Year End Recap 2016-2017

Posted 3/20/17 (Mon)

The 2016-2017 Fall and Winter sports season has come to a close.  Between August 13th and May 8th roughly 200 games aired on the BEK Broadcasting Network.  That’s a lot.  It would be possible but not very fun to recap every one of those games, so instead I have for you a best of the best list from the year that was on BEK.

Football: Wyndmere-Lidgerwood vs. Hankinson-September 2nd, 2016

Three weeks into the 9-man season I got to see an OT thriller in Hankinson.  Both teams would eventually go on to make the playoffs though their styles of play could not have been more different.  The Pirates were all about defense; keep the opponents off the field, off the board and grind in a few TD’s.  The Warbirds had the ability to score in a hurry and were held under 33 points once all year.   As you may have guessed, that was this game.   No one scored in a first quarter that featured three turnovers, but on the first play of the second Wyatt Harles rumbled in from two yards out to put the visitors on the board and the two-point conversion made it 8-0.  The equalizer came with 3:05 left in the first half on a 4th and 19 when Mason Falk dropped one in the bucket to Cody Mauch, eventually tying the game at eight.   The second half mirrored the first. WL getting an early score plus two, and the pirates answering late to tie and send the game to OT.    In the extra session both teams scored, Hankinson first, and the Pirates stayed perfect on two-point attempts.  To force a second OT the Warbirds had to complete the two pointer, and at the end of a perfectly executed reverse corner fade the WR tripped and the ball fell incomplete.  Pirates won 24-22.

Honorable Mention: Wyndmere-Lidgerwood vs. Shiloh Christian

As fate would have it we would see the Pirates and the Warbirds again in the post-season against Shiloh Christian at Miller Field in Bismarck.  Neither of the Region I teams got a win but both played great games.  With a banged up QB Scott Strenge dug down deep in his bag of tricks and the team executed a bunch of them to perfection to go up 27-6 on the favored Skyhawks.  I remember seeing Shiloh head coach Funnon Barker and his staff staying on the field and talking for almost the entire half.  They weren’t in the locker room long before the Skyhawks ran back out on the field, and whatever they said (or didn’t say) worked like a charm.  Shiloh Christian roared back and eventually won the game 46-41.  An admirable effort from an underdog Warbird team was cut short by one of the most incredible comebacks you’ll ever see. 

Volleyball: LaMoure vs. Carrington (Region III Championship)-November 10th, 2016

I thought it would be very tough to tell if the best two teams in the tournament made it to the final game.  With so much talent in the region there were four or five matchups that would have been not just possible but believable.  However, after watching the entire tournament and watching the championship game I believe the top two teams went at it.  Carrington and LaMoure.  The defending state champions versus a team who they beat and had been beaten by already during the season.  Two outside hitters in Anna Holen and Maara Nelson who had dominated nearly every set of the tournament.  Two setters in Jackie Meiklejohn and Abigail Jarrett who had been putting hitters in perfect positons all week long and dynamic athletes all around the floor that have the ability to come up with huge kills, blocks, digs and take over sets. 

Sets one and two were split by fairly “easy” wins.  25-16 the Cardinals took set one and 25-13 the Loboes answered back in set two.  Then things got interesting.  Sets three and four could have been anybody’s and not too surprisingly they were split.  Again, Carrington took the first 25-23 and LaMoure the second 25-21.  Ellie Holen and Carmen Pederson played their best match of the tournament in the championship game, and in a scenario where you felt like the emergence of either player could have pushed their team over the top, the pair offset each other and kept the sets incredibly competitive.  So, not too surprisingly it came down to the fifth set.  The feeling that neither team should have their season end was back, but it was also all too apparent heading to the final frame that in about fifteen minutes someone’s season was coming to an end.   No one could pull away early.  Mistakes were at a minimum and seemingly every point was extended to four or more possessions.  A late run put the Loboes  at match point 14-13.  The Cardinals staved off two swings from Anna Holen off of the outside, but the third time was the charm.  Off the defense the ball sailed into the bleachers and sent the Loboes to state for the second straight year.

Honorable Mention: Langdon vs. North Star

#1 vs #2 in Region 4 featured two teams that won 51 games over the course of the season.  It also turned out to be a preview of the Region championship game.  While North Star picked up the regular season win in a four setter that could have easily gone five, Langdon Munich would get the last laugh with a 3-0 sweep in the championship to represent Region 4 at the state title game.

Boys Basketball: Red River vs. Minot-December 3rd, 2016

We closed the week with high school basketball in Minot.  The two-time defending state champs welcomed in Red River to open the season.  If you watched the game unaware of the time of the year you would have thought you were watching a state playoff game.  The tempo was incredible and neither team showed any sign of jitters or rust.  They simply ran fast and made plays.  Austin Slaughter finished with 22 and Mason Benefield had 16 and six for Red River.   For the home team Peyton Lamoreux was the most consistent hand finishing with 17, Justin Engg had 19, all of which came in the last ten minutes of the game, and Trevor Banks provided outstanding energy off the bench in addition to contributing nine points.  The quick start for the home team allowed them to take the season opener 89-75.  

Honorable Mention: White Shield vs. North Shore-Plaza

Coming in as underdogs White Shield started fast.  Fast is really the word that best describes this contest, maybe the quickest game we saw all season.  Yes, the tempo led to some turnovers and sloppy plays but you could tell both teams were putting it all on the line which made it a blast to watch.  White Shield battled back and won 75-62 versus a team they would see and take down again in the opening round of districts.

Girls Basketball: LaMoure vs. Carrington (District Five Semifinal)

Yes, the same two teams that made the list for volleyball are back on for basketball.  And it was the same cast of characters that led the charge on both sides.  The Cardinals ended the season ranked #6 in the state and beat the Loboes handily in the regular season.  But LLM always seems to find another gear when the post-season rolls around and it was apparent early in the first semi that they were there.  Anna Holen had 16 first half points and the LLM led by six at the break.  The lead was built to 12 before the end of the third quarter, but then Carrington found their groove.  McKenzie Johnson and Bella Hone made a huge difference off the bench and a strong fourth quarter from Haley Hewitt pulled Carrington within one with 15 seconds left.  With the ball on the baseling Carrington in-bounded and setup Jill Endres for the lay in which she sank to give the #1 seed the lead with seven seconds left.  Ellie Holen brought the ball down the floor and found Jackie Meiklejon who’s three at the buzzer rolled out, giving Carrington a bid in the district five championship game. 

HS Hockey: Minot vs. Century

These two teams met three times this season.  Every game went to OT.  The Magi faithful will not be pleased with me for picking the lone Century win of the three as the game of the year but it was indeed the most dramatic of the come backs (Though a close second place medal is given to the triple overtime battle in the WDA tournament).  What made the first game so wild was that of the three it was the most thoroughly dominated by Minot high.  The Magicians led 5-2 with 1:49 remaining in the third.  Century scored with 1:48 remaining in regulation and 3:11 left on a Minot high major penalty.  Thirty seconds later Casey Foss scored his second goal of the night to make it a one goal game and with 25 seconds left in the game Kirklan Irey scored to tie the game and eventually send it to OT.  Penalties plagued Minot in the last parts of the third, but it was Century falling down a man with roughly four minutes left in the first extra session.  But not even the 4-5 could slow down the comeback.  John Ashley flipped a puck towards center ice from behind the Century net and found the stick of Jake Yineman who roofed one on the forehand to give the patriots an incredible win.  It would be the first part of a three game rivalry series that culminated with a win by the Magi in triple overtime that put them in the WDA championship game.

Honorable Mention: Devils Lake vs. Fargo Davies

Devils Lake came on incredibly strong at the end of the year and this game may have pinpointed their turn around.  Davies beat the Firebirds 6-2 earlier in the season and the game bothered Devils Lake all year.  They got their revenge with a 2-1 win, and an effort that raised a lot of eyebrows in the EDC.  Devils lake outshot Davies 46-24 stayed hot the rest of the year to get a birth in the state tournament. 

College Hockey: Arizona State vs. Minot State University

I think the most exciting addition to our schedule this year was ACHA hockey.  Not only is the action good, but we are fortunate to have to of the best ten teams in the country right here in North Dakota in Jamestown and Minot State.  Another top ten team is Arizona State.  The Sun Devils entered their second weekend series with MSU ranked number six in the state and were the only team in the ACHA to have beaten the Beavers so far this season.  They are also the last team to have beaten Minot State in the MAYSA, back in 2014.  All of this was enough to create a freat environment at the new Pepsi Rink when the two teams squared off on January 27th.  Unfortunately for ASU, the Beavers fed off of the energy in a big way and scored three goals in two minutes and forty-five seconds.  ASU eventually settled down and played okay but the game was over early.  We saw on display just how good Minot State could be and why they eventually ended up with the #1 seed in the national tournament.

Honorable Mention: Jamestown vs. Minot State University-Series

This was year one for hockey at the University of Jamestown.  Head coach Dean Stork did an unbelievable job recruiting and got a hard working group competing at a high level and finishing at #7 in the ACHA polls.  Unfortunately for Jamestown and fortunately for everyone else in the leagues the Jimmies can’t compete in the national tournament in their first year of existence.  Their record ends at 20-10-3 and seven of their ten losses came versus #1 ranked Minot State.  One of their twenty wins however, also came against MSU in the home finale of the season.  All but one of the eight game season series were close, but the win signified the beginning of a rivalry that will be followed not just within the state but through the entire ACHA for many years to come.