2-15-14 Basketball roundup
Panthers cap perfect regular season
The Rugby High School boys basketball team completed a perfect regular season with a 73-44 win over Benson County on Feb. 6. The No. 1-ranked Panthers went 19-0 ahead of the District 11 Tournament, which concludes today in Bottineau.
“It’s exciting,” RHS coach Mike Santjer said. “Obviously, the kids are excited about it, but, on the other side, when we listed our goals at the beginning of the year going undefeated wasn’t one of them. It’s definitely neat that we played well.”
RHS junior Brad Heidlebaugh, who averages more than 25 points per game, scored a game-high 30 points against the Wildcats. Santjer said going undefeated didn’t cross his mind early in the season.
“If you probably would’ve asked me in late November, early December, I would’ve said we probably wouldn’t go undefeated because we played quality teams,” Santjer said. “They’re a whole different team now than in the beginning of the year. They put in a lot of effort and worked hard in practice.”
The Panthers had a team accomplish the feat in the mid-1990s, according to athletic director Scott Grochow.
This season’s team won all but one game by double digits. In December, Bishop Ryan hosted RHS and the Panthers won by eight. In January, RHS blasted ranked Des Lacs-Burlington 66-42. Earlier this month, the Panthers beat then-No. 2 Four Winds-Minnewaukan 76-66 in a matchup of the top two ranked teams in Class B.
TGU has winning regular season
The TGU boys basketball team finished its first regular season under coach Michael Corum with a 10-9 record overall and 3-4 mark in District 11. The Titans entered this week’s district tournament as the No. 6 seed.
TGU finished the regular season with a 72-46 rout of Harvey-Wells County. Senior forward Luke Bacon led all scorers with 18 points and Colter Thorp and Eli Luna added 17 points apiece.
“I think it ended on a good note and it was a good springboard into the tournament,” Corum said. “I think we played well and a lot of things we’re clicking that hadn’t been before.”
The Titans have grown more comfortable with transition offense and defensive awareness.
“I think it was a rocky season with a lot of frustration right away and confusion,” Corum said, “a rocky season that thankfully smoothed itself out at the end where everyone is playing together.”
R-W boys earn No. 4 seed
The Rolette-Wolford boys basketball team finished fourth in the District 8 regular season. The Comets (8-11, 3-3) had a rocky end to the season as they dropped their final three games.
“Our biggest thing right now is we’re getting outrebounded and our defense hasn’t been good,” R-W coach Jason Heinz said.
The Comets have been without injured senior forward Trevor Gottbreht and other players have missed time with sickness.
“(Gottbreht) did something to his thumb, so he can’t really squeeze a ball or catch or shoot,” Heinz said, “so we’re gonna reevaluate (this week). He’s an integral part of our team. He does a lot of the dirty work everyone else doesn’t want to do.”
R-W lost 69-54 to Westhope-Newburg on Feb. 6, lost 72-43 to North Star on Feb. 7 and lost 60-56 to New Rockford-Sheyenne on Monday. R-W opened the district tournament against No. 5 Munich-Starkweather on Friday.
BC boys earn No. 3 seed
The Benson County boys basketball team finished third in District 8. The Wildcats (9-10, 3-3) struggled in the season finale and dropped a 68-48 game to Carrington on Monday.
BC played No. 6 Rolla in the first round of the district tournament on Friday.
The Wildcats beat Park River-Fordville-Lankin 62-52 on Feb. 7 for their final win of the regular season.
“It was two pretty evenly matched teams and our kids came out pretty well,” BC coach Scott Lindgren said. “We got ahead by about 10 and they went to zone and it took us awhile to figure it out and once we did we played well. They played with a lot of heart and emotion in that game and it was fun to watch.”
Lindgren hopes his team’s sluggish play against Carrington doesn’t carry over into tournament play.
“We had a clear height advantage and I thought we were basically evenly matched teams, but they wanted it more,” Lindgren said. “They were hustling, diving on floors. We made things easy for them at times and they made things tough for us all night. The kids know we have to play like we did against Park River every night.”
TGU girls atop District 11
The TGU girls basketball team won another two games to retain its share of the top spot in District 11 with another week left in the regular season.
The Titans (14-3, 6-1) are tied with Velva in the district standings. TGU beat Dunseith 53-48 on Tuesday and held off Sawyer 59-50 on Feb. 6.
“Sawyer, they have a nice team,” TGU coach Malcolm Marcus said. “They came into Towner and gave us all they wanted. They led late in the third quarter and finally we got a solid lead in the fourth, but they came to play and so did we. It was a pretty good basketball team and I think it shows the balance in our district.”
TGU senior Mattie Schmitt led all scorers with 25 points and McKenna Thompson added 16.
Schmitt and Thompson also led the way against the Dragons with 19 and 15, respectively.
“We’ll take it,” Marcus said. “If you can go up there and come home with a win, it’s a plus. The fourth quarter got a little scary, but we did hold on.”
The Rolette-Wolford girls basketball team followed it’s overtime win over Rugby with a 73-47 rout of St. John on Tuesday. R-W senior Rae Beaver poured in 31 points and sophomore Lexy Wittmayer added 18.
The Comets’ last loss was a 59-51 defeat against No. 3 North Star. Wittmayer had 19 to lead R-W, but the Bearcats kept the pesky Comets at bay. R-W got within four points at the end of the third quarter.
“The girls really wanted it,” R-W coach Jill Murtaugh said. “They put everything out there. They were on the floor. Four-point game with three minutes to go and you have the No. 3 team in the state on their heels, you couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The Comets are 11-4 overall and 3-3 in District 8.
“It didn’t work out our way, but we feel confident that if we see them we have that ability to do it as a team,” Murtaugh said.
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