Lions girls basketball: Class B All-Stars down Class A to snap losing streak
Kindred's Abby Duchscherer paces Class B in the first of two Lions All-Star Games on Monday in Bismarck.
BISMARCK -- Kindred head coach Sam Brandt and star Abby Duchscherer teamed up to win the Vikings a Class B girls basketball state title.
It only seemed fitting they'd come back for one more run at the Lions All-Star basketball series games.
"It's challenging to have the kids for four practices, figure out how to get the minutes in, rotate them," Brandt said. "It was fun to watch the kids shine, work together, work hard, and I asked for some effort and they definitely showed it."
It was even more fitting that Duchscherer, one of the keys to Kindred's state title win, was a big reason that Brandt's Class B team snapped a streak of losses to Class A in the All-Star games with a 72-65 victory at Bismarck High's Karlgaard Gym on Monday night.
"I was so honored to be able to play with the 12 best athletes in North Dakota for Class B," Duchscherer said. "It's fun to play together instead of being rivals. I knew when we came together we had something special this year to come out and beat Class A.
"It felt like state all over again, having everyone come in to watch the best athletes. Definitely makes me miss the basketball season."
As with the other All-Star games, practice time is limited, so it took a little while for the teams to adjust to each other in a true game scenario.
"The speed of the game is different for everybody," Brandt said. "It took a little bit of an adjustment. Hopefully the expectation tomorrow is a little higher, so hopefully we'll be a little more comfortable."
Duchscherer was generally quiet in the first half, as teammate Cassie Erickson led all scorers with seven points.
Benefiting Class B all night was their willingness and ability to take Class A into the paint and rack up fouls.
"(The shots at the free-throw line) are free," Brandt said. "They're uncontested, and they're game-winners or game-losers. The girls stepped up, got the butterflies out, got the jitters out, and knocked a few down."
Not only was Class B active in driving the paint on offense, they controlled the glass on the defensive side of the ball, too.
Duchscherer and fellow Kindred All-Star Terryn Johnson were ferocious in pulling down rebounds, combining for 19 boards.
The Kindred pair's 19, plus every other player on the team grabbing at least one, gave Class B a 49-28 advantage on the glass.
"With our defense, we came together and came out with the win," Duchscherer said. "We executed pretty well, we were pretty rusty in the first half, but in the second half we came out and nailed it. We wanted to get as many defensive stops as we could."
Class B's advantage on the glass was helped along heavily by a Class A offense that sputtered at various points of the game.
After taking an early lead in the first half, Class B's defense held Class A to just seven points in the final 11 minutes of the first half.
"We had to control what we had control over," Brandt said. "I wanted everybody on 50-50 balls on the ground to be diving for the ball. If you can do that, not give up open layups, that'll work to our advantage. We can adjust as long as you're giving 100 percent."
Class A's offense surged back thanks to a big second half from Marissa Burian, who scored 11 of her team-high 14 points in the second half.
Burian's offense came mostly from the free-throw line, but those points counted the same and gave Class A a small lead midway through the second half.
That's when Duchscherer took over.
"We spaced out better trying to find each other," Duchscherer said about her play in the second half. "Five practices doesn't allow you to get to be a full-chemistry team, so in the second half we finally came together.
"It's weird to get subbed out, because I'm used to playing a whole game without a sub. Everybody came together and did what we needed to do."
Duchscherer made life miserable for Class A, tallying a total of five blocks, two steals and three assists, along with scoring 11 of her team-high 13 points — tying with teammate Cassie Erickson — in the second half
But even when she was giving up points down the stretch, Brandt still had advice for her ex-pupil.
"There was a dead ball scenario and I pulled Abby over," Brandt said. "We have that connection and relationship, and I told her that you came in with a 10-point lead and we just gave up five. Turn it on.
"That's all it took. I asked for defensive stops and defensive effort, and they responded. It was great."
The series moves to Fargo Davies Tuesday night, with Class B looking for their first sweep since 2018.
"It feels like home on that side of the state," Brandt said. "It'll feel more settled, we know the flow and the physicality of the game now. It should just be about coming out and doing our job again to win the game."
Class B 72, Class A 65
Class B: 29-43—72
Class A: 24-41—65
Class B — Abby Duchscherer 13, Cassie Erickson 13, Molly Musland 10, Lorelei McIver 9, Megan Roob 8, Morgan Freije 6, Quinn Neppl 4, Jaylin Cotton 4, Reagan Hanson 2, Terryn Johnson 2, Ezura Rainbow 1. Totals: 24 FG; 3-pointers: 4 (Roob 2, Erickson, Musland); 18-28 FT; 49 Rebounds (Johnson 10); 9 Blocks (Duchscherer 5); 11 Assists (Duchscherer 3); 14 Steals (McIver 4).
Class A — Marissa Burian 14, Reese Hauck 8, Maria Evanson 8, Alivia Manson 8, Peyton Gerving 8, Adie Wagner 5, Taylor Safranski 5, Annie Nabwe 3, Abby Fletcher 2, Rachel Dahlen 2, Emily Srejma 2. Totals: 22 FG; 3-pointers: 9 (Evanson 2, Burian 2, Manson 2, Gerving 2, Wagner); 12-14 FT; 28 Rebounds (Srejma 4), 5 Blocks (Nabwe 2), 12 Assists (Hauck 2, Fletcher 2, Gerving 2); 15 Steals (Hauck 5).