The Jordan Lady Mustangs came into the District 4C Tournament as the third seed, but they featured the best overall record, the highest scoring offense and the stingiest defense from the regular season.
On Saturday night, all of that was on display when the Lady Mustangs topped Northern Cheyenne 68-44 to claim the 4C championship.
“This has been our goal since the beginning of the season,” Jordan senior Carrie Murnion said. “It was a total team effort. I’m really glad we got here.”
Both teams will be back in the Custer County District High School gym next weekend for the Southern C Divisional Tournament. Joining them will be Broadus and Terry.
Broadus, who suffered a 58-55 loss to Jordan in the semfinals, beat top-seeded Wibaux 45-39 on Saturday morning to claim the three seed in the Southern C.
Terry came from behind to beat Ekalaka 56-50 to take the fourth seed at Divisionals.
Jordan 68, N. Cheyenne 44
In the semifinals on Friday night, the Lady Mustangs trailed Broadus by as many as 13 in the fourth quarter but rallied to take the win to set them up in the championship game.
“I was wondering if the championship game would go the other way,” Jordan Head Coach Chip Saylor said. “I didn’t know if we’d have the legs to hang around with Northern Cheyenne. I told them before the game, ‘play defense and it will turn into offense.’ They came out and did that.”
In the championship game, the Lady Mustangs took control of the game early with a 13-3 run to start the game. And they cruised from there.
Northern Cheyenne cut the lead to 16-11 early in the second quarter, but Jordan rallied to take a 31-17 lead into halftime.
In the second half, Northern Cheyenne never got going against the tough Jordan defense, and the Lady Mustangs cruised to the championship win.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Murnion said. “It felt good to come out as the third seed and to get to the top. It feels great.”
Jordan’s defense has been their strength throughout the season, and it was on display Saturday night.
They held Northern Cheyenne to just 22 percent shooting and forced 20 turnovers. Jordan also held a 49-39 edge in rebounds, which helped them overcome 22 turnovers of their own.
“When we’re playing good team defense, it’s outstanding,” Saylor said. “When they help on defense and communicate, it’s almost more fun to watch the defense than the offense.”
Charlie Saylor had a big game for Jordan in the championship game, leading the team with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Murnion finished with 17 points, three assists and four steals.
Tionne Carlson did her part to keep Northern Cheyenne going. She finished with 20 points. Tempest Little Coyote added eight points for the Lady Eagles.
Broadus 45, Wibaux 39
The Broadus Lady Hawks and Wibaux Lady Longhorns expected to play each other on Saturday, but they had designs on playing in the championship game, not in loser-out action.
Instead, both teams were handed defeats earlier in the tournament and the top two seeds found themselves playing each other, with their seasons on the line.
“We wanted to play Wibaux,” Broadus Head Coach Ashley Emmons said. “This isn’t how we envisioned playing Wibaux; we didn’t want to play for third and fourth. But we wanted to play them again, and we executed exactly what we needed to do.”
Broadus was coming off a devastating loss in the semifinals against Jordan, and had some concerns playing early on Saturday.
“I was concerned,” Emmons said. “Our legs were tired. But we got on the bus and it was all focus. There wasn’t a doubt in any of their minds.”
The Lady Hawks didn’t show any signs of rust to start the game, opening up on a 9-2 run and leading 12-8 after the first quarter.
But Wibaux wasn’t going to hand the game to the Lady Hawks. With 5:56 to play in the second quarter, Broadus took a 15-10 lead. From there, Wibaux scored 13 unanswered points to build a 23-15 lead.
Amanda Gaskill ended the run for Broadus with a basket at the end of the half, cutting Wibaux’s lead to 23-17 at the break.
As expected, the second half was a dogfight.
Broadus retook the lead late in the third quarter and led by seven with 2:25 to play in the fourth. Lexi Begger then scored five quick points for Wibaux, cutting the score to 41-39.
But that was all the offense Wibaux could muster down the stretch. Taylor Price sank two free throws in the final minute and Gaskill iced the game with a basket in the final seconds.
“I told them, ‘Wibaux is tired and we’re tired, but we’re going to be quicker,’” Emmons said. “And we were. We had a chance to beat them up the floor, and we did that. Defensively, we executed, we stopped the inside, and that’s what we had to do.”
Price led the Lady Hawks with 13 points and seven rebounds. Gaskill had 10 points and Hayle Trucano added eight in the win.
Wibaux got a double-double from Begger, 17 points and 12 rebounds. Chelsea Leach and Sydney Schieffer each had seven.
Terry 56, Ekalaka 50
Terry needed a big fourth quarter to come back and eliminate the upstart Ekalaka Lady Bulldogs on Saturday morning.
And with that comeback win, the Lady Terriers punched their ticket to the Southern C Divisional Tournament.
“We’re really excited,” Lady Terrier Lexie Schlosser said after the game. “We hadn’t even talked about going to Divisionals until today. It was just in the back of our minds, but we never mentioned it.”
Eighth-seeded Ekalaka, who upset top-seeded Wibaux in the quarterfinals, looked to play spoiler again.
Midway through the first quarter, Schlosser hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at seven. But over the next seven minutes, Ekalaka went on a 15-2 run to take a 22-9 lead.
Schlosser answered with a three that sparked a 13-3 run for the Lady Terriers that got them within three at halftime.
“We were slowly climbing back into the game going into halftime,” Schlosser said. “When we went into halftime, we said, ‘this is our last game, no matter what, at districts,’ and we got that fire to finish.”
The teams traded the lead four times in the third quarter, with Ekalaka holding onto a 42-37 lead going into the fourth. And then Schlosser put on a show.
Schlosser scored 15 points in the decisive fourth quarter, leading Terry to a 19-8 edge in the fourth.
She tied the game with a basket and a free throw and then gave Terry the lead for good with a three at the 2:11 mark.
Defensively, the Lady Terriers forced 21 Ekalaka bulldogs, leading to 24 points in transition.
“Our defense is what won it,” Schlosser said. “That led to a lot of scoring opportunities. Everyone hit the open gaps, and we executed well.”
Schlosser finished with 32 points, going 11-22 from the field and 7-12 from the free-throw line. She also grabbed eight rebounds.
Caitlin Lantis added 10 points, while Valerie Greenfield and Halle Keltner each grabbed 11 boards.
Jessica Dalzell had 18 points to lead Ekalaka. Ashley Frye had 11 points and 12 boards, while Kylee Kennedy had 10 points and Ellen Guyer chipped in with nine points.