Class B state tournament concludes
By Jarann Johsnon
Tickets for the Class B boys’ state basketball tournament should have been printed with a Surgeon General’s warning on them – Warning: Viewing the Class B state tournament may cause emotional anxiety, shock and false hope.
Last weekend Rugby won the state tournament in Bismarck, but there were several other highlights during the tournament: a double-overtime game, a rematch of last year’s championship game, and a dominating performance by Mr. Basketball.
The first day was highlighted by a battle between New England and Lamoure-Litchville-Marion (LLM). LLM wasn’t favored to win the game because of their lack of height, no player over 6-2, and New England’s abundance of height – seven players over 6-feet tall.
The chatter about the game being a height mismatch ended quickly when Anthony Olson, LLM senior, turned a lob pass into an alley-oop dunk. After Olson’s dunk it was clear that LLM was at state to play, not to cower under their bigger opponents.
The game was even at 17 after one low-scoring half. LLM did a good job of containing New England’s star player and Region 7 Senior of the Year recipient Dan Prince in the first half – allowing him zero first-half points.
In the second half Prince came alive, scoring in double-figures and pushing his team to a 51-47 lead with 23 seconds left in the game. But New England couldn’t figure out a way to break LLM’s full-court pressure and committed two consecutive turnovers on inbound plays that resulted in LLM scores and a tie game.
In overtime LaMoure tied the game with about 13 seconds left on a Parker Stemen short jumper near the basket, but poor transition defense by LLM resulted in Mason Stang, a New England senior guard, getting fouled for a chance to win the game.
There were only two-tenths of a second left on the clock when Stang approached the free-throw line. Stang missed the first free throw, but still had another chance at the game winner.
Before Stang could attempt his second shot at winning the game, a timeout was called to break up game-winning chances. Back to the line Stang went, but another miss would propel the game to double overtime.
The final overtime didn’t have any late game switches. LLM grabbed an early 4-point lead and never trailed in overtime, winning the game 71-61.
Olson finished with 29 points, 15 rebounds, and 6 steals to lead LLM. Prince finished with 22 points to lead New England, all of which were scored after the first half.
Four Winds-Minnewaukan topped Shiloh 61-55 in a regular season rematch. Fargo Oak Grove, the defending state champs, topped May-Port-CG 70-58 and Rugby feasted on Parshall 80-39.