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Sargent County girls' hoops wins Region 1 with 52-48 win over E/K-M

Feb. 22—JAMESTOWN — The game between No. 5-ranked Sargent County and No. 6-ranked Edgeley/Kulm-Montpelier lived up to the hype as Sargent County got a 52-48 overtime win over the Rebels in the Region I championship game on Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Jamestown Civic Center.

The win sees Sargent County go to the state tournament for the first time since they became a co-op four years ago.

The game was back and forth early on but a layup in the dying seconds of the first quarter sent the Bulldogs into the second quarter up 10-4. Early in the second quarter, the Rebels' Mataeya Mathern went to the line and hit both to cut the deficit to 10-6. The Bulldogs would continue to withstand Rebels runs as they pushed the lead out to 19-11 before a late flurry from the Rebels saw them cut the deficit to 19-15.

The third quarter was tight throughout with the Rebels taking their first lead of the day at 30-28. The Rebels were able to stretch it out to 35-32 before the Bulldogs cut into it at 35-34. The Rebels were able to push their lead out to 41-36 late in the fourth quarter before a three from the Bulldogs' Halle Nelson cut the deficit to 41-39, drawing a Bulldogs timeout with 1:28 to go. After the timeout, the Bulldogs got a steal and Nelson came up clutch once again to tie the game up at 41.

"That and the layup in overtime too got us going right away," Bulldogs head coach Randy Syrstad said. "You live and die by the three a lot and they hit a lot of threes here in the corners especially and caught us off guard and we knew and told the girls in the 1-3-1, that's our vulnerability. But, we hit some big shots when we had to and they came down in our favor."

The Bulldogs sprinted out to a 48-43 lead in the overtime before the Rebels hit a three to cut the deficit to 48-46 but the Bulldogs were able to wilt the game away at the free throw line to book their spot in the state tournament.

The emotions were very visible from both teams and supporters after the game as the Bulldogs were crying tears of happiness and some of Syrstad's football players mobbed him on the floor in celebration.

"We've been waiting a long time for this, a lot of years and we did this together," Bulldogs sophomore Emma Bixby said.

On the other sideline though, the Rebels appeared somber with head coach Rory Entzi sitting by himself on the bench with his face in his hands in the immediate aftermath of the game.

"I'm sure that those kids wanted to win as bad as anbody in here," Entzi said. "It's really hard. We're trying to wrap our head around in the past we'd be done, so it's deflating, it feels deflating but we're not and that's the crazy part. We have to go back to the board tomorrow and try to figure out who we're playing and what we need to do and we got a day to get ready for it which is crazy. You put so much effort into everything and when things don't go your way it's hard and you gotta refocus and we got a chacne yet. It would be a pretty wild story if we get in through the play in game and see what happens from there."

The Rebels will now play in the challenge game at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, when they take on Benson County. The Bulldogs will now wait to see who they face in the first round of the state tournament on Thursday, Feb. 29.

E/K-M 48, SC 52

E/K-M: 4 11 20 6 7 — 48

SC: 10 9 15 7 11 — 52

Points leaders:

E/K-M: Mataeya Mathern 21, Abby Mathern 11, Grace Irey 7

SC: Karleigh Kadoun 18, Halle Nelson 13, Amber Kjar 10

Assists leaders:

E/K-M: Betsy Huber 3, M. Mathern 3, Jaelyn Bertsch 2, Elli Lloyd 2, Abby Mathern 2

SC: Emma Bixby 5, Kjar 3, Nelson 1, Paeyton Hamann 1, Lillianna Lee 1

Leading rebounders:

E/K-M: M. Mathern 13, A. Mathern 6, Huber 6, Irey 5, Lloyd 5, Bertsch 3, L. Mathern 3

SC: Kjar 12, Nelson 4, Lee 4, Bixby 3, Sadie Neustel 3, Kadoun 2

Full tournament bracket below:

Quarterfinals:

D2 #4 Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter 31 vs. D1 #1 Sargent County 47

D1 #3 Oakes 30 vs. D2 #2 LaMoure/Litchville-Marion 48

D1 #4 Wyndmere/Lidgerwood 21 vs. D2 #1 Edgeley/Kulm-Montpelier 60

D2 #3 Linton/HMB 40 vs. D1 #2 Maple River 48

Semifinals:

D2 #2 LaMoure/Litchville-Marion 40 vs. D1 #1 Sargent County 47

D1 #2 Maple River 47 vs. D2 #1 Edgeley/Kulm-Montpelier 63

Third Place Game:

D2 #2 LaMoure/Litchville-Marion vs. D1 #2 Maple River, 6 p.m.

Championship game:

D1 #1 Sargent County 52 vs. D2 #1 Edgeley/Kulm-Montpelier 48

Region Awards:

Region Coach of the Year: Rory Entzi, E/K-M

Region Senior Athlete of the Year: Mataeya Mathern, E/K-M