February 27, 2014

Eagles, Wolves set for Battle of the Bakken

By Jerry W. Kram

The Watford City Wolves have had three cracks at the New Town Eagles this season and so far the ledger has been in the Eagles favor, three games to none including the District 15 Championship game. They will get their fourth try Thursday night as the two teams battle for the Region 8 Boys Basketball Championship and the right to go to the North Dakota Class B State Basketball Tournament in Grand Forks.

The Eagles earned their trip to the championship game by rolling over North Shore Plaza Wildcats 58-35. New Town shut down the Wildcats potent guards Alec Lee and Jacob Edwards, forcing them to feed the ball to Costas Kok. New Town Head Coach Chuck Hunter said turning the Wildcat offense one dimensional was part of the Eagles game plan.

"Last night we held Stanley to 40 points and I told the guys we had to hold North Shore to under 40," Hunter said. "Defensively we have to be aggressive. The more aggressive we are, the more they struggle. We know Costas was going to get his looks we’ll just play straight up on him as long as we shut down Edwards and Lee. They didn’t get the three point looks like they did Monday. We took them out of their rhythm."

Kok accounted for more than half of Plaza’s total points for the game with 18. Lee scored 8 and Edwards was held to 6. Darryl Grady led the Eagles with 18 points, followed by Joe Baker and with 14 and Wayne Fox with 13. Payton White Owl had 10 rebounds and Elijah Grady grabbed another 8 as the Eagles outrebounded the Wildcats 40-25.

Baker and Fox helped the Eagles get off to a fast start by scoring three point baskets in the opening minutes of the game. Baker was especially effective early in the game. Darryl Grady became more of a factor later in the game after Kok drew his fourth foul early in the fourth quarter.

"Any team we play in the region, if we can get their big men into foul trouble then they won’t be able to double team our big men as well," Hunter said. "Our inside game then opened up things outside. It freed up our guys to get their looks. Joe came out shooting well. I told the team if they got some room, look for the shot, don’t worry if it is off. We need to take the shot and show that we are ready to shoot. We hit some key shots right away and gave us the momentum. That’s what we needed."

The Watford City Wolves survived a scare from the Parshall Braves in the second semifinal game of the tournament, pulling out a come-from-behind two point victory, 61-59.

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