Bismarck Century breaks tournament scoring record in dominant quarterfinal win over Wahpeton
The Patriots steamrolled their way into Friday's semifinals with a 101-51 win over Wahpeton at the Bismarck Event Center.
BISMARCK — Bismarck Century proved why it was the favorite coming into the North Dakota Class A girls basketball state tournament on Thursday.
The Patriots got off to a scorching start in their pursuit of a fourth state championship in five years, steamrolling their way into Friday’s semifinals with a 101-51 win over Wahpeton. Century’s 101 points are the most scored by a Class A girls basketball team in a game at the state tournament. The Patriots replaced the previous tournament scoring record set by Mandan in 2007.
“It's so exciting winning your first game,” Century senior guard Abby Fletcher said. “We said we were gonna come out strong and that’s what we did. It was a fun game.”
The 50-point victory is Century’s 49th straight win. The Patriots (23-0) haven’t dropped a game since March 12, 2020, a 62-54 loss to Devils Lake in the state quarterfinals.
“A lot of people talk about the pressure and the streak, but we don't really care about that,” Fletcher said. “We have to play it game by game and every game give the same amount of effort.”
Fletcher shot 75% from 3-point range (6 of 8) as she erupted for a team-high 23 points. She more than doubled her season-long per-game scoring average of 9.3 points. Century outscored Wahpeton 39-3 from the 3-point line.
“(Century head coach Nate) Welstad said to come out with a lot of effort and be confident,” Fletcher said. “Nerves are good, but you just have to let them go and give it your all.”
Century eclipsed the 100-point mark for the first time this season with a balanced offensive attack. The Patriots had four players finish with double digits in scoring and two with 20 or more points.
The Patriots will play third-seeded Bismarck High in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Friday.
Junior Logan Nissley finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and six steals. Bergan Kinnebrew added 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the floor and Zoie Austin had 11.
Top-seeded Century opened the quarterfinal game against No. 4 East seed Wahpeton (12-14) with six straight points. The Huskies responded with five unanswered points of their own on buckets from Emma Bontjes and Scout Woods. The Huskies hung around for the first 11 minutes, but things got ugly fast.
“We had to kinda get a feel for the game and get used to the environment again,” Fletcher said.
The Patriots went on a 17-0 scoring run that gave them a 36-13 lead they never stopped stretching. The advantage got as high as 27 points (47-20) in the first half when Fletcher snagged a steal and fed Nissley, who sank one from deep. Nissley is a two-time winner of the North Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year in girls basketball.
Century owned all 18 minutes of the second half. The Patriots overwhelmed Wahpeton with a stifling defensive effort that forced 29 turnovers. Century capitalized on the turnovers, generating 42 points from them.
Fletcher knocked down her fifth 3-pointer of the game 10 seconds into the second half to kickstart a quick 8-0 run out of the gate. Century’s lead continued to mount and got as high as 53 points at 99-46.
Wahpeton, which was limited to 25 points in the final frame, was led by freshman forward Woods’ 16 points and five rebounds. Woods made 6 of 7 free throws in the contest. The Huskies shot 76.2% (16 of 21) from the free-throw line.
McKena Koolmo added 10 points and Emma Bontjes had nine.