BISMARCK, N.D. - With hockey and gymnastics finishing last week, next up on the state tournament calendar is class B girls basketball. Grant County will be representing Region 5 this season.
The Coyotes beat Shiloh Christian for the title last Thursday. The win breaks the Skyhawks state tournament streak, and Grant County improves its record to 21-3.
"Just a great experience for these kids to get back to the state tournament because not everybody get to experience something like this. Four years ago we were there so it's great for these kids to get that opportunity. Get back there and show what we got," said Grant County’s head coach Nicole Bentz.
After the win over Shiloh, the Coyotes top two point producers pointed to the other end of the floor as the important reason for the win.
"We have a really young team and so playing an intense defense the entire game and finishing well has been a real struggle for our team but we finally got it down in this last tournament," said Taylor Roehl.
"We just need to play our good defense like we did tonight, play tough, box out and then after that our offense just comes to us and we can go from there and get our transition going and just our whole team will come together by then,” mentions Alexis Bentz. And “by then” is Thursday’s first round at state. Grant County will play the no. 3 seed in the second game of the day.
Park River-Fordville-Lankin is the Coyotes opponent. The first game at the Alerus Center is Kindred against Edgeley-Kulm-Montpillier.
North Star is the no. 1 seed and that’s who the Bearcats will play at 6:30 CT. We’ll have more with Glen Ullin-Hebron later this week. Watford and Our Redeemer’s are the 4 and 5 seeds.
One of the benefits of being around the tournament for a while is getting to see familiar names and families carrying on a tradition in high schools across the region. The Bentz family from Elgin is a good example to use right now.
Nicole is the Grant County head girls basketball coach. She had two daughters play for the Coyotes the last time they made it to state. Last week, Ashley and Sydney were in Mandan for the Region 5 title game.
"Toward the end actually I saw them looking at me and giving me the look that we're going to state and it just ment a lot to me. Wearing this jersey it was my older sister's jersey and the feeling is so indescribable it's just great to actually to get to that moment in our career and where we needed to be and where we set our goal to be all year," said Nicole
"It's awesome! Awesome to have my kids here watching their sister do the same thing that they did four years ago carrying on a tradition that we've established not only in our family but in our school so wonderful for these kids,” said Nicole.
And just to take one more step in the family tradition, Terry Bentz is the Coyotes athletic director, principal, and Nicole’s husband.
The girls B begins in Grand Forks on Thursday.