Justin St. Ours/Daily Press
The Carney-Nadeau girls basketball team poses with its Division 4 district championship trophy after defeating North Dickinson Friday at Carney.
Justin St. Ours/Daily Press

The Carney-Nadeau girls basketball team poses with its Division 4 district championship trophy after defeating North Dickinson Friday at Carney.

By JOHN VRANCIC The Daily Press

CARNEY — Girls basketball was still played in the fall the last time the Carney-Nadeau Wolves were crowned district champions.

That all changed here Friday night as the Wolves defeated fourth-ranked North Dickinson 44-33 for their first title since 2006 when they were playing in Class D.

The victory sends the Wolves (20-4) to the regional tournament at Kingsford where they’ll face L’Anse (19-4) Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. (CDT). The Nordics, who beat the Wolves twice during the regular season, finished 20-3.

“It has been a while, which makes this feel extra good,” said Wolves coach Ken Linder. “We don’t know much about them (L’Anse), but we’re looking forward to it.”

Senior forward Sandra Boulton ended the scoring on a lay-in in the closing seconds.

The Nordics were within 34-32 with four minutes, 54 seconds left to play when sophomore guard Ashton Hord split a pair of free throws.

Sophomore center Tessa Wagner gave the Wolves a 36-32 lead on a 14-foot set shot, then raised the count to 38-32 on a six-foot jump shot on a pass from Boulton with 2:48 remaining.

“It was a scary feeling when they got within two points,” said Wagner. “We knew they liked to run the floor and could score in a hurry. They missed a few shots that could have tied the game. When we got the lead back up to six, we felt a little better about things. Although, it didn’t really feel like it was changing at all. The last couple minutes felt like an eternity. It definitely feels good to be going to the regionals.”

The Wolves led 30-23 following a putback by Wagner with 1:09 left in the third stanza.

Hord then sank a pair of gifters to bring the Nordics within 30-25 in the closing moments of the third and sophomore Kassandra Cary trimmed their deficit to three points by converting a steal into a fast break layup early in the fourth.

“We knew we had to get on Briana (Smith) and Ashton,” said Boulton. “We knew we also had to dominate on the boards so they couldn’t get their fast break going. Give credit to North Dickinson for what they did this year. We had to stay focused the whole game. We couldn’t let up.”

Only three players scored for the Wolves in this match-up with Boulton hitting 20 and Wagner adding 19. Play-making junior guard Haley Ernest got the remaining five points.

“This is about as good as it gets,” said Linder. “We kept the tempo where we wanted it to be. We just wanted to slow it down and set up in a half-court offense. Having the lead definitely helped us. We kept it at 5-7 points most of the game. They’re a high-pressure team. We wanted to keep our turnovers under 20. In the last two minutes, we were hoping we could hit at least half our free throws and get some stops. We knew if we did that, we’d be okay.”

Hord paced the Nordics with 11 points and sophomore forward Chrislyn Inglese had 10.

“We didn’t make our shots tonight,” said Nordics coach Kirk Mattson. “It was just one of those nights. We thought we could get back in it and had a couple good looks. We just couldn’t hit our shots. We did a good job on Tessa in the first two games. We knew she didn’t like going to her left, but she was able to go to her right quite a few times tonight. Give them credit. They’re a good team. Our season went very, very well. Our girls worked hard last summer. It’s hard for our seniors to have the season end tonight.”

Both teams struggled from the free throw line. The Wolves were 3-of-8 from the line, while Nordics hit just 6-of-16 gifters and 12-of-60 field goals.

C-N committed 18 turnovers and the Nordics had nine.

North Dickinson — 5 7 13 8 — 33

Carney-Nadeau — 4 14 12 14 — 44

NORTH DICKINSON (33) — Smith 3, Cary 2, Inglese 10, Hord 11, Lindholm 2, Clark 3, Ledzian 2; FTs: 6-16

CARNEY-NADEAU (44) — Ernest 5, Boulton 20, Wagner 19; FT: 3-8.