Patriots trounce West Fargo for 2nd straight state title
BISMARCK -- This was quite the rebuilding season for Bismarck Century.
Hannah Larson was the lone non-senior starter a year ago when Century defeated West Fargo 63-60 in the 2011-12 championship game of the Class A state girls basketball tournament.
Saturday at the Bismarck Civic Center the teams had a rematch. And Century repeated its title, defeating the Packers 73-39.
"We knew we'd have to work hard," said Larson, who was named Class A senior player of the year. "But these girls played against us (starters) every day in practices last year. They pushed us hard every day. We knew this was a possibility."
Century coach Ron Metz admitted that there were a lot of question marks when the season began.
"But after the first few days of practice we got the idea that we had a chance to do something special again," Metz said. "Then we had some early success and built on it."
The same could be said of the title game.
The Patriots, after missing their first three field-goal attempts, hit their next seven attempts to jump to an 18-3 lead. Larson ignited the start. The senior scored eight of the 18 points, including two of the team's four 3-pointers in the run. The senior forward paced Century in points (22), rebounds (16) and assists (5).
Metz said the early run was the key to the entire game.
"That was huge," said Metz, who was named Class A coach of the year. "West Fargo has done that to other teams. But our defense didn't allow it to happen. And for us to score like that on their defense, that was something we probably didn't expect."
Century never did slow down. Late in the first half, the Patriots expanded a 26-12 lead by scoring on their final eight possessions which lead to a 15-2 run that gave Century a 41-14 halftime lead.
For West Fargo, with three starters back from the team that lost by three in the state final a year ago, it was a totally different scenario.
"As a coach, the 3-point losses are tougher to take than this," West Fargo coach Barb Metcalf said. "When you're so close to winning it, it stings. Not that this one doesn't sting. But sometimes a team comes out on fire like they did. There really was no answer. We tried to make defensive stops. When that isn't happening, the kids start to rush their shots.
"We've been able to dig out of some 10-, 12-point (deficits). But we weren't stopping them or shooting well ourselves. They stole the momentum from the get go. We didn't have an answer."
Century continued to build on its lead in the second half, its biggest advantage being 34 points, 73-39. The closest West Fargo came to the Patriots in the final 18 minutes was 22 points. Century finished one point shy of tying the state record for points in a state championship game.
Macy Lynch added 16 points and Jordyn Jossart scored 12 for the Patriots.
Lexi Lennon's 10 points led West Fargo, followed by Amanda Levin with eight.
WF: Amanda Levin 2 4-6 8, Jolene Woodbury 2 0-0 4, Cassidy Thorson 2 2-2 7, Kaitlin Langerud 1 0-0 2, Lexi Lennon 3 3-6 10, Shelby Gustafson 2 0-0 4, Cassidy Nelson 2 0-0 4.
C: Alex Hopkins 2 0-0 4, Ashley Bohrer 3 0-1 7, MiKayla Kolb 0 1-2 1, Jordyn Jossart 4 2-2 12, Macy Lynch 7 1-2 16, Jen Benz 2 0-0 5, Alaina Furcht 3 0-0 6, Hannah Larson 8 3-4 22.
Half: C 41-14. 3-pointers: WF 2 (Thorson 1, Lennon 1), C 8 (Larson 3, Jossart 2, Bohrer 1, Lynch 1, Benz 1). Free throws: WF 9-18, C 7-14. Rebounds: WF 32 (Thorson 6), C 49 (Larson 16). Assists: WF 6 (Woodbury 2, Thorson 2), C 16 (Larson 5). Steals: WF 4 (Christine Baltezore 2), C 5 (Lynch 2). Blocks: WF 1 (Levin 1), C 2 (Furcht 1, Kolb 1). Turnovers: WF 13, C 15.
Century: Alex Hopkins, Macy Lynch, Hannah Larson. West Fargo: Lexi Lennon, Cassidy Thorson. Fargo Shanley: Kellie Weir, Jessica Anderson, Sarah Jacobson. Bismarck: Keisha Englehardt. Jamestown: Paige Peterson.
Senior player of the year: Hannah Larson, Century.
Coach of the year: Ron Metz, Century.