Corey's Corner 2/26

Posted 2/26/16 (Fri)

                Blowouts aren’t fun. But they are just a part of sports. Sometimes you have different levels of team going at it, and the matchup is just too far in favor of one squad on the floor. The hope is that the postseason gets rid of those matchups. But there are a lot of great teams in the state of North Dakota, and they are truly flexing their muscles here in the playoffs.

                But luckily for us, it wasn’t just basketball playoffs we had on the BEK Broadcasting Network. Oh no. We begin this recap in Minot, from the MAYSA Arena as the WDA was looking to send its four teams to the hockey state tournament. BEK began televising games on day 2, and the rivalry games came fast and furious. So it’s only appropriate we begin with the cross-town rivalry of Bismarck and Century. The Patriots and Demons met in the WDA Volleyball tournament here on BEK, and would run into each other again on the ice. The Demons were the second seed in the tournament behind Minot (if you want their games, check out the great work over on the Monday Morning Rewind.) Century has a young team, and has had an up-and-down season. On the other side of the coin, BHS has been one of the best teams in the state and has a scary combination of size, speed, shooting, and depth. They were looking to get some revenge on the reigning state champion Minot, who they would play in the tournament championship if they got by the Patriots. Wyatt Bonnell would be the netminder in the way of that dream. When he is great, Century becomes a better team. but today, he had a rough one. The shots that Bismarck were putting on frame were nearly unstoppable. There were some flat out unreal goalies in this tournament, and it doesn’t seem like any of them could’ve stopped the Demons on this day. TJ and Cullen Irey were pacing the offense, and the Demons as a whole simply put them upper 90 on the top shelf, right through the 5 hole, every which way they could score they did. BHS really slowed down Yineman and the first line of Century, and then the depth of the Demons could show itself throughout the game. So Bismarck was moving on to the championship, while Century had to play for their season.               

                But in that game, Wyatt Bonnell was fantastic. Century would be facing the Blue Jays of Jamestown, with everything on the line. The Jays were flat out one of the fastest teams in the tournament, but they couldn’t slow down the topliners of Century. The Patriots got out to big lead in this one, and the senior cageminder Bonnell was knocking away nearly every attempt by the Jays. Austin Rene did manage to use his speed to start a couple breaks down the ice and eventually cash in, but it wouldn’t be enough. Century would handle Jamestown, and move on to the Ralph for a chance at the ultimate prize: a state title.

                After a great weekend in the magic city, we returned back to the hardwood for some post-season hoops. The site of the regional tournament was in Jamestown North Dakota as the home of the Jimmies played temporary host to teams from Region 3. The first game saw the Imperials of Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter (#4 from D6) going up against the Carrington Cardinals (#1 from D5). But this one didn’t play out like your top vs. bottom seed. Not. One. Bit.

                 Napoleon had one of their best games of the year. Kate Long was pushing the ball down the floor in transition. Sometimes it was a turnover, but more often it was an opportunity for NGS to get a quick basket and catch Carrington out of defensive position. This is a Cardinals team that prides itself on its ability to stop the ball from going in the basket, and to get them out of that game for even a few possessions makes a huge difference. Add in the scoring of Kaylin Weigel and Kenzie Heflin, and the offense really seemed to be flowing for coach Lehr’s Imperials. Those two had a combined 13 at half. The production for the Cardinals came largely from Emerson Hoornaert (6 1st half pts), Ann Endres (8), and Kauri Hochhalter (6). The multi-pronged scoring would be big for both teams and so we were all locked up at 22 in the half.

                   The second half wasn’t all that much different. Carrington managed to get on an early run, then the Imperials were able to answer back. Then it was the Cardinals turn again, and they would get in the final run of this game. Napoleon would try to string together a few final possessions, but the late Carrington offense would prove to be too much (that would be a theme for the tournament) and so the Cardinals moved on and avoided the upset after getting the 42-35 win.

                    The second game of the day would see the Lamoure-Litchville-Marion Loboes going up against the Kidder County Pirates. Paige Schmidt and KC were coming off a tough loss in the district championship game to MPB, and so were hoping to turn things around in the regional tournament. The Loboes, meanwhile, were coming off a state qualifying win and hoped to make it two in a row.

                     Paige Schimdt was great in the district tourney, and that did not change in Jamestown. She had a crazy efficient first half, shooting 50% as well as going 4/6 from the free throw line. Bethany Rath and Grace Benz each notched 4 as well, while the Loboes offense went through Anna Holen. The difference? Three point shooting. Ellie Holen, Jackie Meiklejohn, Katrina Hoff, as well as Anna all hit a deep ball in the first half. That is a trend that would continue in the second 16 minutes for LLM, as they continued to make it rain from outside. Still, the Pirates continued to fight throughout the game and managed to generate offense to keep up. The 3rd quarter would be won bigtime by LLM, with the Pirates doing all they can to bring things back in the fourth. Our closest game of the tournament would come down to the last few possessions where the Pirates couldn’t find that last big shot. And so LaMoure-Litchville-Marion would advance to take on Carrington.

                     So: no blowouts so far. Two close games. That changed in the second part of Day 1 from Jamestown. The top-seeded Medina-Pingree-Buchanan Thunder are a great defensive team with a variety of scorers. Ellendale has a very good team themselves, but the Thunder would prove to be too much. Jordan Thomas and company found their offense early, getting past a strong Ellendale defense. The well rounded scoring of the Moldenhauers, Thomas, and point guard Brooke Krapp would prove to be too much. The Cardinals had a great season, but this is an incredible region, and so the top seed out of District 6 would be moving on. As the results would have it, they would be the only team from 6 to make it to the second day.

                     The Rebels of Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier were a second seed. But they have a roster worthy of a top seed. Their two six footers in Katie Entzi and Olivia Anderson change the game at this level. And they have both had a phenomenal year. The Mustangs of South Border have two great bigs of thier own, in Amy Jacobsen and Morgan Schnabel. Elizabeth Dalke and Brooke Buchholz managed to generate some offense as well throughout the course of the postseason, but in this one it was the physical nature of the Rebels that would allow them to take an early lead. They would not look back. Katie Schiele and Allison Giesler would round out the scoring and EKM would advance to take on the top seed MPB after a 53-40 win. South Border has a ton of talent returning next year and will be in the second year of Hall of Fame coach Gary Schauer, so there’s a lot to look forward to in Wishek and Ashley.

                      Off we go to day 2. The opener: the Carrington Cardinals and the LLM Loboes. This game was absolutely a tale of two halves. The first half was a defensive grind fest. A Carrington type of game, where defense would rule the day. Anna Holen and company couldn’t get past Carrington, but were able to contain the Cardinals on the other end of the floor. LaMoure lead at the break 16-14. This region has seen its fair share of games down in the muck, and this was another slugfest. For 16 minutes. Then it changed. Anna Holen kicked it into overdrive, as did the Carrington offense. 32 points later (that was just one quarter), we went to the 4th. Carrington more than doubled their score in just one quarter, and LLM nearly did the same. But if the 3rd quarter was lightly in Carrington’s favor, then the final stanza was Cardinal red. The biggest reason why: Kauri Hochhalter. She would finish the game 8/13 form the field, and couldn’t miss from deep late in this one. Neither could anyone else for Carrington. Maara Nelon was letting it fly as well, and the Birds might as well have thrown the ball in a hula-hoop. They didn’t miss, while LaMoure got a whole bunch of unkind bounces, and it really felt like they couldn’t buy a shot late. So the final margin of 51-34 is what will go down in the history books, but it was a much closer game throughout than that. So kind of a blowout, but not really. You know, the fun kind.

                      The next matchup was one I personally was looking forward to for a while. The MPB Thunder and their deep team vs. the well rounded and deeply skilled EKM Rebels. Halle Uehran going up against Olivia Anderson, over 12 feet between them. Jordan Thomas trying to stop the talented freshman Katie Entzi. Two of the best teams in the state on the floor, and only one could make it to the finale to try and earn a place in the state tournament. And the first quarter was as even as could be. MPB was up by 1 in a 14-13 game. Two fighters feeling each other out in the first round. Then Olivia Anderson really got going. Her domination at the free throw line would be felt all day (she would finish 8/8) and it allowed the Rebels to get out to a decent halftime lead of 24-18. Then the second half adjustments kicked in, and they were working out in favor of the defense. Halle Uehran reentered the game after missing most of the first half due to foul trouble, and that made a big difference on the defensive end. Add to that the stellar defensive play of her fellow sophomore Lauren Moser, and EKM would really struggle to find offense in the 3rd. They would have just three points. But luckily for them, MPB couldn’t find an offensive rhythm either. The grind-it-out nature of the game would continue in the 4th, as their would be just 16 points scored in the final stanza. And it would be the Rebels scoring the bulk of them. Allison Giesler would get it going, and finish 3 of 4 on the game. Katie Schiele and Katie Entzi would continue to make their presence felt as well with a combined 12 points on the night. Still, late in the game it was a one possession game and MPB called timeout. Coach Thielges drew up a play to tie it late. The inbound came and the passing worked its way to the far corner for freshman Amanda Allen. She let it fly, and it would not go. Fouls would ensue, but that was the last gasp for the Thunder to try and keep hope alive. They would fall to EKM 37-32. So Carrington and EKM would go on to play for the regional championship and a state tourney berth.

                     But they had an off day on Wednesday, so we headed to Valley City to resume our college season with the Valley City State University Vikings in the North Star Tournament. They would welcome in the Presentation College Saints, who were without junior Haley Froelich. She was the leading scorer in the nation at nearly 25 points a game, to go along with top 10 in overall points and top 25 in field goal percentage. Those type of numbers are almost impossible to replace, especially going up against the third seed in the tournament: a VCSU Vikings team that is on fire. They came in winning 4 of their last 6, and were 13-4 in the last 17 games. Coach DeVries had to integrate a very talented freshman class, and when she did the team went to new heights. The Saints got a good game out of Sydney Larson, Cora Lopez, and Klarissa Ayala. But the Vikings got a great game out of Georgia Williams, Courtney Dixon, and Lexi Lennon. After getting out to a big early lead, the Vikings saw the Saints battle back as both teams were just trading baskets. 31-19 read the 1st quarter score. 50 points in the first. Crazy right? And then the Saints lowered the deficit all the way down to 3, but then the timeout adjustments by coach DeVries and VCSU gave them the double digit lead right back. They would not look back. Their FG% was over 60 for a good chunk of this game, and that unbelievable shooting night catapulted them back to the second round of the North Star tournament, where they will play Dickinson State.

                    That was it for our college season, at least for now. So back we go to Jamestown for the 3rd place and championship games in Region 3. The first game would be between the MPB Thunder and the LLM Loboes. Both teams were coming off a tough loss to send them to the 3rd place game, and now they were looking to bounce back. Both teams experimented with some different lineups, especially LaMoure who saw some of their younger players on the floor for quality minutes. A low scoring game early, once again the trend of the tournament. In the late minutes, then out of the locker room, it was the sophomore Halle Uehran who simply could not miss. She put up a mid-range shot from just inside the arc, and when it went down the entire bench of the Thunder erupted. Then her continued offense gave way to the mid-range game of Madi Moldenhauer. She lit it up, and secured her team a 3rd place finish in her final game with MPB. Katrina Hoff lead the way down the stretch for LLM along with the Holens. But much like the day before, the key shots late wouldn’t fall. So Jordan Thomas, Brooke Krapp, and the Moldenhauers went out with a win.

                     And so we go to the championship game between the Rebels of EKM and the Carrington Cardinals. This one would start as a defensive battle once again. What points did come for Carrington came from Maara Nelson, who had all nine of the Red Birds first quarter points. For EKM, it was Olivia Anderson from the free throw line. She didn’t miss at all in the semifinal game, and in this one she started perfect as well. Her six points early all came from the stripe, and that was the go-to weapon early on. Carrington started to get on a bit of a run late in the 2nd, and so they would go to the locker room up 22-16.

                     Then the three point war started. Both teams came out of the locker room firing, and so the game in the muck all of a sudden became a fast paced shoot-out. Maara Nelson continued her post game throughout, and added a deep shot of her own. She lead the way with double-digits at half, and she stayed right on that pace. The sophomore Emerson Hoornaert was the Robin to Nelson’s Batman. Her jump shooting continued to pace the offensive attack of the Cardinals. Carmen Pederson did a good job down on the low block, as did Ann Endres and Jill Endres. For the Rebels, it was a move to the outside as well.  Allison Giesler found herself with some space from the arc, and took advantage. Katie Schiele was the primary ball-handler, and she directed traffic throughout. Katie Entzi hit an outside shot as well, but the Carrington outburst would prove to be too much. So Carrington advances to the state tournament with the Region 3 Coach of the Year Andy Braaten at the helm, with his 300+ wins. So our final games were great contests, and the state tournament will be razy. BUt now we shift over to the boys tournament. We delayed this recap to give you the final look at the girl's tourney, hope you enjoyed it!