Dietz leads Beach to 5th place, named Class B Senior Athlete of the YearBISMARCK — Brittney Dietz had a double-double Saturday as Beach defeated Central Valley 41-33 in the fifth-place game of the North Dakota girls Class B basketball tournament.
By Justin Nutter
BISMARCK — When Central Valley’s Jessica Henningsgard opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, it looked as though Beach’s ship was sunk.
The Buccaneers had managed just 21 points in the first three quarters, and hadn’t hit a shot in nearly five minutes. Central Valley, on the other hand, had scored six in a row and held a six-point lead, its largest lead of the game.
Unfortunately for the Valiants, Brittney Dietz was just getting warmed up.
Dietz scored 16 of her game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter and the Buccaneers rallied to defeat Central Valley 41-33 in Saturday’s consolation game of the Class B state girls basketball tournament at the Bismarck Civic Center. The senior Miss Basketball candidate also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to end her career with a double-double.
“You could tell (Dietz) wasn’t going to let up,” Beach coach Bob Waldal said. “She definitely wanted to win the game.”
With her team down 27-21, Dietz connected on a jump shot with 7:13 left in the quarter. In doing so, she ignited an 8-2 scoring run of her own to knot things up at 29-29 midway through the period. Central Valley (22-6) briefly regained the lead on a layup by Henningsgard, but Dietz scored eight points in the final 3:22 to put her team up for good.
A jumper by Andra Lenz got Central Valley back within four with 22.8 seconds remaining, but Dietz and fellow senior Abby Weinreis each knocked down a pair of late free throws to preserve the win.
Dietz, who was named Class B Senior Athlete of the Year after the championship game, was instrumental from the free-throw line down the stretch. She was 12 of 12 during the Buccaneers’ fourth-quarter rally.
“I just thought of how to make it,” Dietz said of her performance at the charity stripe. “I didn’t think about anything else but what (my shots) were going to look like when they went in.”
A seesaw battle unfolded in the first quarter, as both teams struggled to gain any kind of offensive advantage.
Back-to-back layups by senior Bobbi Jo Nielsen gave Beach an early 11-6 lead, but the Valiants scored the next five to even the score. The teams traded baskets for the duration of the second quarter and the Buccaneers (26-1) took a slim 19-17 lead into the break.
Beach’s offense went cold in the third quarter, as a layup by Dietz accounted for its only two points in the period.
Central Valley took advantage of the scoring drought, using a 7-2 run to gain some separation. Henningsgard connected from beyond the arc to extend the Valiants’ lead to six in the opening minute of the fourth, which set the stage for Dietz’s late-game heroics.
“I was just thinking that we had to pick it up and go finish strong,” Dietz said. “There was no way I wanted to lose my last game.”
The comeback win was the final contest for six Beach seniors, who compiled a 93-8 record since their freshman season. That span includes a 52-1 mark in the past two seasons and the 2010 state championship.
Although he said the quantity of victories has been far from his team’s top priority, Waldal added he was happy to send the senior class out with one more notch in the win column.
“You want to win for your teammates,” Waldal said. “When we lost the first night, we told them not to hang their heads. We’ve been blessed and we can be thankful for everything we’ve had.”
CV 9 17 24 33
Beach 11 19 21 41
C: Taylor Henningsgard 11, Jessica Henningsgard 7, Katrina Lazur 5, Kennedy Henningsgard 4, Jessica Sundbom 4, Andra Lenz 2.
B: Brittney Dietz 23, Jill Rising 5, Abby Weinreis 4, Bobbi Jo Nielsen 4, Bailey Waldal 3, LaCee Vollum 2.
3-pointers: C 1 (Jessica Henningsgard 1), B 1 (Dietz 1). Free throws: C 6-9, B 18-20. Total fouls: C 15, B 11. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: C 32 (Taylor Henningsgard 9), B 37 (Dietz 10). Assists: C 8 (Taylor Henningsgard 4), B 9 (Dietz 3). Steals: C 6 (Taylor Henningsgard 3), B 7 (Dietz 2, Vollum 2). Blocks: None. Turnovers: C 14, B 17.