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North Dakota's big show . . . Berthold's Dan Yale floats high
in the air to the basket in the Bombers' opening match against the
Linton-HMB Lions at the North Dakota State Class B tournament. Teammate Mitchel White is pictured under the basket.
By Caroline Downs
After a tough overtime loss to Beulah in the state Class B semi-finals on Friday at Grand Forks, Berthold finished in fourth place in a 52-50 defeat by Shiloh Christian on Saturday.
The game had a quiet beginning, with six possessions and two minutes run off the clock before the Skyhawks’ Joey Dwyer scored the first of his game-high 19 points. He scored on his next trip down the court, too, but a Bombers’ steal and a Dan Yale pass to Alex Bloms resulted in Berthold’s first points at 4:42.
Bloms found the mark on the next two possessions as well for a 6-4 lead. The Bombers went cold on offense as shots sent up by Bloms and Yale failed to score, but Berthold’s defense kept a tight rein on Shiloh Christian. Finally, Bombers’ senior Colin Lindahl added three points from outside the arc and junior Logan Gunderson repeated the act with just over a minute left to play. The Skyhawks’ Donovan Lambert finished the quarter with a shot inside, but Berthold had a 12-6 advantage.
The Bombers pushed forward in the second quarter, but the Skyhawks kept pace. Bloms scored eight points in the period for his team, starting with a pair of free throws on the first trip down the court, and Adam Birdsall added a three-pointer with just over two minutes remaining. Both sides kept up the defensive pressure under the basket, with a two-and-a-half minute scoreless stretch through the middle of period, but Dwyer scored twice on field goals and Walter Bearstail nailed a three-pointer to keep the Skyhawks within striking distance at 23-16 in Berthold’s favor by halftime.
And Shiloh Christian struck hard in the third quarter, outscoring Berthold 18-7. Birdsall opened with a putback, sandwiched between baskets by Dwyer and Lambert. Bloms managed a layup at the five-minute mark, sandwiched between scores from Klint Miller and Matt Rask for Shiloh Christian. Then Bearstail hit another three-point attempt halfway through the period to tie the game at 27.
Dwyer scored twice more, with Aaron Hultstrand hitting a basket with one minute remaining. Bloms managed a free throw and an inside shot, but the Bombers trailed 30-34 going into the final quarter.
The opening of the fourth quarter looked much like the first, with Berthold failing to score for almost two minutes, even as Hultstrand and Lambert added points. Finally, Michael White scored his first points of the tournament on a layup. Dwyer responded with a basket for the Skyhawks, but Yale scored his first field goal of the game on the next possession, followed by a free throw. Rask answered with a shot, but White came back with a layup to keep the margin at 37-42.
The second half of the quarter was all about shooting. Bloms scored on an inside shot, followed by a Yale free throw, then a Yale drive for a basket and foul shot. White came up with a steal, but the Skyhawks blocked his layup. Bloms sent the rebound back, but the ball went out of bounds on a Shiloh Christian tap. This time, Yale made good on the inbounds play and pulled Berthold within two points at 47-49 with 59.9 seconds on the clock.
The final minute of the game ate up three time-outs as both coaches jockeyed for their team’s advantage. Bearstail’s shot was blocked on the next possession and the Bombers ran their offense to set up White for a three-pointer, giving Berthold a 50-49 lead with 20 seconds left. Berthold came out with a full court press, but Dwyer got a jump shot to fall anyway and then missed the free throw on the White foul.
The Bombers sent the ball out of bounds on the next play, but White fouled Dwyer again with 5.7 seconds remaining. Dwyer hit only one of two free throws for the 52-50 advantage, and Yale passed to Lee for a three-point attempt to pull out the win, but Lee missed the mark at the buzzer and the Skyhawks claimed the victory.
Berthold head coach Brock Teets described his team’s lack of energy on Saturday, following the semi-finals loss to Beulah. “In the last three minutes of this basketball game, we started playing a little bit,” he said, “but last night really zapped us.”
Bloms paced the Bombers with 18 points and 7 rebounds in the game.
Yale finished with a double-double at 12 points and 12 rebounds, along with 3 assists.
White scored 7 points and made 3 steals.
Birdsall scored 5 points and made 2 steals.
Gunderson added 3 points, Lindahl 3 and Jenson 2.
For the Skyhawks, Dwyer scored 19 points and Lambert finished with 12.
The Bombers shot 31.7 percent from the field, making 19 of 60 attempts, including 4 of 22 three-pointers for 18 percent. They sank 8 of 10 from the charity stripe and pulled down 32 rebounds, with only 5 offensive boards in the game.
The Skyhawks shot 39.6 percent in the game, making 21 of 53 baskets, including 3 of 17 from three-point range for 17.6 percent. They made 7 of 11 free throws and finished with 31 rebounds, including 3 offensive boards.
The Bombers committed 10 turnovers in the game, while the Skyhawks made 8.
In Saturday’s other court action, Beulah won the 2012 state Class B by edging past North Star 51-49, completing their upset of three undefeated teams in the tournament. Grafton finished in fifth place with a 71-57 victory over Central Cass, and Linton-HMB routed Divide County for seventh place, 68-43.
Yale and Bloms were named to the All-Tournament Team for Berthold. They joined Dwyer of Shiloh Christian, Trevor Zacher of Beulah, Tanner Purintun of Linton-HMB, Daniel Grande and Jake Hagler of North Star, Andreas Holm of Divide County, Ellery Bresnahan of Central Cass and Jake Hanson of Grafton.
Bombers lose lead to Miners
Berthold’s semi-finals game against Beulah was a tale of two halves, with the Bombers losing 50-54 in overtime.
Berthold started the game with rebounding and defense in sharp focus. Both teams looked tentative in the opening minutes, with the score standing at 4-2 nearly six minutes into the game. The Bombers shut down the Miners on offense, however, and rang up a 10-2 lead with shots from Bloms and a three-pointer from Gunderson.
Berthold continued their dominance in the second quarter, outscoring Beulah 17-10 in the period starting with a Jenson putback at 6:44. Yale scored 10 points in the quarter, while Bloms converted two offensive rebounds into points. In fact, the Bombers’ racked up rebounds, with Bloms pulling down 10 and Yale 8 before halftime. Yale also made 4 steals before the break as Berthold confounded the Miners at nearly every turn.
Casey Duppong scored twice inside for Beulah and Trevor Zacher hit a three-point attempt with 33 seconds remaining in the quarter at 24-12, but then Yale dumped a pass to Austin Lee, who sank his own three-pointer two seconds before the buzzer sounded for a solid 27-12 Bombers’ margin.
The Miners returned to the court with a purpose, however, and started clawing their way back into the game, scoring 12 points in the third quarter. More telling, Berthold managed only six points on shots by Cale Neshem, Yale and Bloms. Beulah applied effective full court pressure, which led to Bombers’ turnovers, and Yale picked up his third foul in the game with about three minutes left to play in the quarter.
In the meantime, Duppong hit some inside shots and Cody Nelson, who was scoreless in the first half, started his march to the basket which resulted in 15 points by the game’s end.
The Bombers held onto a 33-23 lead as the third quarter ended, but Beulah served notice on the first possession of the fourth quarter with a basket by Duppong, followed by a rebound and layup from Nelson to pull within five points. The Miners attacked the basket and shut down the Bombers on a 17-8 run. Yale and Bloms managed to keep Berthold in the game, but the final Bombers’ point of the quarter came at the 2:02 mark when Bloms sank a free throw. By then, the Miners put 15 points on the board.
Berthold’s defense clamped back down at that point and didn’t allow any field goals. Nelson scored two free throws after Neshem’s fourth foul for a 41-41 tie with 1:50 left in the game. Both teams had possessions, but couldn’t get shots to fall, with Yale missing a final attempt inside with seconds remaining on the clock.
The Miners carried the momentum into the overtime period, with scores from Tyler Murray, Trevor Zacher, Nelson, Jesse Hettich and Duppong. Bloms scored at the 3:20 mark, but no Bombers’ shots hit their mark again until a Yale drive at 1:19, when Beulah led 50-45. Berthold used intentional fouls to gain possessions, with Yale scoring again with 50 seconds in the game and Bloms sinking a three-pointer with seven seconds left, but the effort was too little too late as Duppong and Hettich each sank a free throw to keep the score just out of reach at 54-50.
“I thought we were ready to go. In the first half, we played our zone defense extremely well,” said Teets. “But in the second half, we lost our focus, and the pressure wore us down a little bit.”
He noted Yale’s foul trouble in the third quarter as a turning point in the game. “Daniel needed a rest anyway at that point,” he said, “but we showed a little fear then and Beulah is a very good basketball team. We felt like we gave it up. When we needed a big shot, it just didn’t roll in.”
Two Bombers turned in double-double performances in the game, with Bloms scoring 21 points and making 14 rebounds and Yale scoring 19 points and making 14 rebounds, along with 2 assists and 4 steals.
Gunderson and Lee each scored 3 points, while Neshem and Jenson had 2 points apiece.
Neshem and Birdsall each made 2 steals in the game.
Hettich had a double-double game for the Miners, with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Nelson also scored 15 points and Duppong finished with 10.
The Bombers shot 36 percent from the field, making 22 of 61 baskets, including 3 of 14 from beyond the arc at 21 percent.
Berthold hit only 3 of 9 free throws in the game and pulled down 41 rebounds, including 13 offensive boards.
The Miners shot 34 percent from the field, making 22 of 64 shots, including 5 of 22 three-point attempts for 23 percent. They hit 5 of 12 free throws and grabbed 36 rebounds, including 10 offensive boards.
Beulah finished the game with 13 turnovers, while Berthold made 16.
In Friday’s other semi-final game, North Star edged Shiloh Christian 52-50 to advance to the championship. In consolation play, Grafton topped Divide County 68-49 and Central Cass defeated Linton-HMB 81-68.
Bombers tame Lions
The Bombers found themselves in an unfamiliar situation at the end of the first quarter in their game against Linton-HMB Thursday night, trailing 20-9 as they watched shot after shot bounce off the rim or miss the mark entirely.
Seniors Yale and Bloms eventually hit their stride and led the scoring for their team, but some unlikely heroes paved the way for Berthold’s 68-58 win.
After the game, Teets referred to his team’s nervous energy and the fact that Yale was the only Bomber who had experience on the state court. “It’s the first show for a lot of these guys,” he said. “I told them we had to settle down and they’d be fine.”
Nerves were on edge as the game opened and the Bombers went three consecutive possessions without making a basket. Linton-HMB only scored once in the first three minutes, but Berthold fans and players were accustomed to establishing points on the board.
Finally at the 5:26 mark, Birdsall grabbed an offensive rebound and sent it back up for the Bombers’ first two points. Yale made his first basket about a minute later, but in the meantime, the Lions took an 8-4 lead on a pair of three-pointers and then went up 12-4 on a Ryan Dralle free throw and a trey from Tanner Purintun.
Lee scored on a jump shot for Berthold and Bloms hit a basket, followed by a free throw, in the final minute of play for the team’s 9 points in the quarter, but the Bombers defense couldn’t find a way to stop Purintun as he hit three more shots, followed by a pair of free throws from Nathan Wieser in the final three seconds of the period.
Berthold returned to the court with a different attitude in the second quarter, starting with a Bloms drive and basket, followed by a Neshem steal that led to a jump shot from Yale on the next possession. In the meantime, the Bombers’ defense tightened its control and forced three turnovers for Linton-HMB in the first minute of play.
Berthold’s offense ran efficiently through the next three minutes, leading to three more shots from Bloms and a Yale putback as the Bombers shaved the margin to 24-21. Bloms trimmed the gap to a single point with a putback, and then Jenson came off the bench and lit up the crowd with a basket at the 2:10 mark as Berthold took its first lead of the game at 26-24.
Purintun wasn’t scoring his own shots, but he dished an assist to Ryan Schneider to tie the score at 26. Jenson sparked his team again with a layup and a 28-26 lead in the final minute of the quarter, but Purintun repeated the move with Schneider to tie the score at 28, then got the ball with nine seconds remaining and sank his own shot for a 30-28 Lions lead at the half.
Those proved to be the final points for Purintun in the game as White took over the defensive assignment on him. Berthold played catch-up through most of the quarter, starting with a Yale bucket inside to tie the score at 30. The Lions answered back with consecutive shots from Dralle and Wieser to give themselves a four-point edge. Yale scored on a pair of free throws, followed by a Bloms steal as the Bombers pressed, but the Bombers couldn’t convert the possession into points and Tyler Humann took advantage of an open shot outside the arc to give his team a 37-32 lead.
In the meantime, White committed his fourth foul with 5:35 left to play in the quarter. He traded places with Jenson on the bench, and the two harassed Purintun on defense the rest of the game.
The two sides exchanged points on free throws and field goals, but Berthold trailed for the next four and a half minutes until Jenson drilled a three-pointer to tie the score at 41. The Lions set up their offense for a shot by Schneider, and Neshem failed to hit a free throw after being fouled by Brooks Flyberg on the next possession. However, the Bombers forced a turnover with about 40 seconds remaining in the period and ran their offense until Yale passed the ball to Birdsall for a three-pointer from the left wing to take a 44-43 lead.
The Lions hit four three-point attempts in the fourth quarter, but that proved to be the extent of their offense as Berthold held the lead and outscored Linton-HMB 24-15, starting with another Jenson drive for a layup and free throw shot on a Flyberg foul. With two minutes gone in the quarter, the Bombers’ defense played true, locking down the Lions three possessions in a row that led to a Yale free throw, a Bloms shot and a Gunderson layup, followed by a pair of Bloms free throws.
Linton refused to roll over, but Neshem made a strong drive to the basket at 3:35, followed immediately by a Gunderson three-pointer that gave Berthold a double-digit margin at 59-49. Bloms, Yale and Birdsall all scored on layups through the next 90 seconds, even as the Lions hit shots from beyond the arc to pull within six points.
The clock worked in Berthold’s favor, and the Lions resorted to intentional fouls, leading to more free throws by Yale and Bloms. With 12 seconds remaining and a 68-58 lead, the Bombers’ fans went wild as Langan, Colin Lindahl, Ryan Ross and Matt Block substituted into the game with Yale. Purintun had time to miss a final shot, rebounded by Langan who held the ball for the celebration.
Yale credited the win to the Bombers’ defense and noted that his team had failed to rebound the ball well during the first half. “In the locker room, our coach told us we had to board up,” said Yale. “In the second half, we came out with some fire.”
Teets noticed the fire in his team, once they got going. “After that first quarter, we were lucky to just hang in this,” he said. “Defense won this game.”
He made reference to the fact that White didn’t score a point in the game, but demonstrated an outstanding effort against Purintun in a tag-team approach with Jenson. “Michael brings it every night,” said Teets, “and then Jaeden subs in there for him and D’s it up for us! We had some kids who stepped up and made plays at crucial times for us.”
Bloms led all players in the game with 22 points. Yale posted double figures with 17 points, as did Jenson with 11.
Birdsall and Gunderson added 7 points apiece, with Neshem and Lee at 2 points each.
Yale finished with 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Bloms grabbed 6 rebounds and made 2 steals, and Neshem nabbed 2 steals.
Three Lions finished in double digits, with 12 from Humann, 11 from Purintun and 10 from Wieser.
Berthold shot 45 percent overall in the game, making 27 of 60 field goals, including 4 of 15 three-point attempts for 27 percent. The Bombers sank 10 of 15 free throws.
Linton-HMB finished with 47 percent, making 22 of 47 field goals, including 8 of 22 three-pointers for 36 percent. The Lions shot 75 percent from the foul line, making 6 of 8 free throws.
Both teams pulled down 27 rebounds, including 10 offensive boards for the Bombers and 7 for the Lions. One significant difference came in turnovers, with Berthold pushing Linton to committing 16 turnovers while making only 4 themselves.
In other quarterfinals action on Thursday, Shiloh Christian defeated Divide County 58-48, North Star rallied to beat Grafton 63-58, and Beulah trumped Central Cass 65-48.