Top-seeded Northern Cass powers by Garrison into state semifinals
The Jaguars overwhelmed the Troopers in three sets for their 14th straight victory.
BISMARCK — Senior Emma Lucas had a game-high 16 kills and junior Halle Crockett had nine kills, three aces and two blocks as No. 1 seed Northern Cass took care of business against Garrison, 25-16, 25-9, 25-10, in opening round action of the state Class B tournament on Thursday.
"Our goal was to come out and go hard," Northern Cass head coach Angie Johnson said. "We knew it could be a three-set match if we came out and played our game, so I'm pleased how we came out aggressive and played as a team."
The Jaguars are 35-1-1 after the win.
"We watched a little film on Garrison," Johnson said. "But film is nothing like the real thing. We talked to them about what they were probably going to do, but we needed to make sure to be ready for anything. When we figured out their defense and how they played, we were able to switch our game plan a little bit and continue to be aggressive."
Northern Cass turned in a strong defensive effort from start to finish.
"We work on defense every single day because defense wins games," Johnson said. "We had a couple plays in the beginning where we weren't really ready for the ball to be hit at us, but when we got a feel of what Garrison was putting out there, we had that mindset of going for everything."
The Jaguars’ block, a tough nut to crack, was at its best in the second and third sets after a slow start in the first set. Northern Cass finished with a tournament-high 12 blocks.
"We always focus on blocking," Johnson said. "We're a taller team, so this week in practice we really focused on blocking and expecting contact and if you're going to go up to block, you expect to block the ball. They did a great job of getting to wherever the ball was, and then putting up a good wall and our defense lined up around it."
A second set where Northern Cass started on a 5-0 run got out of hand quickly. The Troopers closed to within 6-3, but the Jaguars strung together a 7-0 run to squelch Garrison's hopes of putting together enough points to make a challenge and make it 13-3.
Northern Cass scored 19 of the first 22 points of the third set, leading both teams to go to their benches.
"The girls from the bench did a great job of coming in and going hard too," Johnson said. "They stepped right in and played great. It's important to get the girls in because they're at every practice the starters are at, so getting them in and getting them the feel for the state tournament so that they want to achieve the same thing next year.
"I have a strong bench, so I'm very grateful for that. Anybody on the bench could come in and be a starter on the court."
Northern Cass 3, Garrison
Garrison – Kills: Karli Klein 5, Coryssa Behles 3, Josie Westman 2, Madelin Hurt 1, Naia Alvarez 1, Jylianne Striha 1. Aces: Klein 2, Alvarez 2, Kaitlyn Zook 1. Assists: Alvarez 9. Digs: Zook 11, Klein 10, Emily Schlehr 9, Alvarez 7, Striha 6, Mason Jessen 4, Behles 4, Hurt 3, Westman 1, Cara Schlehr 1. Blocks: Behles 1, Alvarez 1.
Northern Cass – Kills: Emma Lucas 16, Halle Crockett 9, Eleise Sand 6, Josie Jensen 3, Makensie Anderson 2, Gretta Ebertowski 1, Jocelyn Aasen 1. Aces: Crockett 3, Noelle Erickson 2, Allie Slinger 1. Assists: Erickson 18, Ebertowski 12, Addy Rust 3, Abby Richman 1, Crockett 1, Jensen 1, Sand 1. Digs: Crockett 22, Lucas 13, Richman 10, Ebertowski 7, Slinger 6, Erickson 6, Jensen 3, Anderson 3, Rust 1, Cady Evenson 1, Addy Winterquist 1, Sand 1. Blocks: Jensen 4, Crockett 2, Anderson 2, Sand 2, Ellie Lucas 1, Aasen 1.