Panther boys win CNDC tourney
The Rugby Panthers clawed their way to a first place finish at the 2018-19 CNDC Tournament last week at Harvey High School.
The boys’ basketball team’s fight began last Thursday evening, when they faced the Towner-Granville-Upham Titans in what seemed at first to be an easy contest. The Titans came alive in the second quarter, however, when they charged down the court to cut the Panthers’ 25-8 lead to 32-29 when the halftime buzzer sounded.
Members of Harvey High School’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter walked through the stands at halftime, taking donations for TGU’s Joseph “LJ” Wells, who was away from the tournament receiving treatments for adrenal cancer.
The Panthers managed to dominate the second half, boosting their lead by 17 more points at the end of the third quarter, before TGU summoned the last of their energy to squeeze the Panther lead to only 7 points. The Panthers moved on to the second round with a 64-57 win.
Friday evening’s game brought a new fight to the Panthers. The No. 3-seed New Rockford-Sheyenne’s Rockets darted across the court after each Panther score in the first quarter, matching each Rugby score with one of their own. While Panthers Devan Michels and Jaden Hamilton seemed to move into Rockets territory with ease, scoring a combined total of three 2-point shots along with two 3-pointers, Rocket Parker Granger sank three 3-point buckets to help his team tie the Panthers 13-13 at the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers pulled ahead to a 28-23 lead in a nail-biting 2nd quarter, expanding their lead to 9 points at the end of the 3rd quarter. Although the Rockets scored 18 more points in the 4th quarter, the Panthers secured their victory by netting 19 of their own, winning 62-52 and advancing to the championship game against the No. 1 seed Dunseith Dragons.
Coach Mike Santjer said the Panthers came to the Saturday night game prepared.
“We were fortunate to play (Dunseith) during the year; we see them a lot during the summer,” Santjer said of the Dragons. “They’re coached well. Eric (Morin) does a great job. They play a lot of up-tempo; they shoot a lot of 3s (3 point baskets). We just knew that we had to get our hands up and contest those 3s.”
The Panthers raised their arms high to defend against the Dragons in the first quarter, but that didn’t prevent a 3-point score by Dunseith’s Hunter Gladue or two 2-pointers by Michael Two Hearts. Gladue and Two Hearts each scored shots on free throws as well, pulling ahead of the Panthers early despite a 3-point score from Rugby’s Hamilton, and 2-point scores from Hamilton, Kevin Vetsch, and Mayson McCabe.
The 2nd quarter began with the Panthers trailing 10-11 to Dunseith.
Both Hamilton and Michels sank 3-pointers to bring the Panthers to a 2nd quarter lead, with McCabe and Trace Goven scoring 2 free throw points each. Michels scored 1 free throw shot and Michels and Hamilton each sank two 2-point baskets to end the Panthers’ 2nd half with a 32-25 lead.
The Dragons roared back after halftime, scoring 20 points and ending the 3rd quarter with a 1-point lead.
The back-and-forth battle intensified in the 4th quarter as more players drew fouls as they amped up their defenses at each basket. The Panthers moved ahead to a 51-49 lead with less than one minute left on the clock.
The fight heated up, and more free throws from Michels pushed the Panther lead to 53-49 with 25 seconds left in the game. A final 2-point score from Trace Goven sealed a 55-49 victory and the 2018-19 CNDC Champion title for the Panthers.
Santjer voiced his approval of the Panthers’ performance in the tournament.
“We put a lot of time and effort into our season. We play 35-40 games in the summer. We spend a lot of time together, so these guys it’s not as though they don’t spend a lot of time in the gym. They work really hard.”
Goven credited his team for their hard work as well.
“We all know that it’s a team sport, we all have to play as a team,” Goven noted. “No one singles anyone out, and if we keep playing as a team, things will go good this season, and we can make a good run in the post season.”
Michels ended Game 3 with 15 points, McCabe with 8 points and Kevin Vetsch with 2 points. Jaden Hamilton led the point total for the night with 18 points, while Logan DeMontigny tallied 5 points and Trace Goven scored 7 points.
CNDC Tournament 2nd place team Dunseith point totals for the game were 5 for Julius Grant, 15 for Gladue, 10 for Treagan Azure, 7 for Michael Two Hearts, 2 for Gabe Davis, and 10 for Ethan Morin.
Rugby Round 2 totals against New Rockford-Sheyenne were: Michels with 21, McCabe with 2, Kevin Vetsch with 1, Hamilton with 26, DeMontigny with 4 and Goven with 8.
New Rockford-Sheyenne, who took the 3rd place CNDC Tournament title, tallied the following individual scores for Round 2: Bo Belquist, 11; Teddy Allmaras, 10; Hunter Thompson, 7; Luke Ystaas, 2; Tucker Longnecker, 4; Parker Granger, 18.
Rugby Round 1 totals against TGU were: Michels with 9, McCabe with 14, Kevin Vetsch with 16, Hamilton with 10, DeMontigny with 7, Isaiah Bundy-Smith with 4 and Goven with 4.
TGU, who placed 5th in the tournament overall, tallied 2 points for Matt Dickinson, 14 for Cy Luna, 4 for Garrett Bailey, 3 for Hunter Miller, 16 for Tanner Schock and 18 for Shayden Luna.
In other CNDC Tournament results, St. John took 4th place; Drake-Anamoose placed 6th; Rolla took 7th place and Harvey placed 8th.
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