No. 1 Central Cass tops No. 2 Kindred in girls basketball

January 11, 2021 9:30 pm

By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist

KINDRED, N.D. – Trailing by one point in the final minute to No. 2-ranked and Region 1 girls basketball rival Kindred, No. 1-ranked Central Cass needed a late bucket to keep its undefeated start to the 2020-21 season intact.

Sophomore guard Decontee Smith provided what the Squirrels needed.

Smith hit a go-ahead jumper with 53 seconds left to play giving Central Cass the boost it needed to hold on for a 59-58 victory over the Vikings on Monday, January 11 at Kindred High School.

Smith took an outlet pass from junior Morgan Lee and pulled up from about 10 feet getting the shot off as 6-foot-1 Kindred junior Terryn Johnson defended in transition.

“I was in attack mode and ready to shoot,” Smith said of the late possession.

All of Smith’s 10 points came in the second half. Smith got into foul trouble early leaving the Squirrels to rely on additional contributions on the offensive end.

Central Cass (8-0) jumped out to a 11-2 lead, but Kindred rallied. With Smith forced to sit due to foul trouble, Central Cass kept the damage to a relative minimum getting four 3-pointers to fall in the first half by four different players – juniors Kailey McKinnon, Morgan Lee, Rylie Holzer and Jaylin Cotton.

The Squirrels trailed 30-23 at halftime, but started to come alive in the third quarter cutting the Vikings’ lead to 47-45 as the fourth quarter started. Smith and sophomore Tori Richter combined for 14 points in the big third quarter for the Squirrels.

“We played as a team and kept fighting,” Central Cass head coach Jay Bachman said. “The girls stepped up. We had girls that do not score a whole lot of points for us, score more tonight. We had girls who do not get a lot of rebounds get extra rebounds. We fought the whole game and never gave up.”

Lee connected for two free-throws with 26 seconds left to play giving Central Cass a 59-56 advantage. Kindred’s ensuing possession following Lee’s free throws stalled around the perimeter with time running off the clock. Eventually Kindred all-state junior Abby Duchscherer was able to get a shot to fall inside the paint, but with 1.3 seconds left to play Central Cass was able to run the clock out.

“We had to keep our heads in the game and at the end we knew if we kept up with them we were going to get the win,” Smith said.

Duchscherer and Johnson paced the Vikings with 16 points each. Kindred is now 6-2.

Richter and Holzer led Central Cass with 11 points each.

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