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Bearcats advance to West Sub-Section Championship

By Mark Johnson, coach
KCC 52 – FB 48
The Bearcats traveled to the University of Minnesota-Crookston Campus for their Sub-Section quarter final matchup with the 8th seeded Fertile-Beltrami Falcons last Thursday, Feb. 29. The two teams had met at Kittson Central just two weeks ago in a contest that the Bearcats controlled from start to finish posting a 78-60 win over the Falcons. This time around would not prove to be as easy.
KCC got out of the starting blocks in decent fashion and worked their way to a 12-6 lead by the 11:35 mark of the first half. The Falcons were hanging in there and battling the Bearcats on each and every possession. The tide turned quickly as the Falcons went a 6-0 run over the next 1:26 to knot the game at 12-12. The two teams battled to the 5:45 mark with KCC holding a slim 18-17 lead. The Bearcats just couldn’t manage clean possessions against the Falcon defense and were struggling to get into rhythm. The Falcons took control in the last five minutes of play and outscored the Bearcats 12-3 to post a 29-21 halftime lead.
The second half became a lesson in persistence. The Falcons scored the first four points of the half and took a 33-21 lead at the 16:30 mark of the second half. It would be the largest lead of the game for either team. The Bearcats responded and quickly cut the deficit in half and closed to 33-27 over the next few possessions, but the run stalled out and the Falcons maintained their lead over the next several minutes of play. The Bearcats full court pressure slowly started to get a strangle hold on the Falcons and KCC kept chipping away at the lead and finally at the 1:19 mark tied the game at 45-45. The Bearcats immediately followed that up with an inbounds pass steal and a layup to regain the lead at 47-45. KCC’s defense continued to clamp down on the Falcons and the Bearcats won the battle in the final minute of play to capture the 52-48 win and advance to the Sub-section semi-final game.
The girls deserve props. They hung in there and found a way to close the deal. It wasn’t easy at any point. Fertile-Beltrami did an excellent job of executing their defensive strategy. They kept bodies on everybody and covered the entire floor. We had to work for everything on both ends of the floor. We played tentative for much of the game, but when it came down to crunch time the girls attacked and took over the game.

Scoring leaders: Morgan Turn 12, Greta Kuznia 9, Lily Peterson 8, McKinley Folland 7, Berlyn Strege 6, Hanna Warnke 3, Afton Lindgren 3, Kaydence White 3, Aliyah Vig 1
Rebound leaders: McKinley Folland 13
Assist leaders: Berlyn Strege 3, McKinley Folland 3, Greta Kuznia 2

KCC 74 – F-C 45
KCC got back on the bus Saturday morning, March 2 to play a noon game at the Ralph Englestad Arena in Thief River Falls against the Fisher-Climax Knights in the West Sub-Section semi-final game. The two teams met way back in early December in Fisher with the Bearcats coming out on the winning end.
As tight and in doubt as the previous game was for the Bearcats this time around KCC left very little question as to who the better team on the floor was. The Bearcats got off to a great start and jumped out to an early double-digit lead. The Knights slowed the onslaught for a few minutes and closed the Bearcat lead to 17-12, but KCC responded and just overpowered the Knights for the remainder of the first half of play and went on a 35-13 run to post a 52-25 halftime lead.
The Bearcats kept the ball rolling in the second half and pushed their lead to close to 40 points and sent the game into running time at the 9:00 minute mark of the half.
KCC closed out the game and advanced to the West Sub-Section championship game at the REA in TRF on Wednesday, March 6 at 6 p.m. The Bearcats moved their overall record to 23-4 on the season.
It was a complete performance by the team. We had individuals who took on specific assignments in the game and embraced those responsibilities. We played with a rhythm and an intensity that just overpowered our opponent. The girls were having fun and you could see it from the stands. Every player was physically and mentally dialed in for the entire game.

Scoring leaders: Morgan Turn 18, Greta Kuznia 14, Kaydence White 12, McKinley Folland 9, Hanna Warnke 6, Lily Peterson 4, Afton Lindgren 4, Berlyn Strege 3, Aliyah Vig 2, Ellen Hilman 2
Rebound leaders: Afton Lindgren 6, Kaydence White 6, McKinley Folland 6
Assist leaders: Berlyn Strege 4, Lily Peterson 3, Morgan Turn 3


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