Braves take sixth at state Class B
By Jerry W. Kram
It wasn't quite the dream ending to a tough season the Parshall Braves were looking for, but they could still hold their heads up high with a sixth place finish in the North Dakota State Class B Boys Basketball Tournament.
The Braves started the season slowly, winning just one of their first five games and just four of their first 11. But starting at the end of January, the team pulled it all together to start a 10 game winning streak that earned them the number one seed in the district tournament. The Braves went on to beat the New Town Eagles in the finals of both the District and Regional Tournaments to earn their first berth in the boys state tournament since 2007. Parshall’s girls basketball team also won the region. PHS is one of 18 schools in the history of the state tournaments to send two teams to state in the same school year, and the first from the region since Divide County in 1980-81.
The tournament didn’t start on a high note for the Braves, as they were run over by the eventual champion Rugby Panthers in the first game. Head coach Wade Baker said the basket seemed to have a cover over it as the Braves shot just 3 for 23 in the first half and were outrebounded by the Panthers 30 to 13. Half of the Braves first half points came from making 6 of 8 free throws. At the half, they trailed 49 to 12.
They fared better in the third quarter and actually outscored the Panthers 19-18 in the quarter. However, the Braves’ shooting woes continued in the fourth quarter where the Panthers rebounded to outscore them 13 to 8 for the final score of 80-39. Deyondre Simpson led the Braves on the strength of eight free throws and three three-point shots on the way to a 19 point game. He also had nine blocked shots, and Monte Goodbird added another four blocks.
The Panthers had four players in double figures, Tanner Bernhardt, 22; Brad Heidlebaugh, 18; Zach Miller, 16; and Nolan Hovland, 11.
"It was a big loss," Baker said.
The Braves bounced back against the Patriots of Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg in the consolation bracket semifinal. While the Braves never trailed after the first quarter, they weren’t able to shake the Patriots who never trailed by more than eight points. In the first quarter, Myles Oderman got off to a hot start, scoring the Braves first basket of the game and adding another two off of a rebound. The Patriots used two three-point buckets from Brady Nygaard to keep the game close at 11-11.