Kindred edges Rugby in NDHSAA Class B GBB Championship Game
March 2, 2019 10:00 pm
By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist
GRAND FORKS – Kindred’s girls basketball team has been a mainstay at the NDHSAA Class B Girls Basketball State Tournament in recent years and for the second time in three seasons, the Vikings are celebrating a state championship.
The Vikings defeated Rugby 49-47 during 2019 NDHSAA state title game Saturday, March 2 at Betty Engelstad Area.
An announced crowd of 3,387 fans watched the championship session on Saturday night in Grand Forks – a new facility attendance record for Betty Engelstad Arena.
The Vikings stumbled a bit after the opening tipoff. Rugby opened the game with a 11-0 run while Kindred struggled to find its offense. The Vikings scored their first points of the game with under two minutes left in the first quarter and trailed 13-2 at the quarter break.
Kindred's six-foot freshmen all-state forward Abby Duchscherer was held scoreless during the first eight minutes of the game. Duchscherer had combined to score 40 points in the first two games of the state tournament in Kindred’s wins against Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich and Thompson.
Kindred rallied in the second quarter and trailed the Panthers 21-20 at halftime.
The second half is what made the title game a classic. Both squads went back and forth with clutch shots that made the game a thriller until the closing seconds.
Rugby senior guard Anni Stier completed a three-point play at the free-throw line with 37.5 seconds left to give the Panthers a 47-46 lead.
Kindred answered getting a 3-pointer from freshman forward Kristina Freier with 15.7 seconds remaining to give the Vikings a 49-47 lead.
The Vikings finished their season 23-3. Rugby ended the year 22-5. Neither squad was seeded entering the tournament. Rugby defeated top-seeded Kidder County in the quarterfinals and edged No. 5-seeded Hettinger/Scranton in the semifinals. The Panthers were making their first appearance in the championship game after qualifying for the state tournament three of the past four seasons.
Stier finished with 12 points as did Karsyn Hager for the Panthers. Brooke Blessum led Rugby with 19 points in the title game.
Junior guard Jordyn Burner led the Vikings with 14 points and was 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. Freshman center Terryn Johnson added 13 points for Kindred. Duchscherer finished with seven points and nine rebounds earning tournament-MVP honors.
Kindred, unseeded entering the tournament, was making its 10th state tournament appearance and fourth in five seasons. The state championship is Kindred’s second in program history. Kindred defeated North Star in the 2017 NDHSAA state championship game.
In other action on Saturday, Trenton defeated Shiloh Christian 45-31 in the seventh-place game, Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich defeated Kidder County 53-42 in the fifth place game and Thompson defeated Hettinger/Scranton 52-46 in the third-place game.
2019 ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
(selected by the media covering the tournament)
Callie Ronningen, Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich
Abby Duchscherer, Kindred
Terryn Johnson, Kindred
Anni Stier, Rugby
Samantha Oase, Hettinger/Scranton
Alyssa Andress, Hettinger/Scranton
Mackenzie Hughes, Thompson
Kaia Sorby, Thompson
Madelyn Schmidt, Kidder County
Kaity Hove, Trenton
Tournament MVP: Abby Duchscherer, Kindred