New Town Eagles salvage seventh place, beat Grant County 72-58

FARGO – It took six games, but this New Town girls basketball team can finally say it has won a game at the state tournament.

The Eagles placed five scorers in double figures and led comfortably throughout the second half to defeat Grant County 72-58 Saturday in the seventh-place game at the Class B state tournament at the Fargodome. The win kept the Eagles (24-3) from going 0-3 at the state tournament for the second consecutive season.

“We didn’t wanna go 0-6,” said New Town guard Taylor McGrady, the only senior in the Eagles’ regular playing rotation. “We wanted to get a last win together.”

Grant County couldn’t contend with the quick-strike capability of New Town’s offense. The Eagles went on runs of 9-0 and 11-0 in the first half en route to a 33-26 halftime lead.

Three minutes into the third frame, the Eagles got back-to-back layups from Baeleigh Brady and Jaye Two Bears to push their lead to 43-31. The Coyotes (21-7) never got closer than nine the rest of the way.

Brady finished with 13 points and Gabby Wilkinson added 12 and eight assists. McGrady and junior post Jasmyne Big Crow scored 11 apiece and Mia Wilkinson chipped in 10.

“It was nice to see the kids get back to what got us this far,” New Town coach Orville Drosdal said. “We had everybody score and distribute the basketball.”

Grant County had its best showing of the state tournament after losing its first two games by a combined 59 points.

“I think if we’d have just gotten some shots to fall, it would’ve been a little bit tighter game at the end,” Grant County coach Nicole Bentz said. “At least we were able to score and put in some shots, where the last couple games we couldn’t shoot the ball well. It was good to see that we came back and at least put in a better effort.”

Bentz’s daughters, senior Ashley and sophomore Sydney, had 15 points each to pace Grant County.

New Town will again be one of the favorites to win Region 8 next season, losing just McGrady and seldom-used reserves Viola Wise Spirit (who hit a 3-pointer Saturday) and Mariah Antell to graduation.

But for now, the Eagles are savoring their first taste of success at the state tournament.

“It’s awesome playing with these guys,” McGrady said. “It feels good to end it on a good note.”