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Honkers claim consolation championship at State B

The Kenmare High School girls basketball team returned from their second straight appearance in the Class B state tournament with the consolation championship.

3/10/10 (Wed)

 

The Kenmare High School girls basketball team returned from their second straight appearance in the Class B state tournament with the consolation championship.

 

The Honkers claimed the fifth place trophy with dynamic wins over Stanley and Kidder County, following a difficult loss against the eventual second place Central Cass team in the tournament’s opening round on Thursday.

 

Kenmare met up with Northwest Conference opponent Stanley for the consolation title game Saturday afternoon. The Blue Jays were seeking their first win against the Honkers this season. Kenmare wanted to improve on their sixth place finish at the 2009 state tournament.

 

“You always want to go out with a win,” said KHS senior guard Macie Harris, who finished the tournament with 43 points, averaging 14.3 points per game and shooting 9 three-pointers, a number for the tournament matched only by Shalee Martin of Kidder County.

 

Standing under one basket, she gestured around at the court and seating in the Minot State University Dome. “This has been my dream since I could play basketball, to play on this court,” she said. “There’s no ‘next year.’”

 

She acknowledged the match-up with Stanley felt a little awkward, with Kenmare defeating the Blue Jays twice earlier during the season. “We have friends on Stanley’s team,” she said, “but on the court, we’re competitors.”

 

The Honkers prevailed with a 64-44 victory. They simply dominated the game from the outset, including a field goal by Chelsey Zietz 15 seconds after the opening tip, followed by Katie King’s first basket of the day before a full minute had passed.

 

King and Zietz combined for five more points by the halfway mark of the quarter, while the Blue Jays were held to a single free throw by Rachel Mehus for five minutes of the period, until Jasmin Pappa scored with three minutes left.

 

Looking at a 9-3 Honkers lead, Stanley inched forward on baskets by Reeann Mehus and Bailey Hornberger. But Harris warmed up with two minutes left, draining a pair of three-point attempts and a field goal.

 

In the meantime, the Honkers defense led by Dayna Froseth went into high gear, frustrating any chance the Blue Jays had of running a play. In fact, Harris’s third field goal came on a Kenmare steal under the Stanley basket, thrown down court for her benefit.

 

With Erika Lemere rebounding the next Blue Jays’ miss, the Honkers had time to set up their offense for a Lexi Munson three-pointer. Another Kenmare steal with 21 seconds left to go sent a feed from Harris to Munson for a buzzer-beating shot and a 22-7 lead after the first quarter.

 

The Honkers extended their lead to 40-13 in the second quarter, allowing only 6 points for the Blue Jays. Lemere sparked Kenmare with her trademark jump shot near the top of the key after a minute into the period, followed by points from King, Munson and Zietz as the Honkers ran their offensive patterns and tied up Stanley with tough defense.

 

Harris sounded off again at the 2:00 mark, popping off one three-point shot from the left corner for a 33-13 Kenmare margin, then repeating the shot from the other side of the court 30 seconds later.

 

King followed up with an inside basket over two defenders on an assist by Kortni Miller, and Zietz sank two free throws with five seconds left in the half.

 

Fans were delighted with Kenmare’s shooting in the half, with 16 of 23 field goals finding the mark for an outstanding 70 percent accuracy, including 11 two-point attempts and 5 three-pointers.

 

Stanley came out aggressively in the third quarter and outscored Kenmare 16-13, but the Honkers maintained a 53-29 margin. King opened the period with a sweet inside shot 13 seconds into the quarter, mirrored at the other end as Hornberger found the basket.

 

The Blue Jays pressured the Honkers in the third quarter, resulting in a handful of baskets and several turnovers, including a Zietz steal and shot at the 5:57 mark. Fans were treated to action and up down the court, and the Honkers’ sticky defense led to a few fouls that sent Stanley to the free throw line for points.

 

However, Harris added a field goal and King drilled two shots from the top of the key, a free throw and yet another layup to light up the Honkers’ side of the scoreboard.

 

Harris exited the game much as she started it, with a pair of three-point shots swishing through the net at the 7:36 and 2:58 marks in the fourth quarter. King powered in another inside shot while being double-teamed, and Munson made good on a three-point attempt to give the Honkers all the points they needed for the win.

 

The Kenmare defense never backed down, forcing more turnovers for Stanley. At the 2:56 mark, the KHS seniors ended the season, taking their seats on the sidelines as Honkers fans stood and applauded them, while Shelby Hass, Halie Nelson, and Ashley Barnhart filled their places on the court.

 

Other Kenmare reserve players who saw action in the final minute included Joy Jacobson, Sydney Wheeling, Alix Kling and Morgan Goettle.

Froseth admitted she was sore and tired after three days of state tournament basketball, but she wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. “It’s a weekend in your life you’ll never get back,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun and worth it to put in all the time and hours through the season.”

 

Zietz, the team’s third senior player, said she came ready to play her last game. “I just wanted to play well, and wanted to make it count,” she said. “We’re the consolation champions, which is pretty good for state. That means you win two times [to earn] fifth place. If you think about it, that’s better than fourth place, where you’ve lost twice.”

 

KHS head coach Jason Schwarz agreed with Zietz that a 2-1 finish in the state tournament held prestige. “At the beginning of the season, the Miss Hoopster ranked us in the top five, and that’s where we finished the season,” he said. “That’s a great sense of accomplishment.”

 

He said the Honkers’ win against Kidder County on Friday catapulted them into the winning mode for Saturday. “We could do what we had to do,” he said, listing King’s work inside and Lemere’s jump shot as examples of the team’s success on offense.

 

He also cited the team’s shooting performance. “When you start hitting shots, it becomes contagious,” he said. “Everybody caught a little bit of that fire today. We had 40 points at halftime, against a good opponent at the state tournament!”

 

Schwarz talked about the Honkers’ trio of seniors, who leave big roles to fill despite being three of the team’s shortest players, praising Harris for her leadership and communication with her teammates, and taking leave of her high school career with a 3-point shot just before one of the reserve Honkers stepped in for her.

 

“And Dayna was Dayna, doing all the dirty work for us,” he continued. “She brought her work ethic to the team. She knows when it’s business and when it’s time to goof off.”

 

Schwarz described Zietz as a quiet leader on the team, less verbal than Froseth and Harris, but no less hard-working. “All year, she struggled with that knee injury, but when it came to the post-season, she was back to the old Chelsey,” he said, “putting in a gutsy performance every time she stepped out on the floor.”

 

He noted the way the team carried their hard work and determined play from the successful volleyball season into basketball, led by the seniors. “They do so many little things that contribute to winning,” he said, “things that separate good teams from great teams. I hope we’ve got some people willing to step into those shoes and do those things for us. That’s how you finish the season at a state tournament.”

 

He also gave credit to the fans who supported the Honkers’ season. “It means a lot to the kids, way more than people know,” he said. “It’s fun to come and watch them play when they do the things they do. You want to be playing the very best basketball at the end, and it all came together today. We just appreciate everybody who’s followed us all year long.”

 

Four Honkers finished the consolation championship in double figures. Harris scored 22 points to lead all players, including a 62 percent field goal average for the afternoon with 2 two-point shots and 6 three-point shots, sinking 8 of 13 total attempts.

 

Froseth admitted she was sore and tired after three days of state tournament basketball, but she wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. “It’s a weekend in your life you’ll never get back,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun and worth it to put in all the time and hours through the season.”

 

Zietz, the team’s third senior player, said she came ready to play her last game. “I just wanted to play well, and wanted to make it count,” she said. “We’re the consolation champions, which is pretty good for state. That means you win two times [to earn] fifth place. If you think about it, that’s better than fourth place, where you’ve lost twice.”

 

KHS head coach Jason Schwarz agreed with Zietz that a 2-1 finish in the state tournament held prestige. “At the beginning of the season, the Miss Hoopster ranked us in the top five, and that’s where we finished the season,” he said. “That’s a great sense of accomplishment.”

 

He said the Honkers’ win against Kidder County on Friday catapulted them into the winning mode for Saturday. “We could do what we had to do,” he said, listing King’s work inside and Lemere’s jump shot as examples of the team’s success on offense.

 

He also cited the team’s shooting performance. “When you start hitting shots, it becomes contagious,” he said. “Everybody caught a little bit of that fire today. We had 40 points at halftime, against a good opponent at the state tournament!”

 

Schwarz talked about the Honkers’ trio of seniors, who leave big roles to fill despite being three of the team’s shortest players, praising Harris for her leadership and communication with her teammates, and taking leave of her high school career with a 3-point shot just before one of the reserve Honkers stepped in for her.

 

“And Dayna was Dayna, doing all the dirty work for us,” he continued. “She brought her work ethic to the team. She knows when it’s business and when it’s time to goof off.”

 

Schwarz described Zietz as a quiet leader on the team, less verbal than Froseth and Harris, but no less hard-working. “All year, she struggled with that knee injury, but when it came to the post-season, she was back to the old Chelsey,” he said, “putting in a gutsy performance every time she stepped out on the floor.”

 

He noted the way the team carried their hard work and determined play from the successful volleyball season into basketball, led by the seniors. “They do so many little things that contribute to winning,” he said, “things that separate good teams from great teams. I hope we’ve got some people willing to step into those shoes and do those things for us. That’s how you finish the season at a state tournament.”

 

He also gave credit to the fans who supported the Honkers’ season. “It means a lot to the kids, way more than people know,” he said. “It’s fun to come and watch them play when they do the things they do. You want to be playing the very best basketball at the end, and it all came together today. We just appreciate everybody who’s followed us all year long.”

 

Four Honkers finished the consolation championship in double figures. Harris scored 22 points to lead all players, including a 62 percent field goal average for the afternoon with 2 two-point shots and 6 three-point shots, sinking 8 of 13 total attempts.

 

Harris also made 5 assists and 4 rebounds in the game.

 

King turned in her best scoring performance of the tournament with 20 points. She shot 64 percent from the field, making 9 of 14 field goals, and added 2 free throws for good measure. She also made 5 rebounds and had 1 assist.

 

Zietz had a 10-point game, shooting 67 percent with 4 of 6 field goals, and making good on both free throws.

 

Munson finished with 10 points, shooting 80 percent from the field with 4 of 5 field goals, including the pair of three-point attempts, hitting the mark.

 

Lemere had 2 points for the afternoon, along with 3 assists and 3 rebounds.

 

Miller set up her teammates with 4 assists in the game, while Froseth had 3.

 

The Blue Jays were paced by 12 points from Hornberger, 9 from Reeann Mehus and 8 by Rachel Mehus.

 

Kenmare averaged 59 percent from the field, sinking 26 of 44 field goal attempts, while Stanley averaged 52 percent with 16 of 31 shots. From the charity stripe, the Honkers averaged 57 percent with 4 of 7 shots, while the Blue Jays were 71 percent at 12 of 17.

 

Kenmare committed only 14 turnovers, while forcing Stanley to 21.

 

In Saturday’s other action, Kidder County topped Thompson 71-55 for seventh place, and Carrington defeated Standing Rock 84-54 to earn the third place trophy. In the championship game, Beach capped an undefeated season with a 66-57 win over Central Cass.

 

King was named to the All-Tournament Team for the Honkers, scoring a total of 52 points in the tournament and averaging 17.3 points and 7 rebounds per game. She sank 23 of 40 field goals to shoot 58 percent and drained 6 of 13 free throws for 46 percent. She also made 4 assists in the tournament and committed only 2 personal fouls.

 

She was joined by Hornberger of Stanley, Eli Benz of Kidder County, Taylor Kraft and Courtney Dixon of Central Cass, Brittney Dietz, Abby Weinreis and Emily Hardy of Beach, Emily Thompson of Carrington, Shauna Long of Standing Rock, and Whitney Sponsler of Thompson.

 

Kenmare edges Kidder County

The Kenmare team made a name for itself Friday by knocking off the 2009 Class B champion Kidder County team. In the final minute of the game, the Honkers maintained possession of the ball and ran their offense until King banked an inside shot off the glass and through the hoop to win 53-51 with one second remaining on the clock.

 

That ending couldn’t have been scripted better for such an epic battle on the court. Both teams had plans to move on to semi-finals, plans that were foiled by Thursday’s results, and both teams refused to settle for two losses at the state tournament.

 

Honkers fans look surprised as Lemere was named starting center for the game and Froseth stepped into center court for the opening jump instead of King, who was still recovering from an illness. Both teams missed shots on their first possessions, but the Honkers’ defense was apparent from the beginning with two steals before two minutes had passed.

 

The Pirates’ leading scorer, Eli Benz, made her mark with a shot at 6:03, followed by a basket by Julia Scherbenske 30 seconds later as Kidder County broke through the Honkers’ full court press to take a 4-0 lead.

 

Kenmare didn’t score until almost halfway through the quarter, when Harris hit a three-point shot to warm up the basket. The Pirates attempted to run their offense, but the Honkers proved too much for them, with Froseth stealing the ball and putting in a lay-up with three minutes left. Kenmare’s half court defense prevented any penetration by Kidder County and led to two more steals and forced a travel for the Pirates.

 

Miller made a basket after King snatched the ball away from one of the Pirates, giving the Honkers a 7-4 lead with 46 seconds left in the quarter. Kidder County played like the state champions they were, however, with Shalee Martin dropping in a 3-pointer at one second left to tie the score at 7-7.

 

The scoreboard stayed busy as the second quarter opened. Benz scored almost immediately for the Pirates, although that proved to be her final score in the half. Froseth followed with a basket, only to see Molly Kahl drop in a shot for Kidder County.

 

The two sides inched ahead, with Lemere tying the score at 11 after shooting a pair of free throws. Zietz added a free throw and Munson had a field goal, but Scherbenske’s and Kahl’s shots tied the score at 14 with four minutes left to play.

 

Munson hit a three-point shot at the 3-minute mark and the Honkers defense kicked back into high gear, frustrating the Pirates at every turn. Bailie Ziesch managed to drop in a shot and add the free throw on a foul by Lemere, but Kenmare added points as King’s offensive rebound led to a free throw and Lemere’s putback found its mark. The half ended 20-17 in the Honkers’ favor.

 

Kenmare led the entire third quarter, by as many as nine points for one interval, but the Pirates kept themselves in the game with Benz playing more aggressively and driving to the basket.

 

The Honkers added 17 points, with help from Froseth and Harris free throws, Zietz’s back-to-back three-pointers, and 7 points put up by King. Seven points from Benz, along with a 3-pointer from Kelsey Dockter, helped Kidder County cut the lead to 37-33 when the period ended.

 

The fourth quarter was all about timing, as Harris started the Honkers with a field goal and a 39-33 advantage. The defense on both ends prevented much in the way of successful shots, with Benz adding two points on free throws after Froseth’s fourth foul. Kenmare pushed ahead to a 43-36 lead at 5:20, after Froseth was on the receiving end of the contact and sank both free throws.

 

The next minute was all about Benz and King exchanging baskets on their respective ends of the court, with the Honkers still leading 47-40 after a field goal and pair of free throws from each player. Munson added two points for Kenmare at the 3:31 mark, with the Honkers going cold for the next two and a half minutes until King scored inside for 51 points.

 

In the meantime, the Pirates fought against the KHS defense as points came from Benz and Dockter, including a 3-point shot to tie the game at 51 with just over a minute left.

 

With both teams already in the bonus for free throws, the Honkers went to work instead of calling a time-out and ran a minute off the clock as players from both sides avoided foul trouble. The Kenmare fans alternately cheered and groaned as they watched their team pass the ball around for 60 seconds, looking for a shot. King had the ball inside with about 25 seconds left, but she fired it back to the perimeter and Zietz set the play up again. Harris, Miller and Froseth all worked the offense as the crowd started the countdown with eight seconds on the clock, until the ball made its way back into King’s hands. She pumped once and lifted the ball up and over two Pirates defenders for the winning points.

 

“That was a big win for us,” said Harris. “We did NOT want to be in that 7th and 8th place game. Beating Kidder County on that last second shot was awesome! Katie came out and stepped up big for us.”

 

Zietz grinned as she talked about the win. “That was fun!” she said. “After that last second shot, Macie and I were cheering like we had won the state tournament!”

 

Froseth played down her role in the win, despite the fact she had one of her best scoring performances of the season. “We just all knew we had to come out our hardest,” she said, adding that the Honkers were also pretty loose before the game and laughing at her as she stepped in for the opening jump ball against Benz.

 

Froseth shines when the team plays defense. “We know our defense is a big part of our game and we rely on that,” she said. “I love it when girls tell me to get off them, to hear their crowd yelling at me. Then I know I’m doing my job!”

 

She was also excited to see the Honkers come back so strong after losing to Central Cass on Thursday. “I just wanted to go out and leave it all on the floor,” she said. “We don’t want to regret anything, and we don’t want to leave anything behind.”

 

“It’s hard to come back and play today after losing [in the opening round],” said Schwarz. “This shows both teams played with tremendous character. This game wasn’t flat at all. It was a great game both ways.”

 

He pointed right to the Honkers defense as a key factor in the game. “What an awesome team [the Pirates] are and what an awesome player they have in Eli Benz,” he said, “but what a job Dayna and Kortni did on her. She only had four points at halftime and she was frustrated.”

 

He paused and grinned. “Kortni and Dayna will do that to you.”

 

He noted the Honkers started out using a man-to-man defense against Kidder County, after opening against Central Cass in a zone. “That’s more of a passive mode, rather than our attacking mode,” he said, “so today we started in man-to-man.”

 

He also credited 3-pointers from Harris, Munson and Zietz as helpful, with Kenmare making both inside and outside shots while the Pirates relied mainly on shots around the basket.

 

Schwarz just shook his head at his team’s play in the final minute. “We were well versed in what we needed to do,” he said, explaining why he didn’t stop the clock with a time-out. “The play we ran isn’t real perfect, but it ends with Katie at the basket. They weren’t pressuring us too much in there, and there she was. Dayna makes a great feed in there to Katie and it’s all over!”

 

King scored 18 points in the game, hitting 7 of 12 field goals for 58 percent and sinking 4 of 6 free throws for 67 percent. She led the team in rebounds with 9.

 

Froseth finished with 8 points, including 2 of 4 field goals and 4 of 5 free throws for an 80 percent performance from the charity stripe.

 

Harris, Munson and Zietz added 7 points apiece, Lemere had 4 and Kortni Miller 2.

 

Harris grabbed 6 rebounds and made 3 assists, while Miller had 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Froseth pulled down 4 rebounds, all under the Honkers basket.

 

The Pirates were led by Benz’s 20 points. Scherbenske and Martin scored 8 apiece.

 

The Honkers only averaged 39 percent in field goals, making 18 of 46 attempts, while the Pirates shot 43 percent at 19 of 44 attempts.

 

The two teams were nearly equal in rebounds, with 29 for Kenmare and 31 for Kidder County. From the free throw line, the Honkers made good on 13 of 21 free throws for 62 percent while the Pirates made 9 of 15 for 60 percent.

 

Kenmare committed only 11 turnovers in the game, compared to 19 for Kidder County.

 

In Friday’s other consolation action, Stanley defeated Thompson 63-50. In semifinals games, Beach punished Carrington 67-38 and Central Cass held off Standing Rock 58-52.

 

Honkers stopped by Squirrels

Kenmare opened the 2010 State Class B tournament against Central Cass, an unknown opponent from Region 1 who eventually played in the title game against Beach.

 

First, however, they dismantled the Honkers offense and simply shot over the top of Kenmare’s defense, winning 58-43.

 

“They couldn’t miss,” Zietz said after the contest, “and they out-rebounded us.”

 

“They’re tough,” Harris said. “They’re tall, they’re competitive, and we didn’t know what to expect from them.”

 

With two sections of Honkers fan cheering for all they were worth, Kenmare put themselves on the board first after a minute of play as King put back a miss by Lemere. Neither team scored for nearly two minutes until Central Cass’s Taylor Kraft drilled her first field goal and drew a foul by Zietz. Courtney Dixon, Kamie Roesler and Hannah Breske all put their first points on the board in the next two minutes as the Squirrels ran up an 8-2 lead.

 

Harris sent up a 3-pointer to boost Kenmare’s score, but Central Cass answered with back-to-back shots by Dixon. Miller made a basket for Kenmare with 32 seconds left, but Harris sent Breske to the line for a pair of free throws and a 14-7 lead for the Squirrels.

 

Kenmare fell behind by nine points in the second quarter, trailing 21-30 as Central Cass continued sinking shots, beginning with an inside look by Dixon. The Honkers’ offense battled against the long arms and sticky defense of the Squirrels, with Zietz draining a three-pointer at 6:44 and King making an inside shot about 30 seconds later.