North Star repeats as Region 4 girls basketball champion
DEVILS LAKE--Peyton Halverson was at the free-throw line with a chance to clinch a trip to the state tournament. Pressure? No problem. "We've worked on free throws all year in practice,'' the North Star High School senior said. "I was ready. Our ...
DEVILS LAKE-Peyton Halverson was at the free-throw line with a chance to clinch a trip to the state tournament. Pressure? No problem.
"We've worked on free throws all year in practice,'' the North Star High School senior said. "I was ready. Our coach always tells us to be confident. I knew there was a lot of pressure. I just had to focus.''
Halverson swished both ends of a free-throw bonus, giving the Bearcats a 45-40 lead with 11 seconds remaining. That wound up the final score as North Star earned a repeat Region 4 girls high school basketball title, edging Harvey-Wells County in the region championship Thursday.
North Star had comfortable leads of 12-2, 21-12 and 36-25 at the quarter stops. But the Hornets rallied to within 43-40 with 18 seconds remaining after scoring nine unanswered points as Jaye Fike hit a 3-pointer and Karlie Dockter followed with two treys.
That set up Halverson's clutch free throws. "We were fine with Peyton at the line,'' North Star coach Jill Vote said. "She's over 70 percent as a free-throw shooter.''
North Star had a taken a 43-31 edge with 4:16 remaining on a Macey Kvilvang 3-point play. However, the Bearcats were scoreless for 4:05 before Halverson's free throws. The long scoring drought in the fourth quarter wasn't normal for the Bearcats, Halverson said. "We were trying to run the clock down some with the lead,'' she said. "We stayed composed and worked hard on the defensive end.''
Early strong defense was the key to the North Star win. The Bearcats built an early 17-2 lead. Harvey-WC didn't make its first field goal until only 4:11 remained in the first half.
"We made a nice comeback,'' H-WC coach Mary Fike said. "That (slow start) was the deciding factor. We were getting good looks. Maybe we were a little tight. I don't think we've only scored two points in a quarter all year. But we came back strong.''
The Hornets finished with more three-point baskets (nine) than two-pointers (five).
"We were going to test them from the outside,'' Vote said. "They're very athletic. We didn't want them getting to the basket. But they hit some big shots.''
Halverson finished with 15 points and Kvilvang added 13 for North Star, the top-ranked Class B team in the state. North Star will take a 24-0 record to next week's Class B state tournament in Grand Forks.
Jaye Fike had 14 points and Kari Wolfe 10 for Harvey-Wells County (18-7).