FARGO — A year ago, the Kindred women’s basketball team lost their hearts when they lost in overtime to North Dakota’s Class B, Region 1 championship game.
A year later, the Vikings said no again, beating Northern Cass 75-46 behind 25 points from senior forward Abby Duchscherer at the Scheels Center inside the Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
With the win, No. 1-ranked Kindred (23-0) qualified for the Class B Women’s State Tournament for the first time since 2019 and will be the top seed. The tournament will take place at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Grand Forks from March 3-5.
Northern Cass ended their season at 18-5 after playing in their first regional final since 2005, causing a shock upset for No. 3-ranked Central Cass in the semi-finals on Friday night.
Duchscherer was named Region 1 Senior Athlete of the Year and was also named to the All-Tournament Team.
“It’s surreal,” she said. “As a senior, you can’t think of a better way out.”
And there was no better time for Duchscherer to have an explosive night.
“It’s just all the hard work, all the hours, just trusting the process,” she said. “There are games where I probably scored zero points, 10 points, it’s really just staying consistent all the way from seventh year to senior year. It’s just built up.”
Sticking to the game plan is key for Duchscherer and her teammates as they prepare to head to Grand Forks.
“The same way we’ve done all season, playing our game,” she said. “That’s what I’ve told a lot of people because I think that’s the most important thing for us. tournament.”
Kindred head coach Sam Brandt said the victory was just another step on the way to the program’s third state championship since 2017.
“It feels good, it’s part of the journey,” she said. “They didn’t want another repeat, and they deserved it. It took 46 practices to get there and they worked hard, every single one of them.
“We’re going to absorb it all, we’re going to celebrate (Saturday night), we’re going to look at what lies ahead and play our game. We’re going to perfect a few things and go out and make sure we’re ready to roll and have some fun.”
While Duchscherer stood out from the rest, it was a team effort on offense for the Vikings. Sophomore goaltender Peyton Gette finished with 10 points to join the club in double digits, while senior forward Kristina Freier and senior center Terryn Johnson notched nine. Junior guards Charli McQuillan and Kacie Burner added seven points each, while eighth-grader Laela Eisenschenk added five and second-year forward Avery Bartels added three.
Senior forward Allie Slinger led the Jaguars with 13 points while junior guard Halle Crockett added 12. Sophomore forward Josie Jensen finished with eight points.
Kindred took a 15-6 lead after one quarter, with eight of those points coming from Duchscherer.
The Vikings scored 24 points in the second period to take a 39-19 lead at the break. Kindred then had 36 points in the final 16 minutes to pull away for good.
Kindred finished with 25 field goals and went 16 of 22 from the free throw line.
Northern Cass finished with 19 field goals and was 2 of 9 at the boards.
Duchscherer said she and her teammates would be ready to go to Grand Forks and couldn’t do it without community support along the way.
“I want to thank the whole community,” she said. “The student section, my parents, the coaches, I appreciate everyone and I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Half: Kindred 39, Northern Cass 19
RELATIVES: McQuillan 7, Gette 10, Bartels 3, Duchscherer 25, Burner 7, K. Freier 9, Eisenschenk 5, Johnson 9.
NC: Haidyn Crockett 3, Zwetzig 6, Jensen 8, Halle Crockett 12, Slinger 13, Lucas 2, Richman 2.