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Free throws hurt Killdeer in loss

KILLDEER -- Killdeer head coach Randy Binstock knew free-throw shooting would be a thorn in the Cowboys' side all season. That's why he wasn't so surprised that it cost his girls basketbal team a berth in the championship game of the Roughrider t...

KILLDEER -- Killdeer head coach Randy Binstock knew free-throw shooting would be a thorn in the Cowboys' side all season.

That's why he wasn't so surprised that it cost his girls basketbal team a berth in the championship game of the Roughrider tournament on Thursday.

"If you read the Hoopster at the beginning of the year, that's what I said was going to be the bugaboo for us was hitting free throws," Binstock said. "It bothered us all last year. We shot 43 percent for the year and we are having the same problems again this year."

The Cowboys missed 14 of 16 free throws down the stretch to fall 56-55 to Watford City in overtime in the semifinals at Killdeer High School.

Saturday will be the Wolves' third straight trip to the Roughrider finals, having lost the last two years.

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"I'm really proud of my kids," Watford City coach Tom Suelzle said. "They played with a lot of heart being down 14 there in the end. We always tell them never to give up."

Killdeer led by 14 points at one point in the fourth quarter but allowed Watford City to cut the lead to four with 1 minute, 46 seconds left in regulation. The Wolves began fouling to stop the clock but the age-old desperation strategy turned into brilliance on Thursday.

The Cowboys missed 11 of 12 free throws, including a chance to win the game with 28 second left, to force overtime.

In the extra session, senior Tana Trotter hit 1 of 2 free throws to give Killdeer a 53-52 lead. After losing the lead to the Wolves as quick as they took it, Trotter picked up a rebound after Kailey Appledorn missed free two throws and laid it in for a 55-54 advantage.

That was Killdeer's last lead, however, as Wolves senior Chelsey Moe put away a quick layup for only her sixth point of the game to give Watford City the win.

"We hit some key shots," Suelzle said. "Our kids never gave up. We got the ball rolling our way. In the end, I think our defense won it but we did hit some awful key shots."

Senior Paige Anderson, who surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career in the second quarter, provided the majority of Watford City's offense on Thursday, finishing with 33 points.

Anderson hit a number of clutch shots, including a buzzer-beater off an inbound pass with one second remaining in the third. She also drained a three pointer with 31 seconds in the game to tie the ball game.

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"She is ready to play all the time and I've really noticed a difference in her this year," Suelzle said. " She is ready to take over the game like she did offensively and our kids are really good at hitting the picks for her."

Trotter posted 22 points with 12 rebounds while Appledorn scored 13. Niether was clutch at the free-throw line, though none of their teammates were either.

"We just tip our hats off to them effort that they had and look in the mirror and take a look at our stat sheet at our free throw shooting," Binstock said. "We do anything from the free throw line and it's still probably a 10 point win for us."

Watford City 56, Killdeer 55

Killdeer 13 28 44 52 55

WC 5 21 32 52 56

Killdeer: Tana Trotter 22, Kailey Appledorn 13, Dani Sadowsky 8, Sadie Benson 5, Lynae Lee 3, Jamie Lee 3, Katie Dukart 1.

WC: Paige Anderson 33, Marti Quale 6, Chelsey Moe 6, Molly Wold 5, Hallie Ault 3, Olivia Sundeen 2, Jamie Fulwider 1.

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3-pointers: Killdeer, Benson 1, L. Lee 1, J. Lee 1. WC, Anderson 6, Ault 1. Free throws: Killdeer 10-33, WC 11-17. Total fouls: Killdeer 14, WC 23. Fouled out: Wold. Rebounds: Killdeer 41 (Trotter 12), WC 35 (Anderson 10). Assists: Killdeer 16 (J. Lee 5), WC 12 (Kara Johnsrud 4). Steals: Killdeer 9 (Appledorn 3), WC 11 (Johnsrud 6). Turnovers: Killdeer 25, WC 20.

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