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Murray lifts Killdeer over Thompson in Class B girls semifinals

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MINOT, N.D.—Senior forward Trae Murray brings a gritty edge to the basketball court, and in a game like Friday's semifinals at the North Dakota Class B girls state tournament, no Cowboy showed more true grit than Murray.

The six-foot senior forward scored 14 points, grabbed eight rebounds and drew a critical charge with 14 seconds left to lead Killdeer to a 48-47 win over Thompson Friday and a berth in its state title game.

With Killdeer clinging to a 44-43 lead, Murray got Kaia Sorby on charging call on a drive to the basket. Bridgette Reiss followed that up with four free throws down the stretch as the Cowboys hung on despite making just 9 or 23 free throws. Reiss was 4-for-4.

"We shot free throws this morning," said Reiss, who finished with 10 points. "We needed to calm down and show them Killdeer was a team that knew how to make free throws."

Reiss did. The rest of the Cowboys were 5-for-19 from the line, including an 0-for-9 showing to start the game.

In the end, it came down to making the plays that aren't the most fun to make, like taking charges. Murray said coach Ashlee Viveros rewards her team for making the tough plays.

"Our coach ... whenever we draw a charge we get ice cream," Murray said. "I draw a lot of charges. You just step up and take it. They hurt but pain is temporary."

So were the shooting woes that plagued each team early. The Cowboys got shots and missed them, while Thompson committed five turnovers in the first quarter. They exchanged baskets down the stretch and Thompson took its first lead 10-9 on Kailen Dolleslager's basket with :42 left.

But Killdeer (22-4) went back on top when Bridgette Reiss drained a 3-pointer with three seconds to play for a 12-10 advantage.

In the second quarter, Thompson (22-4) had six shots on one possession to tie the game or go ahead and missed all six chances. Killdeer came right back and missed on six shots before Chenneth Morlock missed two free throws on the seventh try.

Thompson started the second quarter 0-for-7 before Brittney Munson's 3-pointer made it 13-12. It was Thompson's first 3-pointer of the tournament. Killdeer was 0-for-10 before Sydney Anderson's layup with 3:09 left gave the Cowboys the lead. But her missed three throw was Killdeer's fifth miss of the quarter. The Cowboys were 0-for-9 from the line until Murray ended that streak with 1:49 left in the half.

Just as it had in the first round, Killdeer swooned in the third quarter. Kailen Dolleslager scored 10 of her 16 points in the third quarter and Killdeer had eight turnovers. Thompson went up 33-28 but Murray ended the quarter with a basket that snapped the Cowboys out of the funk.

"Tonight's game was a lot like last night for Killdeer. They're opponents make runs at them but they have an answer. They're just a great team that knows how to finish," Thompson coach Jason Brend said. "It was just something we expected, when knew how to respond," Reiss said.

Sydney Andersen had nine points and 12 rebounds for Killdeer.

Mackenzie Hughes had 12 points for Thompson, which got a layup as time ran out by Taylor Zak to make it a one-point game. Zak had eight points and seven rebounds.

K 12 21 30 48

T 10 17 33 47

K (22-4): Murray 6 1-2 14, Andersen 3 3-8 9, Morlock 0 0-2 0, Hansen 2 1-4 5, Reiss 2 4-4 10, Kling 1 0-0 3, Bang 0 0-0 0, Larsen 2 0-3 4, Four Bears 1 0-0 3. Totals: 17-46, 9-23.

T (22-4): Sorby 2 0-0 2, Hughes 5 0-0 3, Jordheim 1 0-2 2, Zak 4 0-0 8, Dolleslager 6 4-4 16, Nistler 1 0-0 2, Munson 1 0-0 3, Herbert 0 0-0 0, Ness 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-50, 4-6.

3-point goals: K 5-16 (Murray 1, Reiss 2, Kling 1, Four Bears 1), T 3-12 (Hughes 2, Munson 1). Total fouls: K 9, T 19. Rebounds: K 32 (Andersen 12, Murray 8), T 38 (Jordheim 10, Dolleslager 9, Zak 7). Assists: K 10 (Hansen 3), T 15 (Sorby 4, Zak 4). Turnovers: K 13, T 17.