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Grant County wins first title in more than four decades

MINOT--Forty-two years is a long time between state high school championships in any sport. Grant County ended more than four decades of futility Saturday by beating the Killdeer Cowboys 53-44 Saturday in the championship game at the North Dakota...

Killdeer's Sydney Andersen, left, tries for the steal against Isabelle Boyer of Grant County during the North Dakota Class B state girls basketball tournament championship game Saturday in Minot. Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune
Killdeer's Sydney Andersen, left, tries for the steal against Isabelle Boyer of Grant County during the North Dakota Class B state girls basketball tournament championship game Saturday in Minot. Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune

MINOT-Forty-two years is a long time between state high school championships in any sport.

Grant County ended more than four decades of futility Saturday by beating the Killdeer Cowboys 53-44 Saturday in the championship game at the North Dakota Class B state girls basketball tournament at the Minot State Dome.

Tournament MVP Taylor Roehl, who returned from a serious ankle injury right before the region tournament, scored 18 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. The Coyotes' defense was even more impressive with 16 steals and seven blocked shots.

"This is such a proud moment for our community and our program," Grant County coach Nicole Bentz said. "We're not a big school but we played with a lot of heart and hopefully this will accelerate our program.'

Ashley Bentz added 13 points and three steals. Isabelle Boyer and Coral Alt had four steals apiece as the fifth-seeded Coyotes won their first championship in any team sport as the Elgin-New Leipzig co-op. The last title won by either was in 1976 when the Elgin Dutchmen won the state 9-man football title.

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The Coyotes, who ended the season with 14 straight wins, were playing at state for the third time, the others being 2013 and 2017. It was their first appearance in the title game.

Killdeer was bidding for its first team championship of any kind in 28 years, the last being a Class B 11-man football championship in 1995.

After a late first-quarter run, the Cowboys had no answer for the Coyote defense.

"It's gotta be a defensive effort. When you're playing at this level in this tournament, it's got to be about defense," Bentz said. "Anybody can score but you've got to be able to stop other people from scoring at critical times of the game."

Trae Murray paced the Cowboys with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Sydney Andersen added 14 points and 12 rebounds. No one else had more than four points.

"We made a switch from man to zone and they started to panic and put up some shots they didn't want to take," Bentz said.

Grant County went on a 14-6 run to take a 20-19 lead into the half. Camryn Alt's layup with :43 to play in the half to give the Coyotes the lead. They trailed only one more time, for one

Third place

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Medina-Pingree-Buchanan 41, Thompson 36: Halle Uehran scored 12 points to help Medina-Pingree-Buchanan claim third place.

Thompson got 16 points from Mackenzie Hughes and 12 points from Kailen Dolleslager.

The Thunder opened a 14-4 lead after the first quarter but the Tommies closed the deficit to 33-28 after three quarters.

M-P-B shot 14-of-31 from the field while Thompson ended at 13-for-51.

The Tommies outrebounded the Thunder 31-30.

Fifth place

Langdon-Edmore-Munich 56, Kindred 33: Callie Ronningen had 18 points and 9 rebounds and Jordyn Worley had 17 points and 8 rebounds to lift Langdon-Edmore-Munich to a fifth-place finish.

L-E-M jumped out early, leading 22-8 after the first quarter.

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The Cardinals also outrebounded Kindred 36-21 as Ronningen grabbed nine boards.

Seventh place

Rugby 64, Watford City 44: Four players scored in double figures to lead Rugby to a seventh-place win.

Anni Stier scored 16 points for Rugby followed by Madison Uhlenkamp with 14 points, Karsyn Hager with 13 and Maria Blessum with 10 points.

Watford City was led by Emma Mogen who scored 13 points.

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