BISMARCK — One single word summed up the night for senior Mary Bass and the Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils — fun.
From start to finish, Bass and the Blue Devils had fun as they defeated the Westville Tigers 25-22, 25-15 in the IHSA Class 2A regional semifinals at Bismarck-Henning High School.
"I thought is was fun,'' said Bass, who had a match-high 15 kills. "I was pumped for this and I just wanted to make it to the championship match.''
And Bismarck-Henning (16-9) will be making their 14th consecutive appearance in a volleyball regional championship match. The last time, the Blue Devils didn't reach the regional championship was 1999.
"We just talked all night and we had fun as team. That's just the way that we played tonight,'' said Bass. "It's 100 percent easier when we are having fun.
"Because if we are not having run, we are probably yelling at each other and not talking. It's hard to play that way.''
The only yelling on Tuesday night were those of joy from the Blue Devils.
"It's been kind of a tough season for us, and they have been feeling a little pressure because of that,'' Bismarck-Henning coach Susan Kentner said. "We have been on them about enjoying the game and enjoying the sport. Tonight, they did and it made a huge difference.
"They were not playing with a weight on their shoulders. I think they just wanted to get to the regional championship.''
And once the Bismarck-Henning senior duo of Maddie Winkler and Bass got rolling, things quickly went downhill for Westville.
"We were just excited for this tournament and we're glad that we get to host regionals,'' Winkler said. "Mary Bass was on fire tonight. You have to give her the ball when she is on fire like she was tonight. She knows where to put it and it seems like she is always hitting the ball down.''