Hot-shooting Century downs Shanley to reach 3rd title game in 4 seasons
The Patriots downed Shanley 86-45 Saturday in the state semifinals at Bismarck Event Center.
BISMARCK — Bismarck Century has been a mainstay in the Class A state girls basketball winners bracket over the last decade. The Patriots lost in the opening round last year, something the storied program hadn't done since 2014.
On Saturday, Century proved last year was only a hiccup.
After an 86-45 semifinal win over Fargo Shanley in the state semifinals Saturday, the Patriots ensured their program's dominance over Class A girls basketball won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
Century steamrolled its way to the state championship for the third time in four seasons. The Patriots have won five state titles and with Saturday's win, earned eight title game appearances since 2010.
"It feels great. Real proud of these girls," Century head coach Ron Metz said. "I love that they get the opportunity to play in this. We work all season one game at a time, but the ultimate goal is to be playing in the last game of the year."
No. 1 West seed Century will play East No. 1 seed Fargo Davies (24-2) for a state title at 1 p.m. Sunday in Bismarck. The Patriots are entering Saturday's championship with an undefeated 25-0 mark.
Their perfect record was never in jeopardy Saturday. The Patriots used a dominant opening to set the tone. They dictated the first 18 minutes with an up-tempo style of play and never took their feet off the gas.
It took less than six minutes for Century sophomore Logan Nissley to reach double digits. She drained her fourth 3 to tally her 12th point and give Century a quick 23-11 lead with 12 and a half minutes remaining.
Shanley couldn't keep up with Century's execution. Century drilled 11 3-point baskets to build a commanding 37-13 lead with five and a half minutes left that it kept stretching.
"The girls did things that we knew we needed to do to have success today," Metz said. "It just got crazy how one person was making a couple and everyone else then got confidence with their shots. It was pretty amazing the way they shot the ball. Hopefully we bring that confidence and execution tomorrow, because we’re gonna need it against Davies."
Nissley went 6-for-9 from 3-point range (67%) as she dropped 20 first-half points and pulled down four rebounds.
Mo Hakim shouldered Shanley's scoring load and attempted to chip away at Century's lead, but the hot-shooting Patriots' margin kept mounting. They grabbed a 47-21 halftime lead.
Century delivered on both sides of the ball. The Patriots were solid in the paint to limit second-chance opportunities for Shanley while forcing 24 Deacons turnovers.
Both sides knew who they were up against. From 2015 to 2017, the teams met at all three state tournaments — in the semifinals once and championship twice. The Deacons edged Century all three times.
"For a stretch there, we were playing Shanley every year," Metz said. "Tough battles with them. We’ve had Devils Lake now for a few years and tough battles with them.
"We’re just glad we’re in this situation and we’re getting that opportunity. We knew it was gonna be a tough one tonight with what they were gonna be able to do. We’re just so happy with how the girls came out and executed tonight."
Century senior Julia Fitterer put up eight unanswered points early in the second half to push her team's lead to 59-23. The onslaught continued throughout the second frame, with the Patriots mounting a 41-point lead 13 minutes in. Fitterer finished with 14 points.
Bergan Kinnebrew tallied 11 points and Jocelyn Julson added 10 to help fuel Century's offensive output.
Hakim didn't come away with the win, but her last game in the Shanley jersey was one to be proud of. She was Shanley's only double-digit scorer and nearly registered a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Half: Bismarck Century 47, Fargo Shanley 21
BC: Nissley 24, Fitterer 14, B. Kinnebrew 11, Julson 10, Anderson 6, Fletcher 5, A. Kinnebrew 4, Rush 4, Fridley 3, Clarke 2, Mattern 2, Lee 1.
FS: Mo Hakim 15, Srejma 5, McNeally 4, Busek 4, Shorma 4, Mattern 3, Hoedl 3, Mevold 2, Mesiku Hakim 2, Burd 2, Stockmoe 1.