Kraft, Central Cass take care of Watford CityBISMARCK — In battles of size versus speed, games often come down to which team can get to the rim and get the ball through it.
BISMARCK — In battles of size versus speed, games often come down to which team can get to the rim and get the ball through it.
This time around, size had the advantage and it showed on the scoreboard.
Taylor Kraft and Courtney Dixon both recorded double-doubles and Central Cass coasted to a 47-26 win against Watford City in the quarterfinals of the Class B state girls basketball tournament Thursday night at the Bismarck Civic Center.
“I think we could have intimidated them with size, but they came at us hard,” Kraft said of the Wolves’ offensive attack. “They threw up good shots. We had the height advantage, but they were so quick. We really had to focus on getting low and doing the boxing out part instead of standing up and using our height.”
In the early going, it looked as though the game would unfold into a seesaw battle, as both teams traded 5-0 runs in the first quarter.
But a jump shot by Kraft with 2:06 left in the period ignited a 14-5 burst that ultimately put the Squirrels (25-1) in front for good. The scoring run translated into a 19-14 halftime lead from which Watford City (21-3) never recovered.
Any chance of a comeback was erased in the third quarter, in which Kraft scored eight of her game-high 16 points. The Miss Basketball candidate was also a force on the defensive end of the floor, as she pulled down 10 rebounds.
Her effort was complemented by Dixon, who recorded 13 points and 15 boards despite dealing with foul trouble for most of the second half.
With the win, Central Cass advances to today’s semifinal, where it faces Linton-Hazelton-Moffitt-Braddock at at 7:15 p.m. Watford City takes on Central Valley at 1:45 p.m. in a consolation semifinal.
Central Cass dominated the glass from the opening tip, outrebounding the Wolves 44-22.
“We haven’t seen the athletic size like that,” Watford City coach Berton Bates said. “They took us out of what we wanted to do. Our girls were trying to do things they’d done all year long. They were just that tough and they took that much away from us.”
Watford City’s offense went cold in the fourth quarter, allowing the Squirrels to gain more separation. They outscored the Wolves 14-5 in the fourth quarter.
The Wolves have relied heavily on their 3-point shooting throughout the 2010-11 season, but struggled mightily in that department against Central Cass. The Squirrels’ overall team height created problems all night for Watford City shooters, which combined for an 0-for-12 3-point effort.
“I give the credit to their defense,” Bates said. “We make four or five (3-pointers) a game, but they just took it away.”
It was a rough night for Watford City all over the floor. It was just 9 of 40 overall from the field.
McKayla Haugeberg and Jayme Johnson each averaged more than 10 points per game this season, but they combined for just 14 against the Squirrels. No Watford City player reached double figures.
WC 7 14 21 26
CC 11 19 33 47
W: McKayla Haugeberg 8, Dani Bates 7, Jayme Johnson 6, Marti Quale 2, Brianna Allex 2, Sadie Kieson 1.
C: Taylor Kraft 16, Courtney Dixon 13, Hannah Breske 7, Bethany Voss 5, Carmen Titus 4, Anna Morris 2.
3-pointers: W 0, C 2 (Dixon 1, Kraft 1). Free throws: W 8-19, C 7-12. Total fouls: W 11, C 12. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: W 22 (Haugeberg 5), C 44 (Dixon 15). Assists: W 4 (Johnson 3), C 10 (Breske 3, Kraft 3). Steals: W 6 (Quale 3), C 6 (Breske 2). Blocks: W 0, C 0. Turnovers: W 15, C 19.