Corey's Corner 1/10

Posted 1/10/18 (Wed)

               Basketball, more so than any other team sport, can be a game of individuals. Of course, you need team cohesion and ultimately one person can’t win the whole thing for you. But hoops absolutely provides an avenue for one player to really take over a ball game. And we saw plenty of incredible individual performances this last week on BEK.

               First up, the Mandan Braves crossed the river to take on St. Mary’s. And the Braves have a few different guys capable of taking over a game. This time, it was Trae Steckler. 17 points in the first half provided a dominant showing for the Mandan senior, and put the Braves up for good. Cam Steckler and Elijah Klein were great, as were Trey/Jaxton Weist. But it was Trae who spearheaded the effort. He finished the game just shy of the all-time Mandan scoring record. He’d get it the next day in Belcourt. Meanwhile, the Saints had a tough matchup in the Top 5 Braves. In this one Luke Kambeitz was the leading scorer, doing nearly all the offensive work for St Mary’s. Cole Gendreau did his thing, but in this one the Braves would take the lead from the word go.

               We keep it in the WDA and in Bismarck as the Leagcy Sabres take on the Dickinson Midgets. The Midgets lost 10 seniors from last year’s group, making them one of the newest squads in the Western half of Class A. Meanwhile, the Sabres returned some key cogs, including Jason Hoekstra. The senior guard is the facilitator of the offense, and it hummed in this one. There really wasn’t one massive scorer for Legacy, as they got strong outings from Hoekstra, as well as; Braxton Erhardt, Devin Beck, and Austin Wolf. Wolf and Beck specifically lead a three point effort that will go down as one of the best this year. Legacy shot well over 50% in the early going, and didn’t slow down. The outside onslaught gave little chance for Dickinson to get going. Krew Mathern and Martin Lopez each eclipsed double figures, but the Sabres proved too much. Legacy, particularly when they shoot like this, has a chance to make their bid for a State spot out of the WDA.

               Now we step away from Class A as Richland and LaMoure took the floor for a doubleheader. The girls were up first, and the Loboe squad got off a fast start and decided the result earlier. A 25-4 opening salvo by Jackie Meiklejohn and LLM put it out of reach early for a young Richland team. Ellie Holen also did some great work in the first half, and Anna Holen controlled the second half to ensure there would not be a Richland comeback.  After that first punch, the Colts managed to find their footing a bit as Megan Roob got going. But the Loboes had their lead. And they showed why they’re deserving of the top 5 ranking they have in the state.

               Meanwhile, the boys game was much tighter. A pair of undefeated teams went at it in an out of region game that nevertheless showcased some strong effort and great players. For Richland, Cole Myers runs quick and keeps the offense running quicker. Even as Gavin Reiland was just shy of double-digits in just the first half, it was Myers who got the Colts going. Not right away though, as LaMoure got out to an 18-8 lead. Jamison Kramer would be the biggest reason why, and Shay Ness would take over down the stretch in the opening verse. Still, Richland came galloping back with a 11-4 run, and we were in a dead heat basically the rest of the way. Myers continued to shoulder the load in the second half, as Richland saw big time buckets from Hunter Lentz and Carter Lingen. Meanwhile, it became the Alex Klever show for Lamoure-LM. The guards shaped this game in a big way, except very late. In the final few minutes, it was the big guy John Haverland who became an unstoppable force for Richland. Zach Wulfekuhle got a score too, and Richland came away with the 57-52 win. They moved to a 7-0 start to the year and put up a great game. A fun one came to an end.

               Luckily, we had another thriller just a couple days later down in South Dakota as Leola-Frederick took on Herreid-Selby. Last year when the Titans were on BEK, they put on a show that was capped off by a full-court buzzer-beater by Michaela Podoll. The Titans would once again dazzle the cameras, but the Wolverines didn’t make it easy. At first, it was all LF. They scored the first 12 points of the game and seemed like they’d control it throughout. But this Regional rivalry has produced some great games, and this would be no exception. A 13-3 run by Herreid Selby, led by Charlie Tisdall, put the Wolverines right back in it. The game turned into a three-point contest with Tisdall hitting three in the first half, and Madalynn Schumacher right behind her with two. Meanwhile, Keely Podoll had four for the Tians, eclipsing Michaela Podoll’s two. Again: all in the first half. Keely also did some great work rebounding, and was the Titans’ go to weapon in the first half. Though Cassandra Hinz remained steady as ever, putting together two good halves of basketball. It was a back-and-forth affair, as Tisdall gave way to Riachel Fiedler for the Wolverines, and Abby Berreth emerged for the Titans. Those two had a Clash of the Titans, and at the end of the 4th quarter we were deadlocked at 46. Tisdall and company had a shot at the end of regulation, but couldn’t get it to go. And the overtime period was all Leola-Frederick. Cassandra Hinz made it 4.5 quarters of strong basketball. And her game sealing shot came off an unreal pass by Michaela Podoll. A no-look pass right down the baseline drew the road fans to their feet, and the Titans emerged victorious. The two squads had identical records coming in, and were separated by just .4 seed points. So a pivotal swing goes in favor of the Titans.