Spoiler girls win District 4 tournament
Grafton’s stock rises as regionals await
The Grafton Spoilers like the Dow Jones Industrials have been on a pretty good roll of late. Unlike the markets however, the Spoilers winning championships is never a matter of uncertainty.
The Lady Spoilers improved their portfolio once again Tuesday night as they completed another title run by defeating the Drayton-Valley-Edinburg Titans 62 to 35. It was the third straight District 4 championship and fourth in the last six years for the Spoilers.
It was evident early that the Spoilers were on a mission to pick up the win. Brooke Feltman and Cassie Thompson again dominated early. Pacing the Spoilers to a quick 10 to 0 lead, the senior forwards were all about helping their team to a good start. “I really liked our readiness tonight,” Spoiler head coach Laurie Sieben said, “the girls came out and played hard right from the start and we need to do that every game.”
The Titans meanwhile looked tentative on offense and in dealing with the Spoiler full court pressure. That pressure limited Titan scoring opportunities and by the end of the first quarter only one player -Kadee Gullickson (15 pts) - had any success in denting the Spoiler defense. Gullickson would score all four of her team’s first quarter points and nine of their eleven first half points.
While the Spoilers were effective attacking inside, their outside game was on as well. Jessica Burns knocked down an early three-pointer and added a double with 2:45 to go in the first making it a 15 to 3 ballgame. A basket by Nicole Christinson from 15 feet ended the first quarter scoring with Grafton on top 19 to 4.
Feltman then took over. Feltman scored the first six points in the second quarter and was a force inside on the defensive end of the floor as well. Very few looks inside by the Titans went uncontested by the Spoiler center. Jessica Burns lit one up from the outside with a 3-pointer, then Alison Burns hit a long-range three and this one was 31 to 4 with five minutes to go in the half. Gullickson would respond and put down five straight points to rally the Titans but another three by Spoiler’s Jillian Hanson put an end to the Titan run. The Spoilers would go into the halftime locker room up 40 to 11.
The second half mirrored the first. The Spoilers were just too quick, too aggressive and had too many weapons for the Titans to control. Alison and Jessica Burns would both hit threes again early in the third. Jessica Burn’s runner in the lane through traffic at the buzzer punctuated a nearly flawless quarter and made this one a thirty point ball game.
By the five minute mark of the fourth quarter coach Laurie Sieben had pulled her five starters as the job was done. “The girls did a good job again defensively for us tonight and I thought we had a good team effort,” commented Sieben, “the way the game went it allowed us to try some things and that was good for our whole team.” Closing out the game the Titan’s Jalyn Larson made some nice plays inside that helped in the final minutes. The 62 to 35 final will once again send Grafton as the number one seed out of District 4 to the regional tournament next week in Grand Forks. The Spoilers will play the first game against Hatton-Northwood at 3:00pm. Drayton-Valley-Edinburg, who rose up in this district tournament and did a nice job in taking 2nd place, will take the number two seed into the regionals and will face off against MayPort CG in the final game of the opening round.
Leading scorers for the Spoilers were Cassie Thompson with 16, Jessica Burns had 13, Brooke Feltman 12, Alison Burns 8, Kayla Dvorak 5, Nicole Christinson and Jillian Hanson 4 each.
The Titans were paced by Gullickson’s 15, Jalyn Larson and Haley Braathen each had 6, Shayna Phelps had 4, Morgan Emanuelson and Alex Braathen each had 2.
District 4 Honors
All District 4 Team
Grafton: Alison Burns, Brooke Feltman and Cassie Thompson.
Drayton-Valley-Edinburg: Kadee Gullickson and Shayna Phelps.
Midway-Minto: Helen Schuster and Mackenzie Irwin.
North Border: Maddie Lafferty.
Park River Fordville-Lankin: Brogan Novak.
Cavalier: Paige O’Hara.
Senior athlete of the year: Cassie Thompson, Grafton.
Coach of the year: Randy Rice of Midway Minto.