Posted 3/08/16 (Tue)
By Neal A. Shipman
The Watford City girls basketball team came up just short in their run for the State Class B title as the Wolves fell to the Shiloh Christian Skyhawks, 45-40, on Saturday evening at the Grand Forks Alerus Center.
Watford City advanced to the state title game by defeating Dickinson Trinity, the Region 7 Champions, 39-23, in opening round action of the State Class B Tournament and then knocked off the Region 2 Champions, Park River-Fordville-Lankin, 54-45, in Friday night’s semifinals.
But the Wolves, who were making their 14th appearance at the State Class B Girls Basketball Tournament came up just short of winning their first ever state title on Saturday evening as Watford City fell to the Shiloh Christian Skyhawks, 45-40.
With a second place finish at the 2016 State Class B Girls Basketball Tournament, the Wolves ended their season with a 24-3 record.
While the Wolves would have liked to have come away with their first ever state title, Watford City claimed its share of post season awards as seniors Katie Mogen and Ricki Lindley were named to the State Class B All-Tournament Team, while Mogen was also honored as the Most Valuable Player at this year’s state tournament.
John Zenz, Wolves’ head coach was named the 2016 State Class B Girls Coach of the Year, and the Watford City fans received the Spirit Award.
State Class B Tournament Championship
Shiloh Christian 45, Watford City 40
While Watford City’s pressing defense got the Wolves to the championship game of the State Class B Girls Basketball Tournament, Shiloh Christian stole that page out of Watford City’s defensive play book as the Skyhawks revenged an earlier season loss to the Wolves to claim the 2016 state title, 45-40, at the Grand Forks Alerus Center.
“It was a disappointing loss,” stated John Zenz, Wolves’ head coach. “We made a nice run to take an 11-point lead in the third quarter, but we just had too many turnovers and they shot very well when it counted.”
In a very close first half, the Wolves would trail the Skyhawks, 14-12, at the end of the first quarter of play, before battling back to cut Shiloh Christian’s lead to one point, 19-18, at halftime.
Watford City would take over the offensive action early in the third quarter as the Wolves would go on a 12-0 scoring run, with Ricki Lindley capping off the scoring drive with a three-pointer with 4:58 remaining in the quarter to put Watford City on top, 30-19.
But the Skyhawks would battle back as Watford City’s Katie Mogen was forced to the bench as she picked up her third and fourth fouls in the quarter.
With Mogen out of the game until early in the fourth quarter, Watford City’s offense struggled and Shiloh Christian’s defense forced several Wolves’ turnovers that quickly turned into baskets. For the game, Watford City committed 20 turnovers.
The Skyhawks, who were trailing the Wolves by 10 points, 32-22, with 2:03 remaining in the third quarter then went on a 7-0 run to cut Watford City’s lead to just three points, 32-29, heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Lea Andt would give the Wolves their last lead of the game with 4:49 remaining as she drained a two-pointer to put Watford City on top, 35-33. But that would be as close as the Wolves would get as the Skyhawks held on for the win.
Katie Mogen, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, paced the Wolves in scoring with 14 points, while grabbing five rebounds and dishing off five assists. She also ended the game with four blocks and two steals.
Rounding out the scoring for Watford City was Ricki Lindley with eight points, Lea Arndt with seven points, Mackenzie Sparby with six points, Alli Mogen and Krystal Wold with two points each, and ReiAnn Lindley with one point.
For the game, Watford City connected on 15 of 42 attempts from the field and were good on two of eight three-pointers. At the charity stripe, the Wolves shot 61 percent, hitting on eight of 13 attempts.
Watford City 12 18 32 40
Shiloh 14 19 29 45
State Class B Tournament Semifinals
Watford City 54, Park River-Fordville-Lankin 45
Watford City’s defense was just too much for Park River-Fordville-Lankin in Friday night’s semifinals of the State Class B Girls Basketball Tournament as the Wolves converted the Aggies’ 16 turnovers into 17 points.
And that aggressive style of defense was again Watford City’s key to victory as the Wolves rolled over the Aggies, 54-45, to advance to the state title game for only the second time in the school’s history.
The Wolves would get off to a slow start in the game with Watford City finally getting on the scoreboard with 5:45 left in the quarter on a Mackenzie Sparby basket. Watford City would trail Park River for most of the first quarter before Ricki Lindley would deadlock the game at 10-10 with 1:11 left on the clock. But baskets by ReiAnn Lindley and Lea Arndt would give Watford City a 14-11 lead after the first quarter.
Watford City completely dominated the second quarter of play as the Wolves would go on a 14-0 scoring run before the Aggies would finally score their first points of the quarter with a basket with 1:37 remaining in the first half of play.
Trailing the Wolves, 44-28, heading into the final eight minutes of play, Park River would put together a run of their own as the Aggies cut into Watford City’s lead, 49-39, midway through the fourth quarter. But the Wolves would match the Aggies shot for shot going down the stretch to take the win.
Katie Mogen, who was named the Player of the Game, paced both teams in scoring with 17 points, while Ricki Lindley and ReiAnn Lindley joined her in double-figure scoring with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Mogen also grabbed 11 rebounds for her first double-double of the state tournament, while ending the game with five steals, three assists and two blocked shots.
Rounding out the scoring for Watford City was Mackenzie Sparby with six points, while Alli Mogen, Avery Sundeen, Kaytlyn Grimes and Lea Arndt ended the game with two points each.
For the game, Watford City shot 52 percent from the field, hitting on 21 of 40 attempts and was good on two of six three-pointers. At the free-throw line, the Wolves made 10 of 19 attempts.
Watford City 14 32 44 54
Park River 11 15 28 45
State Class B Tournament First Round
Watford City 39, Dickinson Trinity 23
Watford City made Dickinson Trinity pay dearly for each and every turnover that the Titans committed in first round action of the State Class B Girls Basketball Tournament on Thursday afternoon.
The Wolves, who entered this year’s state tournament as probably the best defensive team, forced the Titans to turn over the ball 15 times in the first half of play, with Watford City converting those turnovers into 14 first half points.
And with its defense working that effectively, Watford City’s offense was able to make short work of the Titans.
The Wolves held a 15-10 first quarter lead, but Watford City’s defense put the hammer on the Titans in the second quarter as Dickinson Trinity only managed to score two points to trail by 17 points, 29-12, at halftime.
The third quarter found neither team being able to find the basket. Watford City’s Mackenzie Sparby, who was named the Player of the Game, would finally score the Wolves’ only two points of the quarter with just over three minutes to play, while Dickinson Trinity would score their only basket of the quarter two minutes later.
While both teams continued to struggle to put points on the board in the fourth quarter, the Titans never challenged the Wolves as Watford City advanced to semifinal action with a 39-23 win.
Mackenzie Sparby had a double-double for the Wolves as she paced Watford City with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Katie Mogen netted 14 points and grabbed eight boards in the win.
Rounding out the scoring for Watford City was Kaytlyn Grimes with five points, Lea Arndt and Ricki Lindley with two points each, while Avery Sundeen netted one point.
For the game, the Wolves hit on 16 of 49 attempts from the field and were good on zero of 10 three-point attempts. At the charity stripe, Watford City hit on seven of 11 attempts.
Watford City 15 29 31 39
Dick. Trinity 10 12 14 23