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Killdeer rallies again, downs Thompson in state Class B semifinals

MINOT--The Thompson Tommies had the Killdeer Cowboys on the ropes Friday night in the third quarter of semifinals of the state Class B girls basketball tournament. Turns out it was only the rope-a-dope.

Thompson's Caroline Nistler (4) drives against Killdeer's Sydney Andersen Friday during a semi-final game of the State B tournament in Minot. John M. Steiner / Forum News Service
Thompson's Caroline Nistler (4) drives against Killdeer's Sydney Andersen Friday during a semi-final game of the State B tournament in Minot. John M. Steiner / Forum News Service

MINOT-The Thompson Tommies had the Killdeer Cowboys on the ropes Friday night in the third quarter of semifinals of the state Class B girls basketball tournament. Turns out it was only the rope-a-dope.

For the second straight game, the Cowboys (22-4) got off the deck and beat Thompson 48-47 to earn a berth in their first state championship game.

Bridgette Reiss made four straight free throws in the last 11 seconds to clinch it after her teammates had made just five of their previous 19. That allowed the Cowboys, who had blown another third-quarter lead to withstand Taylor Zak's layup as time ran out.

Killdeer missed its first nine free throws and never found an answer until Reiss stepped up.

"We shot free throws this morning," said Reiss, who finished with 10 points. "We needed to calm down and show them Killdeer was a team that knew how to make free throws."

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That never really happened, but the Cowboys' toughness was on full display down the stretch when senior Trae Murray drew a critical charging call on Kaia Sorby.

"Our coach ... whenever we draw a charge we get ice cream," Murray said. "I draw a lot of charges. You just step up and take it. They hurt but pain is temporary."

Murray also contributed 14 points and eight rebounds. She was 1-for-2 from the line.

Killdeer led 12-10 after a less-than-stellar first quarter that ended with a Reiss 3-pointer. She finished with 10 points. Despite going 2-for-10 from the line in the second quarter, Killdeer managed to hold onto a 21-17 lead. Jordheim's buzzer-beater gave the Tommies (22-4) some momentum they took into the third quarter.

Kailen Dolleslager went to work inside, scoring 10 of her 16 points. A 12-0 run helped the Tommies to a 33-30 lead with a quarter left.

"Our message at halftime was to run through our plays and get the ball inside," Tommies coach Jason Brend said.

Murray's basket with two seconds left set the stage for Killdeer's rally.

"Tonight's game was a lot like last night for Killdeer. Their opponents mak runs at them but they have an answer. They're just a great team that knows how to finish," Brend said.

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Reiss wasn't surprised.

"It was just something we expected, we knew how to respond," Reiss said.

The lead see-sawed back and forth after the Cowboys went up 37-35 on Steena Larsen's basket with 4:54 left. Thompson's last lead was 43-42 on Mackenzie Hughes' layup with :58 left. Hughes has 12 points in the game.

Larsen (just 5-foot-5) scored on a put-back and was fouled but missed her free throw and Killdeer led 44-43. Thompson's next two possessions ended in turnovers. Reiss went to the line four times, exchanging points with Zak, who had a layup with three seconds left and the game-ending basket to finish with eight points.

Sydney Andersen had nine points and 12 rebounds for Killdeer.

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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