Four months ago, Watford City sophomore center Katie Mogen was recovering from meniscus surgery.
Monday, Mogen poured in a game-high 27 points in just her second game this season as the Wolves defeated Our Redeemer's Christian School 54-39 at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
Mogen scored nine of her team's 11 points in the second quarter and added 10 more in the fourth to halt ORCS' comeback bid. The 5-foot-9 starter finished 7 of 10 from the free-throw line and grabbed eight rebounds.
Our Redeemer’s Christian School sophomore Samiah Grigsby strips the ball from Watford City sophomore Lea Arndt on Monday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
"It was a long time and I was really anxious to get back," Mogen said. "My team helped me through it because I was really anxious."
Neither team shot the ball particularly well in the first quarter. Both teams hit three shots, but the Wolves (4-1) made eight free throws for a 14-10 lead. ORCS freshman guard Morgan Olson scored nine of the Knights' 10 points in the opening frame.
"We played solid man-to-man defense," Watford City coach John Zenz said. "We held a team to under 40 points. When you do that you should win a lot of games."
The Knights (2-2) held an early five-point lead - their largest of the game - before Watford City responded with a 9-0 run, grabbing a lead it wouldn't surrender. ORCS pulled within one early in the second quarter, but three consecutive baskets by Mogen stretched the Wolves' lead to seven.
"We weren't totally sure of how (ORCS) would be, but we adapted quite well," Mogen said.
Watford City controlled the glass at times, getting second- and third-chance opportunities at the offensive end. Senior Amanda Mogen and sophomore guard Ricki Lindley joined Katie Mogen with eight rebounds each and forward Lea Arndt grabbed seven boards off the bench.
"Our girls crashed the boards hard," Zenz said. "We got some second opportunities and we also gave up some second opportunities. (The refs) were letting them play physical underneath and we were able to take advantage of that a few times."
Said ORCS coach Kory Nelson: "We're going to struggle with that. Our posts inside are young. All we can hope is by the end of the year we're better in that category."
Trailing by eight after three quarters, the Knights got within five points at 37-32, but Watford City sealed the game with a 10-1 run. Katie Mogen scored seven points during that stretch and Lindley tallied two of her six second-half points.
Amanda Mogen finished with 10 points to join her younger sister in double figures.
Olson led the Knights with 17 points while guards Jenny Skees and Lauren Hendrickson had seven each. Hendrickson scored all her points in the second quarter.
ORCS plays No. 6 Shiloh Christian on Friday in the Skyhawks' New Year's Invite. Watford City hosts Ray on Saturday.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics and hockey. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.