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Devils Lake's second-half adjustments lead to spot in Division A girls basketball title game

Mar. 1—MINOT — Tylie Brodina hyperextended her leg in the third quarter of Devils Lake's Division A state semifinal game against Valley City Friday at the Minot State Dome.

Brodina knew she wasn't done, even though she winced as she hobbled off the court.

"I needed to get back in there," she said. "I'm not going to go out because I just knew my teammates needed me, and I just wanted to be right there with them."

That resiliency showed on the court for the Firebirds, too. The bench kept them in the game, and Brodina connected on a triple soon after returning to the court. Devils Lake regained the lead en route to a 59-57 win over the Hi-Liners.

Devils Lake will play in the state championship game for the first time since 2019. The Firebirds advanced to the title game in 2020, but the game was canceled amid the pandemic.

"We're pretty excited," Devils Lake's Presley Brown said. "We knew we could do this all year, and we're here now."

Devils Lake coach Justin Klein said the game didn't play out exactly how the Firebirds drew it up, but Devils Lake refocused and executed on changes made at halftime.

"First half, we were a little scared," Klein said. "We were a little shaky with their size. We were just kind of throwing the ball up to the rim. It looked ugly, I'm not going to lie. But the second half was a little more controlled, a little more disciplined. We maybe concentrated a little more on our shots."

One halftime discussion for the Firebirds was their defense, which they switched in the second half, a look "that threw them off a little bit," Klein said.

Valley City had 36 turnovers in the game.

The Firebirds had the lead for 14 minutes, 57 seconds. Valley City was in front for 14 minutes, 11 seconds of the game.

Torri Fee led Devils Lake with 15 points and five rebounds. Brown ended with 11 points and was 7-for-12 from the free throw line. Brodina had 10 points.

Devils Lake shot 35.1% from the field, compared to Valley City's 54.1% shooting. The Firebirds attempted 20 more shots on extra possessions they created on turnovers.

Valley City was led by Katie Burchill, who notched her second double-double of the state tournament with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Tesa Olson added 13 points and five rebounds.

Devils Lake returns to the state championship game in their first tournament appearance since 2021. The Firebirds have a chance to win their first title since 1987.

"We'll see who our opponent is, but I think we'll be ready," Klein said. "We're going to have to go deep in our bench. It's exciting for the girls to get a shot at Thompson or South Prairie. It doesn't matter. Right now, anything can happen."