Corey's Corner 1/31
Posted 1/31/18 (Wed)
With just about a week left before the high school girls start district play, the action takes on some added meaning as teams jockey for position and confidence headed into their postseasons. So let’s jump right in with a ton of basketball here on BEK.
We start it out with some boys hoops as the Kidder County Wolves (the most common team in this recap) took on the Mustangs of South Border in Wishek. A young South Border team ran into a difficult matchup: a team that can match their size. Alex Ruff had little room to work on the inside because of the Wolves ability to deploy four different six footers. And even though Ty Hanson was questionable coming into the game because of an ankle injury, there was no question by the end he was ready to go. Combining with another 20+ point game from Austin Schmidt (who averages over 20), the Wolves offense was firing on all cylinders. Chase Bader got on a couple nice runs for the Mustangs, but the Wolves proved to be too much. Kidder County continued their success in District 6 play.
For the weekend we bump it up to the college ranks as the Upper Iowa Peacocks made the North Dakota swing. First they were in Bismarck to take on the Marauders. UMary started out really strong, getting a versatile attack spearheaded by Jaylan White and Trevor Zacher. Wyatt Carr had a quick start as well, as the freshman made some big time shots in his second career matchup with Upper Iowa. UIU had plenty of free throw chances go by the wayside in the first half, and it allowed UMary to maintain control. But in the second half Carson Parker once again reminded just how he’s rewritten the record books at Upper Iowa. He wound up with 20-10, a double-double to lead the way. Munachso Okonkwo was right behind in double figures, and had a couple monstrous dunks. Upper Iowa erased the eight point halftime deficit, and all of a sudden it was the Marauders who needed to make a comeback. Zacher continued his strong day, as did Michael Gorder with a season high. But the big moment fell on Connor Hellebust. And he delivered. He hit the shot to seal the eight point comeback in the closing minutes for UMary. So we headed to overtime, where the momentum of Upper Iowa won out. Parker was simply playing too well, and got a ton of support to close it out for the Peacocks.
As it turns out, big second halves would be the bane of the weekend for the NSIC North Dakota teams. The Peacocks went up to the Magic City the next day, and we saw had a bit of déjà vu. The Beavers never got the big lead that UMary did the day before, but did have the emotional boost in the first half. Tyler Rudolph only needed three points to become the all-time leading scorer in MSU history, and he delivered. But overall, the UIU defense did a great job against this Minot State offense that is near the top of the league in scoring. More specifically, they did a good job of outscoring them. The best defense is a good offense right? Joe Smoldt lead the way from the outside, but in the second stanza Dennis Austin III was unstoppable. Luis Ricci Maia delivered a very strong shooting performance for the Beavers, and David Akibo got going late. But a 57 point second half by UIU would turn out to be too much, as they finished just shy of 100. Minot State shot the ball very well (as usual), but a 64% clip by the opposition is simply too good to overcome. Still, the Beavers are a team on the cusp of the Top 25 and have plenty of time to bounce back before the NSIC tourney.
Next we head to Steele as the #2 Medina-Pingree-Buchanan Girls took on a surging Kidder County team. Both squads have done a lot of winning lately, and it showed. The first few minutes were controlled by the favorite as Jaden Pollert really shouldered the load. For Kidder County, they're run came in the 2nd quarter. And they got contributions from everyone. Madelyn Schmidt lead the way with a couple threes, though she was matched by MPB's Amanda Allen. That mini outside war gave way to Megan Moser for MPB and Brittany Rath/Grace Benz for KC.
While Benz had a relatively quiet first half, she got going in the second. Benz shouldered the load when the offense seemed to slow and the game continued to take on a defensive look. Pollert continued to get it done on both ends and Halle Uehran racked up the rebounds. It was an Amanda Allen three that put the game out of reach. The contest never saw more than two or three scores of separation, but MPB held on and picked up the big time District W. The Region 3 picture gets a bit clearer, and the tournament continues to look better and better.
On the boys side, the Kidder County Wolves once again came out with a strong performance. The opponent was different, the result the same as earlier in the week. A multi-pronged effort by the Wolves got them out big early. Ty Hanson knocked in the first couple shots for the Wolves, and they never looked back. Justin Six wound up leading the way, basically putting up two double digit halves. Gage Pfaff and Isaiah Harter weren't too far behind. A young MPB team got some solid contributions from their youth in Michael Thomas and Alec Horn.