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Panthers take Region 6 championship

By Staff | Mar 20, 2020

Rugby’s Devan Michels (no. 2) goes up for a putback in the third quarter of the championship round of the Region 6 Boys Basketball Tournament last week at the Minot State University Dome. Also pictured: Rugby’s Isaiah Bundy-Smith.

Last Thursday evening at the Minot State University Dome saw a battle of the No. 1’s.

The District 12 No. 1-seed Our Redeemer’s Christian School Knights had a region title to defend. The District 11 No. 1-seed Rugby Panthers were looking to get back to the State Class B Boys Basketball Tournament after winning it five years ago.

And the year before, the Knights had taken the Panthers out of contention in the semifinal round.

The Panthers shot their way to a 61-33 win over the Knights, and a Region 6 championship title.

Three Panthers – Trace Goven, Isaiah Bundy-Smith and Jaden Hamilton – scored a combined 42 points (14 apiece) in the win.

The Panthers and the Knights were nearly neck-and-neck in the first quarter, with each team forcing a lead change and a tie from outside the arc. The Panthers would get ahead 15-12 via a three-pointer inside of one minute remaining.

Rugby would open the next quarter with Goven scoring off a turnover. Landon Lang and Levi Weekly then responded to the Panthers’ five scored points, tying the game 17-17. The Panthers then went on a 12-2 run, and a three-pointer from Hamilton in the final seconds put the Panthers up 32-19 over the Knights at halftime.

The Panthers opened the third quarter with Devan Michels scoring on a putback. The Panthers would outscore the Knights by a 15-10 margin for a 47-29 lead at the end of three.

In the next quarter, the Knights would only score on two early buckets and miss all four attempts at the free throw line. Rugby went on a 10-point run to win.

“We put together one of our best man defensive things that we did all year,” said Panthers head coach Mike Santjer, “and we had kids, they talked as well as they could’ve, we just did a lot of things good defensively and we contested a lot of their (the Knights’) shots and that kind of got us rolling.”

Due to concerns over the novel coronavirus, the North Dakota High School Activities Association announced the next day (Friday, March 13) that the state tournament was suspended. As of 10:30 a.m. Monday, all NDHSAA-sponsored sports and activities continued to be suspended indefinitely.

Region awards

Four players from Rugby were named to the all-region team: Hamilton, Bundy-Smith, Goven and Michels. Others on the list included Payton Martin and Hunter Fletschock, Drake-Anamoose; Cade Korslien, South Prairie; Lang and Zach Hendrickson, Our Redeemer’s; Cy Luna, Towner-Granville-Upham; Walker Wold, Lewis & Clark-Berthold; and Trey Welstad and Matthew Dufner, Glenburn.

Hamilton was named the region’s senior athlete of the year.

South Prairie head coach Jordan Cooper was named the region coach of the year.?

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