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Hettinger-Scranton dropped by Thompson, earns fourth at state

GRAND FORKS -- Facing a 49-40 deficit against No. 3 Thompson with three minutes and 33 seconds remaining in the final game of the season, the Hettinger-Scranton girls basketball team made one final charge.

GRAND FORKS - Facing a 49-40 deficit against No. 3 Thompson with three minutes and 33 seconds remaining in the final game of the season, the Hettinger-Scranton girls basketball team made one final charge.

The No. 5 Night Hawks made it a one-possession game with a chance to cut the Tommies’ lead to one in the game’s final minute, but ultimately the lower-seeded team’s late push fell just short.

In the third-place game of the Class B State Girls Basketball Tournament, Hettinger-Scranton fell to Thompson 52-46 on Saturday, Mar. 2, from the Betty Engelstad Arena.

In its first state appearance as a co-op, Hettinger-Scranton ended the 2018-19 campaign with a 24-3 record and a fourth-place finish. In the program’s first-ever state appearance in 1977, Hettinger also claimed fourth.

“The tournament overall, the atmosphere was awesome,” Night Hawks head coach Kelly Pierce said. “Just a lot of really good, high-quality basketball played at the tournament. … So proud of our girls, they battled and played hard against the top teams in the state.”

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Assisted by senior guard Abbie Kludt, guard Alyssa Andress drilled a jump shot to begin the Night Hawks’ rally. Scoreless for the next 99 seconds, the junior again scored, pulling her team to within 49-44 with under two minutes to go. After making Andress made a pair of free throws with 59 seconds remaining, she nearly got her team even closer after stealing the ensuing inbounding pass, but her lay-up attempt trickled off the rim.

Andress led all players with 17 points on 7-for-16 shooting from the field. Sophomore forward Sam Oase capped a terrific tournament with 14 points, five rebounds and a pair of blocks, while freshman guard Bailee Pierce added eight points. In her final game, Kludt, the Region 7 Senior Athlete of the Year, finished with seven points, seven rebounds, six steals, and three assists.

Only four players scored for Hettinger-Scranton, exposing the team’s lack of depth due to injuries. Senior forward Briana Sanford did not play a minute in the state tournament after hurting her knee in the team’s final practice before traveling to Grand Forks. In the Night Hawks’ 48-44 overtime quarterfinal victory over Trenton on Thursday, junior guard Carolyn Schultz suffered a knee injury and was out for the remainder of the tournament.

Thompson had six players score at least seven points, paced by sophomore guard Mackenzie Hughes, who had 10 points.

“We went from having a pretty deep team to a team that wasn’t very deep in the short span of three days,” Kelly Pierce said. “We sure would’ve liked to see what we would’ve accomplished with our full squad, but pretty darn proud of how we finished and how we represented Region 7.”

After the tournament, Oase and Andress were selected to the All-Tournament team. Oase had a monster game against Trenton, scoring 16 points while grabbing 15 rebounds, six steals, and three blocks. Andress, who had the game-sealing free throw against the Tigers in overtime, produced 17 points in the semifinals against Rugby.

“We’re really proud of both Sam and Alyssa, they’ve been just tough competitors all year long and when they got on the stage at the state tournament, they really didn’t disappoint,” Kelly Pierce said.

Along with Kludt and Sanford, senior guard Abbi Steeke concluded her basketball career with the Night Hawks. The three ended their careers with a state appearance and two third-place finishes at the Region 7 Tournament.

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“These three seniors have been a part of building the program up. … We’re going to miss all three of those players, but our program is in great shape moving forward as well,” Kelly Pierce said.

Class B State Girls Basketball TournamentFrom Betty Engelstad ArenaResults SaturdayNo. 3 Thompson 52, No. 5 Hettinger-Scranton 46HS 11 16 10 9T 14 15 16 7HS: Alyssa Andress 17, Sam Oase 14, Bailee Pierce 8, Abbie Kludt 7.T: Mackenzie Hughes 10, Macy Jordheim 8, Carrie Nistler 8, Cayla Herbert 8, Kaia Sorby 8, Lauren Cunningham 7, Taylor Zak 3.3-pointers: HS 3 (Pierce 2), T 7 (Hughes 2, Sorby 2). Free throws: HS 5-6, T 15-21. Total fouls: HS 15, T 8. Rebounds: HS 21 (Kludt 7), T 23 (Jordheim 6). Assists: HS 10 (Andress 4), T 13 (Zak 6). Steals: HS 12 (Kludt 6), T 13 (Hughes 3, Jordheim 3, Zak 3). Blocks: HS 3 (Oase 2), T 3 (Nistler 2). Turnovers: HS 22, T 17. Records: HS 24-3, T 23-3.

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