Thompson girls return to state; enter tourney as the top seed

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 6:50 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - In the Class B Region 2 girl’s basketball tournament, it was Deja-Vu all over again for the Thompson Tommies. Four years, four-straight championship game matchups against the Grafton Spoilers, with Grafton winning the first three. But this season, their northern neighbors would not be living up to their namesake.

“We came in, and we know what our goal was, it was to make it to the state tournament,” senior guard Olivia Dick said. “So we just worked hard, and we came together as a group and made those goals, and we just work harder to achieve them together.”

For the first time since 2019, Thompson got to run toward the region title trophy and punch a ticket to state instead of walking away from it.

“It’s almost like a relief,” senior forward Clara Stevens said. “It feels so well-deserved, Grafton’s such a tough team, and to be able to get a victory over them in such an important game means a lot. It means we deserved it, we worked for it, and we pushed each other to get there.”

So next, the Tommies begin their run at the state title this week, a ring that’s been so close after two semifinal appearances in 2018 and ‘19, but the pair of seniors get one more chance to make history in Thompson.

“None of us have been to a state tournament in basketball before, so I think it’s just a new feeling for everybody and we’re just really excited to do it together,” Dick said. “We always love spending time together. So, just getting to go to Minot, stay in a hotel, play a game that we all love, have a good time, we’re just excited for it.”

Now, it took quite the effort for the Tommies to get this far: a 22-2 regular season has Thompson clinching the number one seed for state, but the team says that their early December loss and one region blemish in February taught them a lot of humbling lessons on bouncing back.

“When we failed, we find ways to succeed or get better, and we don’t doubt each other,” freshman guard Kya Hurst said. “We just keep building each other up.”

“It was probably a blessing in disguise, because it opened our eyes a little bit, allowed us to reset and refocus and get back to the fundamentals and help us realize that if you don’t show up on any given night, you can get beat by a lot of good teams,” Thompson head coach Jason Brend said. “Once you get late in the basketball season, every team’s a good team, so you have to be prepared to play mentally and physically every night.”

Thompson opens up their stay in the Class B tournament on March 2nd, facing the Region 3 champion Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier in the Minot State Dome.