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Central Cass' Decontee Smith announces her commitment to Northern State women's basketball program

The 5-foot-8 forward averaged 13.6 points per game for the Squirrels as a junior last season and earned all-state honors as a sophomore in 2020-21

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Central Cass' Decontee Smith goes up for two against Northern Cass during their North Dakota Class B, Region 1 girls basketball game Friday, Jan. 29, at Northern Cass in Hunter. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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CASSELTON, N.D. — Central Cass senior Decontee Smith has announced her commitment to continue her academic and basketball careers at Northern State University.

The 5-foot-8 forward averaged 13.6 points per game for the Squirrels last season along with five rebounds and 2.8 assists and earned all-state honors as a sophomore in 2020-21.

Smith announced her commitment on social media Wednesday night.

Smith told The Forum that her recruiting process really began last summer when schools started reaching out to her while playing Amateur Athletic Union hoops.

"I've played AAU all through high school and a little through middle school and a couple of colleges contacted me last summer," Smith said. "Northern State started contacting me this summer. We talked for a little bit, I went on a visit and I fell in love with the campus.

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"I made my visit around the first week of August and then after my visit that night — I think it was 10:30 (p.m.) or almost 11 and I called (Northern State head coach Paula) Krueger and said, 'I'm ready to come here.' "

Under Krueger, the Wolves have accumulated an overall record of 175-184 over four seasons. The school, located in Aberdeen, South Dakota, competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference at the NCAA Division II level.

Smith said NSU's campus, facilities and people all played a role in her decision.

"I thought the campus was just really gorgeous," Smith said. "We go out there for a team camp every summer and we always get to see the gym and what the gym look like and it's gorgeous. But when I went around and saw everything, I was like, 'This is really awesome.' The people here are great and the coaches are great."

Central Cass head coach Jay Bachman said his star forward has worked diligently to get to this moment.

"Decontee has worked hard for a long time and deserves to go to a great a school to continue her education," Bachman said. "Northern is getting a good student, a great ball player, and an even better person. I am so happy for her and know she will do great at the next level."

Smith said she hopes to study criminal justice, political science and government at NSU.

Before she gets there however, Smith is hoping her senior season at Central Cass is a special one.

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"Playing on Central Cass' basketball team has meant so much to me," Smith said. "Because at a young age, Coach Bachman has had so much faith in me and being able to just play out there every single night as a youngin to now has just been a big blessing. This final season is going to mean a lot to me just because I've been in this program for so long. It's just going to be a big deal for me because it's my last season playing high school basketball."

Ryan Spitza joined The Forum in December 2021 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Marquette, Mich., a city of 20,000 on the southern shore of Lake Superior. He majored in multimedia journalism and minored in public relations at Northern Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in May 2019. While attending college, Spitza gained real-world experience covering high school and college athletics for both The Mining Journal and The North Wind.

Spitza can be reached at 701-451-5613 or rspitza@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryspitza.
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