Watford girls are back to their winning ways
By Neal A. Shipman
Watford City’s girls basketball team rebounded quickly after suffering their first loss of the season by picking up two big wins. The Wolves knocked off Minot Bishop Ryan, a perennial Class B power, 76-66, on Dec. 22, and then bested Dickinson High, a Class A team, 54-44, the following night to take a 5-1 season record into the Christmas break.
The Wolves won’t be back on the court until Saturday, Jan. 9, when Watford City begins a six-game home stretch starting with the Hazen Bison.
Watford City 76, Bishop Ryan 66
Mackenzie Sparby had her break-out game of the season on Monday night as the 5’10” junior center went on a 31-point scoring spree to pace the Wolves to a 76-66 win over the Minot Bishop Ryan Lions.
“Mackenzie Sparby had her best game of the season as she was very aggressive on both ends of the court,” stated John Zenz, Wolves’ head coach. “She had a season high 31 points and 10 rebounds, including seven offensive boards, and she shot seven of nine from the free-throw line.”
The Wolves took control of the game early in the first quarter, leading the Lions, 20-15, at the end of the first quarter of play. But Bishop Ryan would battle back in the second quarter to draw to within a two-point deficit, 41-39.
“Ryan shot extremely well from the perimeter making eight three-point shots in the first half,” stated Zenz. “One of the adjustments we talked about making at halftime was closing out better and defending the outside shot.”
Watford City would continue to hold the lead for the remainder of the game as the Wolves upped their lead to five points, 61-56, at the end of the third quarter, before taking the 10-point win.
“We did a better job in the second half limiting Ryan to only four three- point shots made.”
Joining Sparby in double figures for the Wolves was Ricki Lindley and ReiAnn Lindley with 13 and 10 points, respectively, while Katie Mogen ended the game with eight points.
Also scoring for Watford City was Lea Arndt with five points, Krystal Wold with four points, Avery Sundeen with three points and Kaytlyn Grimes with two points.
For the game, the Wolves shot 54 percent from the field, hitting on 22 of 41 attempts, while making six of 19 three-point attempts. At the free- throw line, Watford City made 14 of 17 attempts for 82 percent.
Watford City 20 41 61 76
Minot Ryan 15 39 56 66
Watford City 54, Dickinson High 44
Watford City’s varsity girls basketball team got a look at their future competition when they transition to Class A sports as the Wolves took on the Class A Dickinson High Midgets on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
And the Wolves liked what they saw. Not only could they compete against a Class A opponent, they could beat them.
Behind very balanced scoring the Wolves led the Midgets, 26-21, at halftime, thanks to an 8-1 scoring run.
“We kind of struggled through this one and certainly didn’t play our best basketball,” stated Zenz. “Before the game and after the game, we talked about being more consistent. We did not play with the same intensity that we had the previous night, made too many turnovers and didn’t shoot very well from the free-throw line.”
Katie Mogen turned in a stellar performance for the Wolves as she netted a game-high 19 points to lead both teams in scoring.
Watford City kept the pressure on Dickinson in the second half as the Wolves forced turned several Midget turnovers into easy baskets to slowly build on their lead.
“Our pressure bothered them and we forced them into quite a few turnovers, but unfortunately, we didn’t always take advantage of the opportunities as we turned the ball over 15 times in the first half,” stated Zenz. “In the second half, Dickinson made a run at us and tied the game up at 31 each. We missed a lot of free throws down the stretch to keep the game closer than it could have been.”
But Watford City would rally in the second half to pick up the big win, 54-44.
Also scoring for Watford City was Ricki Lindley and Kaytlyn Grimes with eight points each, Mackenzie Sparby with seven points, Alli Mogen with six points, ReiAnn Lindley with four points, while Avery Sundeen and Krystal Wold ended the game with one point each.
For the game, Watford City hit on 19 of 36 from the field, while making one of 10 three-pointers. At the free-throw line, the Wolves made 13 of 31 attempts.
Watford City 26 54
Dickinson High 21 44