Pirates win title on buzzer-beaterGRAND FORKS — By design, Eli Benz was in the right place at the right time. As a result, Kidder County has its first North Dakota Class B girls high school basketball state championship.
By: Greg DeVillers, Grand Forks Herald
GRAND FORKS — By design, Eli Benz was in the right place at the right time.
As a result, Kidder County has its first North Dakota Class B girls high school basketball state championship.
Benz’s putback basket as time expired gave the Pirates a 45-43 win against Fordville-Lankin/Park River in the championship game of the state tournament Saturday night in the Alerus Center.
With Lindsey Sand driving into the lane, Benz set up on the low left post. Sand’s shot was off the mark, but Benz was there for the rebound and finished the play, the game and the title run.
“We wanted Lindsey to go one-on-one,” Benz said. “We were sealing down low on the blocks, getting ready in case there was a rebound. It came to me and I shot it up.
“It was an unbelievable way to end it. We were behind almost the whole game.”
Benz was a big reason for the title, scoring 12 of her team-leading 20 points in the final quarter.
Fordville-Lankin/Park River led the entire third quarter and took a 35-29 advantage when Lexi Erickson scored the opening basket of the final quarter. But the Pirates responded with an 8-0 run, going ahead 37-35 for their first lead since 17-15 in the second quarter.
Benz scored the final six points in the run after the Pirates made adjustments, both defensively and in Benz’s offensive positioning.
“We were playing too passively,” KC coach Mark Sand said. “We got back into the game when we came out with pressure defense (early in the fourth quarter). That got us going. We were more aggressive, and we started forcing them into some bad shots.
“And we moved Eli down to the low post and had her cut up into the lane to get the ball. That got her some good looks.”
Opp leads Hazen to
win in third-place game
Allison Opp had a game-high 19 points and seven assists to lead Hazen to a 56-52 victory over New Rockford-Sheyenne in the North Dakota state Class B girls basketball tournament third-place game on Saturday in the Alerus Center.
Stef Bohrer added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bison, who outrebounded New Rockford-Sheyenne 35-20.
“The girls knew they didn’t play well yesterday,” Hazen coach Leland Opp said. “We came out tonight with an awful lot of energy and it showed on the defensive end.”
Shelby Wetzel led New Rockford-Sheyenne with 14 points. Justene Engels added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Rockets.
“We really didn’t do anything special,” Opp said. “We got back to playing Bison basketball. That’s playing hard-nosed defense.”
Hazen finished at 25-1, while New Rockford-Sheyenne ended at 24-3.
Hankinson finishes fifth, Stanley beats Standing rock for seventh
Casey Geffre had 19 points and seven rebounds to lead Hankinson to a 50-43 win over Kenmare and fifth place at the North Dakota State Class B girls basketball tournament.
Stanley beat Standing Rock for seventh.
Geffre was the only Hankinson (24-4) player in double figures against Kenmare (23-4). The Honkers used a 20-11 advantage in the third quarter to pull away. Kendra Miller had 15 points and Chelsey Zietz added 10.
In the seventh-place game, Kyli Locken had 19 points and Rachel Mehus added 17 points and seven rebounds for Stanley (19-8). Shauna Long had three 3-pointers and 16 points for the Warriors (18-8). Ryan White Bull chipped in 15.
— By The Associated Press