Thompson upsets No. 2 LAEM
It didn’t take long for the Class B girls basketball state tournament to provide its first upset.
In the first game on Thursday, unseeded Thompson outscored No. 2 Langdon Area-Edmore/Munich 22-12 in the second half to knock off the Cardinals 39-36 at the MSU Dome.
Thompson advances to play Killdeer in the state semifinals at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the MSU Dome. LAEM faces Rugby in the consolation bracket at 1 p.m. today.
“The underdog role isn’t a bad place to be,” Thompson coach Jason Brend said. “Not a lot of people put a lot of stock into rankings once you get into the tournament because everyone is 0-0. Right now, we’re happy to play in a semifinal and we have a lot of confidence right now.”
The Cardinals took a 24-17 lead into halftime, but the Tommies left a lot of points at the free throw line, shooting 5-of-11 in the half.
“We can’t shoot 50 percent from the free throw line,” Brend said. “Free throws win games at tournament time and they can win championships. The fact that we’re still in the running for that means a lot to us. There may have been some young girls who don’t realize how important those are, but they didn’t let the moment get to them and that benefited us at the end.”
Thompson outscored LAEM 9-6 in the third, entering the fourth quarter down 30-26.
With 2:30 remaining, Thompson tied the game at 34 apiece. The Cardinals responded with two free throws from sophomore forward Callie Ronningen, then Thompson senior forward Kailen Dolleslager answered with a basket, resulting in a tie game at 36 apiece with 1:08 left.
Thompson’s Macy Jordheim forced herself to the free throw line, converting the first attempt for a 37-36 lead, but missed the second. The Tommies grabbed the offensive board and Jordheim was fouled again. She missed the front end of the bonus, giving LAEM a chance for a game-winning shot.
With 8 seconds left, LAEM senior guard Jordyn Worley was fouled, but missed both free throws.
After two converted free throws, Thompson stole the Cardinals’ inbounds pass to prevent a 3-point attempt and seal the victory.
“They changed it up after halftime and got us to play timid,” LAEM coach Robb Scherr said. “We didn’t want to play timid. The 1-3-1 trap got us playing tentative and we weren’t strong with the ball. For some reason, we didn’t want the ball in our hands. We have some great guards, I don’t know why they just shut down.”
Thursday’s matchup between the Cardinals and Tommies was unique in that neither team made a single 3-pointer. Thompson was 0-for-2, while LAEM shot 0-for-11 beyond the arc.
“That’s a little crazy,” Brend said. “They played aggressive defense and we packed it in the first half, so if they were going to have a chance, it would have been then. The second half we decided we were going to put pressure on the perimeter and decide we weren’t going to let them get as good of looks out there.”
Dolleslager led the Tommies with 11 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double, while Macy Jordheim and Mackenzie Hughes each had 7. Thompson shot 32.5 percent from the floor, 13-of-23 from the free throw line and outrebounded LAEM 38-25.
Worley finished with 15 points on a 7 of 12 shooting performance for LAEM, while Ronningen had 10 points and nine rebounds. The Cardinals shot 39 percent from the floor and 4-of-7 from the free throw line.
LAEM won 44-34 in the pair’s first meeting on Dec. 9.
Garrick Hodge covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @Garrick_Hodge