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Heart River's Olson signs with Bismarck State

Heart River senior Bailey Olson has had a good final run as a Cougar. In the fall, she helped the volleyball team to a runner-up finish in the Region 7 Tournament and in the winter, she aided the basketball team to a fourth place finish in the re...

Heart River senior Bailey Olson tips a pass made by Hazen junior Tia Borneman in a quarterfinal game at the Region 7 tournament at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center on Monday, Feb. 19. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Heart River senior Bailey Olson tips a pass made by Hazen junior Tia Borneman in a quarterfinal game at the Region 7 tournament at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center on Monday, Feb. 19. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

Heart River senior Bailey Olson has had a good final run as a Cougar.

In the fall, she helped the volleyball team to a runner-up finish in the Region 7 Tournament and in the winter, she aided the basketball team to a fourth place finish in the region tourney.

Her athletic career won't end there, though, as Olson has committed to play basketball at Bismarck State College next year.

"Ever since I was a little girl it was my dream to play college basketball," Olson said.

After the conclusion of her basketball season, the Mystics program reached out, letting her know that dream could be a reality.

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"I kind of wanted to get away from Dickinson, just for a little while because I'm sure I'll spend my life here," Olson said. "I wanted to get away and get in a bigger town, so Bismarck seemed like a good idea. When I heard from the coach, I was like, wow this is perfect. I can play basketball and get away for a few years."

Olson was eyeing BSC specifically for a while, and is excited to join the team that finished its season in the NJCAA Region 13 semifinal game.

"I know they've had successful seasons in the past so that's pretty exciting," Olson said. "There are some more girls from our region that are going to be on the team (Killdeer's) Sydney Anderson and Trae Murray and (Glen Ullin-Hebron's) Kiana Schatz. Those are girls I've played against for a long time now and I think it'll be really cool to be teammates with them."

While playing alongside familiar faces, Olson will study accounting.

Heart River girls basketball coach Gary Ballard said Olson's value to a college team is clear.

"When I talked to (Mystics head coach Marv Pederson), ... I think he was impressed she was a good leader and she was able to create her own shot on offense," Ballard said. "And then defensively, she's one of those players that helps other people out. If someone gets beat, she's there to help because she sees the ball and the person she's guarding really well."

The 5-foot-8 guard averaged 15.3 points per game, 5.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game last season. She was also a three-time All-Region 7 player and scored more than 1,000 career points.

In the 49-47 Region 7 quarterfinal win over Hazen, Olson led the Cougars with 18 points and seven steals. She also had four rebounds. Again, she led the team in the semifinal against Bowman County with 12 points. Despite the 48-44 loss, she also contributed a team-high six rebounds and two assists. In the third-place game, which Heart River lost 38-29 to Hettinger-Scranton, Olson posted a team-high 16 points.

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"I just think her knowledge of the game of basketball will really help her at the next level," Ballard said. "She understands the game very well. I'm sure that's just in her upbringing as a kid. She's always enjoyed playing. She's played since she was a little girl and she understands things very well on both sides of the floor."

Olson will join a young Mystics team. The 2017-2018 squad was composed of six freshmen and seven sophomores.

"I really want to get stronger and really improve in my own skills and hopefully contribute to the team in a good way," Olson said. "My goal is to get some playing time."

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