Bandits win Jr. Grand Am
The Rugby Bandits won five games en route to winning the 9th grade boys’ division of the Jr. Grand Am basketball tournament. The tournament was held in Grand Forks on March 30-April 1, and featured a record 326 teams, 24 of which played in the 9th grade division.
The Bandits defeated Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 51-29, Moorhead, MN 45-25, Fargo Phantoms 54-46, Winnipeg Wolves 52-41, before knocking off West Fargo 54-40 in the Championship, in a game played at the Betty Englestad Arena.
“We had a great tournament,” Bandit coach Rob Hovland said. “The teams in this tournament are stacked, and the games tend to be very physical. Our kids played incredibly hard every game. They’re a resilient bunch – we were a bit short-handed with some kids playing through injuries, but they figured out a way to win in a division usually dominated by the larger schools.”
Bandit team members are Tanner Bernhardt, Eric Hooker, Zach Miller, Nolan Hovland, and Brad Heidlebaugh – all of Rugby; Colter Thorp, Hunter Schell and Eli Luna of Towner; and Alex Weston of Cando.
The Rugby Cougars also had an outstanding tournament, winning the Consolation Championship of the 6th grade boys’ division. After dropping the opening round game to eventual champion Bismarck Thunder, the Cougars reeled off four consecutive wins in the 31 team field. The Cougars defeated the Fargo Flames 38-27, Devils Lake 42-30, Woodlake 41-39, and the Winnipeg Jr. Alliance 39-32.
“I was really pleased with the way we played,” said Cougar coach Greg Foster. “It took us awhile to gel as a team, but once we did, we played well. We got better each game, and were able to beat some bigger, talented teams. Our kids showed a lot of guts and competitive spirit in this tournament.”
Cougar team members include Isaiah Johnson, Seth Jaeger, Nathanial Haman, Hunter Radomski, Brody Haakenson, Landen Foster – all of Rugby; Bryce Hoerer (Bottineau); Parker Granger (Fessenden); and Trent Marquart (Glenburn).
The Bandits will play in the North Dakota Pacesetter State Championships on April 15.
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