Bittersweet end to boys basketball season
The 2019 Rugby Boys’ Basketball season ended on a bittersweet note when the Panthers took third place in the Region 6 consolation round at the Minot State University Dome last week.
If the team still smarted from one-point defeat they’d suffered at the hands of Our Redeemer’s Christian School just two days before, it didn’t show when they took the court, cheered on by a number of fans and family members.
In the first few minutes of the game, opponent Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood kept pace with the Panthers, led by top scorers Lucas Undlin, Adam Southam and Jacob Undlin.
However, the Panthers pulled ahead with apparent ease, unleashing a physical offense that seemed second nature.
Devan Michels and Jaden Hamilton put points on the board early with a 3 pointer from Michels and a flurry of 2 pointers from Hamilton and Trace Goven.
Hamilton showed the crowd his skills with a 2nd quarter dunk, drawing loud cheers.
The Mavericks fought back with 3 point shots from Lucas Undlin and Southam, and managed to narrow the Panther lead at the half to 33-27.
The Panthers dominated in the second half, their speed on the court wearing the Mavericks down in the third and fourth quarter.
With a commanding lead, the Panthers brought out more moves to show the crowd behind the back passes and jump shots kept the fans cheering. The Panther offense turned confident and relaxed, and the team seemed to focus on having fun in their final game.
Sophomores Isaiah Bundy-Smith, Tim Mueller and Warren Walker joined Senior Logan DeMontigny on the court to nail down a final Panther victory in the fourth quarter.
Hamilton said he was happy with the third place Panther season ender, “but that wasn’t what we wanted to be the final outcome. We definitely wanted a better outcome for the season, but we came up short.”
“We just wanted to come out and have fun in our last game together with the seniors,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton, a junior, said he looked forward to another season of Panther basketball.
“I hope to bounce back and get to state,” he indicated.
“It was fun to see these guys just get out there and have some fun playing, because I think somewhere along the line, we lost that a little bit,” Panther Coach Mike Santjer told the Tribune. “We were so focused on our ending, and not just the fun of playing basketball.”
“You know, we have a great group of kids coming up who are going to put in a lot of time this summer (in practices, camps), and hopefully get better,” Santjer said.
“Unfortunately we lose three tremendous seniors this year,” Santjer said of DeMontigny, Kevin Vetsch, and Mayson McCabe. “It’s sad to see those kids go, but we have a nice core group coming back, and we’re pretty excited about it.”
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