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Velva squeaks by ORCS 37-32

Ryan Ladika/MDN Velva’s Madison Effertz, guarded by Our Redeemer’s Meadow Roberts, looks for a passing opportunity.

When the Our Redeemer’s Knights kicked off their Region 6 tournament contest against the Velva Aggies at the Minot Auditorium, to say a defensive struggle ensued would be an understatement.

The two squads met in the second of four games that would be played at the auditorium on day one of the tournament. The two squads were playing for a chance to advance to the second round and play the Glenburn Panthers, who had prevailed over Westhope-Newburn 70-38 earlier in the afternoon.

Thanks to impressive defense forcing poor offensive looks for both squads, the game remained scoreless into the third minute of play. Velva’s Olivia Miller was finally able to get a marker on the scoreboard, hitting one of two free throws after she was fouled two minutes and seven seconds in.

The Knights quickly responded with three points from Emily Brugman when she was fouled on a two-point try and made her shot from the charity stripe. Elise Altringer added another point on a made free throw, and Madison Effertz made a free throw on her end of the court to pull the score to 4-2 with a tick under three minutes left in the half.

From that point on, it was Aubrey Griedl against Olivia Passa. The two girls did the rest of the scoring for their respective squads, with Griedl scoring four and Passa five. When the first eight minutes were spent, the Knights held a slim 8-7 lead.

The game remained balanced throughout the second quarter as well, with both teams tying for eight points. Griedl, Brugman, Kendal Braun and Maya Vibeto handled the scoring in the second quarter, while Effertz, Reagan Hildre and Whitney Schepp scored for the Aggies. At halftime, the Knights still clung to their one-point lead at 16-15.

The low-scoring theme continued in the second half, as four of the Knights’ five scoring plays came at the free-throw line. That’s when the Aggies started to regain control of the contest. Passa, Effertz, Jadyn Sandy and Sophie Hackman all scored for Velva, which ignited a late, fourth-quarter run.

Meadow Roberts drained a three-point shot to begin scoring in the fourth, which was met with thunderous applause. It was quickly answered by Hackman scoring the game’s next seven points, and Hailee Kvamme scored two more to cap off the 9-0 run.

With just under three minutes to play, Vibeto and Braun combined to hit two of their four total free throws, and Vibeto scored two more to pull back to within three points at 33-30.

The Knights’ last-second fouls were not enough to hold the Aggies at bay in the end, as the clock ran out on their season. At the final buzzer, Velva held its 37-32 lead, and earned a trip to the semifinal against the Panthers.

Hackman and Passa led the Aggies with nine points each, and Effertz also added seven points. For the Knights, Griedl led her team with eight points, and Brugman scored seven in the defeat.

The Aggies will meet the Panthers at 6 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Minot Auditorium.

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