Velva snaps Rugby’s four-year streak to claim District 11 crown

Velva's Madison Effertz (right) looks to get around a Rugby defender during Saturday's District 11 Tournament championship game in Bottineau. Velva won 32-30. Matthew Semisch/ Bottineau Courant

BOTTINEAU — The Velva girls basketball team trailed Rugby for a majority of the game but got in front when it mattered the most.

No. 2-seeded Velva (20-2) avenged a regular season defeat and some past postseason encounters with a District 11 Tournament championship Saturday evening over top-seeded Rugby (17-4). The Aggies topped the Panthers by two points, 32-30, in Bottineau.

Rugby had won the last four District 11 championships. All four times, Rugby beat Velva to do so.

The Panthers led after the first quarter (9-4), at halftime (20-15) and at the end of the third quarter (26-24) on Saturday. Anni Stier, who was named the Distict 11 Senior Athlete of the Year, kept Velva from the lead with a game-high 12 points.

But eventually pounding the paint paid off, as Velva forwards Emma Passa and Rachel Mack scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, to lead the Aggies to the victory.

Being named to the All-District 11 Tournament Team were: Jaidyn Brummond (TGU), Hope Brewer (Velva), Ellie Braaten (Westhope-Newburg), Karsyn Hager (Rugby), Hailey Roberts (Nedrose), Kaitlyn Lund (Velva), Jaclyn Hanson (Bottineau), Maria Blessum (Rugby), Neeleigh Wollenzien (TGU), Harley Blada (Westhope-Newburg), Anni Stier (Rugby) and Emma Passa (Velva).

Rugby head coach Jen Brossart was named the District 11 Coach of the Year.

TGU and Westhope-Newburg also won regional qualifier games on Saturday to advance to the Region 6 Tournament, which is being held Feb. 18, 19 and 21 at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

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