BISMARCK — A consistent plan to attack the basket by the Bismarck girls basketball team was rewarded frequently on Monday night.
The Lady Indians capitalized on a vast disparity of free-throw attempts, and withstood a final push from Valle Catholic to earn a 49-38 conference win.
Freshman Alyssa Sago continued to thrive for a squad plagued by injuries at the guard positions, finishing with a game-high 21 points.
Senior Jessica Sago produced 20 points and 12 rebounds in the post as Bismarck (6-4) converted 21-of-32 free throws compared to just 4-of-9 for Valle Catholic (4-7).
The Lady Indians created a 36-27 spread early in the fourth quarter. Jessica Sago forced in a leaner through two defenders, and Alyssa Sago completed a 3-point play five seconds later after swiping the inbounds pass.
Mackenzie Wipfler compiled 12 points and 13 rebounds, and highlighted an 8-0 response for the Lady Warriors after a delayed whistle forced her to sit with four personal fouls for three crucial minutes.
Colleen Brake rebounded a missed free throw for a key putback, and Wipfler slashed the Valle Catholic deficit to 38-37 with 2:28 to play by banking home a 14-footer from a sharp angle.
That tough shot was trumped by a highly improbable basket from Jessica Sago after Valle missed a pair of potential tying jumpers. Her twisting leaner along the right baseline gave Bismarck some breathing room at 42-38.
It was ultimately the spark in a larger 9-0 run to close the contest. Alyssa Sago added two insurance free throws when the Valle bench was assessed a technical foul during a timeout.
Bismarck overcame an 0-for-13 drought from 3-point range to prevail at home as both teams shot below 30 percent from the field.
The ability to avoid widespread foul trouble was paramount for the Lady Indians, who also relied on freshmen Savannah Tate and Brilee Henson for important minutes throughout the second half.
Valle trailed 20-15 at the intermission, but immediately surged by getting two inside baskets from junior Cassandra Moulton. Her interior feed to Maria Hermann briefly put the visitors ahead 23-22.
Bismarck answered with a 7-0 spurt, and led 29-23 when Alyssa Sago drove the lane for a left-handed layup.
A slow start for both teams left Bismarck holding a narrow 7-6 when the opening stanza concluded.
Valle Catholic 6 9 10 13 – 38
Bismarck 7 13 10 19 – 49
Valle Catholic – Mackenzie Wipfler 12, Cassandra Moulton 7, Colleen Brake 6, Maria Hermann 6, Lacey Marschel 3, Eva Rolfe 2, Nicole Kertz 2. 3-point FG – None. (FT: 4-9)
Bismarck – Alyssa Sago 21, Jessica Sago 20, Kaitlyn Loughary 2, Savannah Tate 2, Kallie Pearl 2, Brilee Henson 2. 3-point FG – None. (FT: 21-32)