Rugby advances to District 11 title game
The semifinal round of the District 11 girls basketball tournament has always been a stumbling block for Rugby, losing seven straight times heading into this year’s tournament.
The Panthers finally kicked that block out of the way.
The No. 3 Rugby outlasted No. 2 Bottineau 54-48 in double overtime on Friday, Feb. 12 in Drake to advance to the district tournament title for the first time since 2000. The Panthers had to win it with their top player – Crystal Hovland – on the bench.
Hovland who played a key role in the game, fouled out and could only watch from the sidelines. However, her teammates picked her up, giving Rugby its biggest win in several seasons.
In fact, the victory over the Stars, was the first for Rugby since the 2003 season.
Rugby will meet No. 1 Westhope-Newburg in the district championship on Feb. 15. The game was initially planned for Feb. 13, but a winter storm, forced the final three tournament games to be pushed back. Oddly enough, the last time Rugby reached the finals was against Westhope-Newburg. The Sioux won that game.
The semifinal win also secures a berth in next week’s region tournament for Rugby and will guarantee no worse than a No. 2 seed.