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Watford City Wolves girls basketball holds off Bowman County Bulldogs

KILLDEER -- By the time the Wolves were literally called off, Watford City's girls basketball team already had a sizable lead. But credit Bowman County for making a game of it. The Bulldogs actually outscored Watford City for the final three quar...

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Watford City senior Kaytlyn Grimes, left, keeps the ball out of reach from Bowman County freshman Maury Burke Thursday in their semifinal game of the Roughrider Tournament at Killdeer High School. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)

KILLDEER - By the time the Wolves were literally called off, Watford City’s girls basketball team already had a sizable lead.
But credit Bowman County for making a game of it.
The Bulldogs actually outscored Watford City for the final three quarters, but their slow start doomed them in what would become a 50-38 win for the Wolves in the semifinals of the girls basketball Roughrider Tournament at Killdeer High School.
Watford City led 19-3 after the first 8 minutes of the game, aided by a suffocating full-court press, but Bowman County wouldn’t go away easily.
“Everybody’s been talking about Watford City all year,” Bulldogs head coach Jaden Schoch said. “They’re a great team, well-coached and with a bunch of great athletes on their team, and I think we came out scared. I told them they didn’t have any pressure on them … and later something clicked, and we started playing our game.”
Freshman Maury Burke led the charge, hustling around the court and putting pressure on every Watford City ball handler. At 5-foot-1, Burke took over parts of the game, hitting two free throws and completing a three-point play in the third quarter, and collecting two steals and a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

“She’s a tremendous player,” Schoch said. “We get her for four more years, and I’m so blessed to have that girl. The whole team is that way. Ellie Stafford is a freshman as well and came in and worked her butt off. Mikayla Bartholomay directed the team so well. I think she’s one of the better point guards in the region, if not the state.”
Burke ended with 14 points on 5 of 10 shooting with four rebounds and three steals.
“I know I’m one of the smaller ones,” she said. “I just wanted to play as hard as I can and get as many points and steals as I can to help my team.”
Stafford and Bartholomay both put up seven points to help the comeback.
Bowman County won the second quarter 19-13 to get back into the game. Both teams scored six points in the third quarter, and the Bulldogs got to within eight in the final frame, but that early deficit proved to be Watford City’s saving grace.
Wolves senior Ricki Lindley scored 15 points, and classmate Alli Mogen led all players with 16 points.
Watford City head coach John Zenz said the press went away as he tried to get different rotations of players into the game. He credited Bowman County for making things interesting, but he also recognized that his players did perform the way they know they can.
“I asked them to play like we’re capable of,” Zenz said. “For the final three quarters, Bowman played hard. They offensive rebounded, they got into the seams, but that’s also because we weren’t rebounding as well as we should have and didn’t move our feet on defense as well has we should have.”
Despite the loss, Schoch and Burke said the team’s effort was something to be optimistic about.
“I like that we don’t ever give up and how hard we try every day,” Burke said.
Watford City moves on to the Roughrider championship against New England at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, while Bowman County will play Killdeer in the third-place game at 6 p.m. Saturday at KHS.

B 3 19 6 10
WC 19 13 6 12
B: Mikayla Bartholomay 7, Maury Burke 14, Cassidy Walby 2, Taylor Powell 2, Ellie Stafford 7, Meggie Fischer 3, Kaitlyn Hill 3
WC: Ricki Lindley 15, Reiann Lindley 2, Kaytlyn Grimes 2, Krystal Wold 5, Katie Mogen 16, Mackenzie Sparby 10.
3-pointers: B 3 (Maury 1, Fischer 1, Hill 1), WC 3 (Lindley 3). Free throws: B 5-6, WC 13. Total fouls: B 16, WC 16. Fouled out: WC, Mogen 1. Rebounds: B 45 (Fischer 13), WC 27 (Grimes 5). Assists: B 2 (Bartholomay 2), WC 6 (Lindley 2). Steals: B 12 (Stafford 4), WC 23 (two tied for 5). Blocks: B 1 (Powell 1), WC 2 (Mogen 2). Turnovers: B 33, WC 20.

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