzzer.

Murray and Grubb each scored 14 points and Krista Ulmer added 10 for the Skyhawks.

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Kvilvang finished with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and also grabbed 10 rebounds, while Miller added 13 points as the two dominated the Bearcats' scoring.

Shiloh Christian takes a 23-3 record into Saturday’s 8 p.m. championship game against Watford City. North Star (24-2) plays Park River/Fordville-Lankin at 6 p.m. for third place.

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