Killdeer completes run to state: Cowboys outlast Bowman County, win Region 7 Championship
Celebrating her birthday, Killdeer senior guard Sydney Anderson locked eyes with her teammate and close friend, senior forward Trae Murray. As the final buzzer sounded and the faithful wearing orange and black rose up from their seats roaring, th...
Celebrating her birthday, Killdeer senior guard Sydney Anderson locked eyes with her teammate and close friend, senior forward Trae Murray.
As the final buzzer sounded and the faithful wearing orange and black rose up from their seats roaring, the two players hugged with tears beginning to stream down their face, realizing a season-long goal has been met.
Killdeer and Bowman County entered Thursday night's Region 7 Girls Tournament Championship Game as the top two seeds. In a tightly-contested match throughout, the Cowboys late surge paved their way to the state tournament, defeating the Cowboys 67-59 from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
"Trae and I have been teammates since third grade, classmates forever and best friends forever," Anderson said. "It's just a surreal moment to accomplish this with that person. She has always been there for me. When I saw her as the clock winded down, it was just disbelief. I knew how hard we worked. This day felt like it took forever to come and it's just an awesome feeling."
The teams stayed within six points of each other through the first three and a half quarters.
Cowboys senior forward Bridgette Reiss nailed a 3-pointer as the first quarter buzzer sounded, giving Killdeer a 18-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. Following a shot inside from junior forward Shawnee Hansen, the Cowboys stretched their lead to six late in the second quarter, but as was the case for much of the night, the Bulldogs countered.
Bowman County closed the half on a 8-2 run. Bulldogs senior forward Meggie Fischer scored on a post up, trimming the deficit to 31-29 entering halftime.
The Cowboys pushed to as much as a five-point advantage in the third quarter after Anderson scored inside, but Bowman County again responded as junior forward Ellie Stafford banked in a basket, close the gap to 47-44 at the end of the third period.
"I thought our girls played their hearts out," Bulldogs head coach Jaden Schoch said. "They did a good job for as long as we possible could. We needed the ball to bounce our way a couple of times, but it just didn't happen that way."
With a quarter to go and a trip to the state tournament at stake, Cowboys junior guard Steena Larsen rose to the occasion. She scored six important points in the final frame, including a layup off of a backdoor cut, pumping the advantage to 59-53 with under three minutes remaining.
"I really appreciate the trust that we have for each other. They can trust me." Larsen said. "I've been having some off-games lately, but they still had that full trust in me to step up to the task."
Bowman County closed to within two when junior guard Maury Burke scored on a backdoor cut of her own.
Following a timeout, Murray scored inside bumping the lead up to four. She was a force offensively for the full 32 minutes, but her biggest contribution came defensively. With just over a minute remaining in regulation, Murray stepped in front and intercepted a Bulldogs entry pass.
"Well, I don't really remember much about the game, but I surely remember that," Murray said. "I just remember getting the ball and kicking it out. We had this calming feeling that we had the whole game, it just settled. At that moment, it's just like 'This is it. This is real life. We did it.' We saw that the clock was on our side and it was very surreal."
Reiss was subsequently fouled as she drained two free throws. Anderson followed with two more free throws to seal it, finishing with nine points and nine rebounds.
"The only way I can describe my emotions right now is that I feel completely blessed to be a part of these girls' lives, to get coach in such an amazing community, I'm just overwhelmed with happiness." Killdeer head coach Ashlee Viveros said. "There were points in which we were letting fatigue in and we'd kind of have little defensive lapses. But we became more alert on defense and Bridgette stepping up and making crucial free throws in the final minute was so big for us."
Stafford and Fischer each led the Bulldogs with 18 points. Stafford also collected 12 rebounds.
Leading all scorers with 22 points, Murray said she believed Killdeer's victory was a complete, collective team effort.
"It wasn't so much of a load, because we don't try to put it all on one person or two people," Murray said. "Our whole team takes the load. We all take our share, we all do our job, we all trust each other and trust that we are going to do our job."
Killdeer 67, Bowman County 59
BC 14 15 15 15
K 18 13 16 20
BC: Meggie Fischer 18, Ellie Stafford 18, Maury Burke 10, Jillian Svihovec 7, Abby Smyle 6.
K: Trae Murray 22, Shawnee Hansen 14, Bridgette Reiss 11, Sydney Anderson 9, Steena Larsen 8, Karly Bang 2, Hannah Kling 1.
3-pointers: BC 3 (Svihovec 1), K 1 (Reiss 1). Free throws: BC 4-6, K 14-19. Total fouls: BC 16, K 12. Fouled out: 1 (BC Burke). Rebounds: BC 34 (Stafford 12), K 32 (Anderson 8). Assists: BC 11 (Fischer 3), K 13 (Anderson 4). Steals: BC 7 (Fischer 3), K 8 (Murray 3). Blocks: BC 0, K 1 (Murray 1). Turnovers: BC 13, K 12. Records: BC 18-6, K 20-4.
2018 All-Region 7 Girls Basketball Awards
All-Region 7 Team
Beach - Abby Wilhelmi
Bowman County - Ellie Stafford, Meggie Fischer
Dickinson Trinity - Josie Glaser
Glen Ullin-Hebron - Kennedy Zuroff, Kiana Schatz
Hazen - Raquel Doll
Heart River - Bailey Olson, Ashlyn Privratsky
Hettinger-Scranton - Abigail Kludt, Molly Holt
Killdeer - Sydney Anderson, Tray Murray
Mott-Regent - Breanna Friedt
Paige Ehlis - New England
Coach of the Year
Killdeer - Ashlee Viveros
Senior Athlete of the Year
Killdeer - Sydney Anderson
Athletic Director of the Year
Hazen - Randy Johnson