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Stremick twins reflect on winning 2004-05 girls hoops state title

Feb. 28—JAMESTOWN — The Langdon High School girls' basketball reigned supreme the last time the NDHSAA girls' basketball tournament was in Jamestown behind twins Briana Fisk and Justine Stremick.

"It feels like so long ago," Justine said. "We had a great team that year with a strong senior class. Sarah Mack and Janelle Mostad were back from knee injuries the year prior and Taryn Otto and Jill Stremick brought a great defense and shooting presence. Christy Schauer was our other tenacious starting guard and we had a host of other underclassmen who made key contributions to the team."

The 2024 NDHSAA Division B Girls Basketball State Tournament is returning to the Jamestown Civic Center for the first time since the 2004-05 season on Thursday, Feb. 29.

The Cardinals started their championship season 4-4 before finishing the year at 23-5. The Cardinals beat Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood 48-41 in the championship game.

"All seven (players) were pretty good athletes and that's why we went through it pretty easily," Cardinals head coach Gary Schauer said. "But Kenmare gave us a little problem because we played not to lose down the stretch because we had double-digit leads on every game by halftime. We were finally getting to where we could be at the end. We didn't know what we could be until the very end."

Stremick said the fact that she won the state title with her twin sister meant a lot to her.

"Obviously, that was really special," Stremick said. "It was one of the last official team sporting events we played together and to be able to end on a win and bring home Langdon's first state basketball championship was very memorable."

Fisk said the team got off to a slow start because multiple players were battling mononucleosis and knee injuries. Fisk said the team lost in the volleyball tournament in the 2004-05 season because they were fighting off mono. Fisk said they came back after Christmas break when everybody was healthy and they played well.

After losing in the semifinals the prior year, Fisk said the team was determined to win the state title.

"It was the most devastating feeling because there's games where you lose and you play well and it's just the other team outplayed you," Fisk said. "Those are a little more acceptable versus just when you don't play well at all and lose it's a bad feeling. So I think that was part of the motivation too and starting the season the way we did and dropping in the rankings, it really felt like we had something to prove."

When she thinks back on the crowds inside the Jamestown Civic Center, Stremick said they brought the energy during the tournament. Fisk said the family's younger sister Autumn was on the sidelines in a Langdon cheerleading outfit.

"I do remember the fans, we had a lot of fans there," Fisk said. "I remember they had body paint on."

Schauer said he enjoyed coaching at the Jamestown Civic Center over the three days.

"It was kind of fun," Schauer said. "I thought the place was uniquely suited for the Class B state tournament. ... I think they do now and 20 years ago they probably didn't have enough hotel space in some of those places but they do now and the venue was perfect. The venue, I couldn't complain about. I couldn't complain about the venue at all. ... I think they can't go wrong by using Jamestown."

The team was used to winning as multiple girls on the team had won the volleyball state tournament in 2003.

"They were used to being under pressure," Schauer said. "They were used to being under the limelight into it. So it helped our basketball team out also because they were used to being under the state limelight whether it be for volleyball or track or basketball. Justine said before a game, 'What are you guys nervous about? This is fun.' She was right, Justine kind of nailed it right on the button. So you gotta give her credit ..."

Both Stremick sisters capped off their high school careers with the state title and then went on to play Division I college volleyball as Stremick played at the University of Notre Dame (Indiana) and Fisk played at the United States Military Academy at West Point (New York).

When she thinks about what advice she would give the current players who will play in the tournament, Fisk said to enjoy the tournament.

"Just enjoy the experience, live in the moment, put it all out there on the court," Fisk said. "Hopefully, the result follows. We've known success and failure in both of those sports at that level, and go out there and do your best."

One of the things that sticks out to Schauer about being in Jamestown during the tournament off the floor is a trip to Perkins Restaurant and Bakery.

"It was good," Schauer said. "I couldn't complain about that. We went to Subway. They had a place for us to practice at and stuff like that. So, they did nice things for us at Jamestown, the high school. At that time, I don't know if it was the junior high or whatever, we practiced at for a half hour, 45 minutes. But that was nice and I thought the eating places were nice. Even the night after we won the state, we went out to eat at Perkins, but they don't have a Perkins no more. So we walked across from the hotel to a place to eat."

Stremick said she anticipates this year's teams will enjoy their time in Jamestown.

"I think they will have a wonderful experience," Stremick said. "I think organized sports has evolved, particularly in its interaction with social media, but that the game is fundamentally the same and they will have a great time competing."