MONTICELLO — Fordyce used an absolutely suffocating defense to make sure its season didn’t end on Thursday night.
The Redbugs held Bismarck to just three points in the first quarter and never looked back as they defeated the Lions, 69-26, in the 3A Region 4 Tournament at Drew Central High School.
The win means the Redbugs (13-7) advance to the regional semifinals — where they will face Drew Central at 5:30 p.m. today — and qualifies them for the 3A state tournament.
“I thought we came out and played real hard on defense,” Fordyce coach Stan Jones said. “I thought our pressure really hurt them.”
The Redbugs’ pressure led to several Lions’ turnovers that Fordyce converted into layups.
“When you make easy shots like that the offense comes easy,” Jones said. “Anytime you can pressure and get stops that makes it all better.”
In the opening quarter, second-seeded Fordyce had five players score as many or more points than third-seeded Bismarck did as a whole.
Junior Ariyon Sumler, who scored a game-high 21 points, had seven in the quarter. Senior Bobby Hentz had six of his 13 in the period.
The Redbugs didn’t let up much in the second quarter despite some foul trouble. Fordyce outscored Bismarck 15-11 in the period to take a 39-14 halftime lead.
The large lead presented Jones with a quandary of sorts regarding resting his starters.
“You got to play them,” he said. “My philosophy at this time of the year, and really any time, is you almost have to get the mercy rule.
“A 20-point lead is not a whole lot with the three-point line.”
Even still, Jones couldn’t help but think about today’s game against a Drew Central team that not only will be playing at home but also had Thursday off.
“Yes, definitely,” Jones said when asked if the Pirates had an advantage. “They have legs.
“That’s why I pulled my starters a little earlier than usual.”
Jones thinks his team should be able to handle playing back-to-back nights.
“At this point every team is in shape,” he said. “If you are not in shape at this time, then that falls on the coach.”
Tonight’s game with Drew Central will be Fordyce’s third meeting with the Pirates this season.
“They know what we do and we know what they do,” Jones said. “We beat them both times this year, and it’s hard to beat a team three times.
“The important thing, though, is that we already punched a ticket to next week.”
McGehee 42, Bismarck 38
MONTICELLO — When sophomore Shakyla Begnaud fouled out with about 5:30 left in the fourth quarter and only eight points, it looked as though the Lady Owls’ season might be over in the 3A Region 4 first round.
But second-seeded McGehee (14-8) persevered and hit just enough free throws to pull out the win over third-seeded Bismarck to qualify for the 3A state tournament.
“I actually think it was a blessing in disguise,” Lady Owls coach Karen Broughton said of Begnaud fouling out. “… It allowed me to play my ninth-graders and they stepped up big time.
“They handled the ball really well down the stretch.”
Taia Brown scored 12 to lead the Lady Owls, who finished 11 of 32 at the free-throw line (7 of 21 in the fourth).
Niesha Henry added 10 for McGehee, which advances to face Genoa Central at 4 p.m. Friday.
Logan Oestreich scored 15 and Jimmilee Smith added 14 to pace Bismarck, which held quarter leads of 11-7, 21-19 and 33-27.
Centerpoint 57, Drew Central 52
MONTICELLO — The Lady Pirates (11-13) saw their season come to an end on their home court in the first round of the 3A Region 4 Tournament.
The game was tied 10-10 at the end of the first before Drew Central, which got 11 points from Holly Williams, took a 25-20 halftime lead.
The Lady Pirates led 41-34 entering the fourth quarter, but the Lady Knights, who qualify for the state tournament, erupted for 23 points in the final period to earn the win.
Centerpoint held a 55-49 lead before Drew Central’s Cierra Gardner, who finished with 19 points, completed a traditional three-point play to pull within three.
Centerpoint’s Laiken Sorrells calmly knocked down two free throws — the final two of her team-high 16 points — with 14.5 seconds to go to set the final margin.
The Lady Knights, who received 12 points from Denby Jester and 10 from Megan Samuel, will take on Fordyce at 7 tonight.