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On their way to the 2010 North Dakota Class B boys basketball championship game, the Bombers knocked off the second-ranked Grovers and prevented Mr. Basketball candidate Adam Randall from seeing action in the finals.
In the end, though, the Carrington players just couldn’t miss the basket and Berthold finished second to the Cardinals, 59-65.
“This was a great game to coach in,” said head coach Brock Teets. “These are two pretty good basketball teams, who earned their way to the state tournament. Carrington was just that much better tonight. They deserved it.”
The game opened to the roar of the Bombers’ crowd as Dan Yale jumped in center court for Berthold. Carrington took first possession and dumped the ball quickly to 6’6” center Devin Barton for two points within the first 12 seconds.
Barton rang up 6 points in the next three minutes, but Berthold’s Michael White lit the Bombers side of the scoreboard with an inside shot, followed by a layup from Tyler Birdsall.
The Cardinals scored again, but Dan Yale electrified the crowd on an inside shot and a free throw, followed by another basket for a 9-8 lead at the 2:26 mark. The two sides spent the rest of the period exchanging shots as Jackson Unruh and Barton scored for Carrington and Matt Yale made his shots count for Berthold, including a banked shot with three seconds left that kept the Bombers within a point at 13-14.
The Bombers turned in a stellar second quarter, pulling down rebounds from Cardinal misses and adding the first seven points on a three-pointer by Bloms, a put-back by Dan Yale and a coast-to-coast lay-up from Matt Yale. With Berthold’s lead at 20-14, Carrington called a time-out and returned to the court with a play set up for Barton. Dan Yale answered with another inside shot, although Jacob Nelson and Barton came back with field goals for the Cardinals.
Matt Yale and Tyler Birdsall bumped the score to 25 points, with the Bombers playing sticky defense on the other end of the court. Carrington had the last word on three-pointers drilled by Easton Page and Erik Collins to give the Cardinals a 26-25 edge as the half ended.
Carrington opened with a basket from Page in the first few seconds, with a response from Matt Yale at the other end of the court. The Bombers played the Cardinals point-for-point for the next six minutes on baskets by Matt Yale and Dan Yale and an exciting 3-pointer from Birdsall. Facing the pressure of the Bombers’ half court defense, Barton, Unruh and Page added points for Carrington, while Kaleb Klein landed two 3-point attempts.
The Cardinals took a 43-38 lead with 30 seconds left to play in the period. Matt Yale roused the Bombers fans with an inside shot with 21 seconds left to go, but Page landed a shot at the buzzer for the 45-40 Cardinals’ advantage.
The fourth quarter was filled with action up and down the court, but a three-minute gap in scoring hurt the Bombers as their shots repeatedly bounced off the rim. Barton pulled off a three-point play by drawing a foul on Dan Yale, but Bloms responded on the next possession with a 3-pointer from the front of the basket.
The Bombers pressured the Carrington offense, so Chase Monson scored from the outside to give the Cardinals a 51-43 edge, followed by Bloms’ foul on Page for two Cardinal free throws and a shot by Collins to stretch the lead to 55-43 by the five-minute mark.
With just over four minutes left in the game, White sparked the Bombers with a couple of hard driving plays to the basket that resulted in free throws. Matt Yale followed with two free throws of his own, and White added a put-back to give Berthold 49 points. A 3-pointer from Matt Yale pulled the Bombers within six points, although Page made good on a free throw for a 59-52 Cardinals lead with just over two minutes left to play.
Dan Yale missed a pair of free throws after a foul by Barton, but the Bombers ran the court for the next minute, scoring six points on 3-pointers from Bloms and Matt Yale and adding another free throw by Yale after a foul by Monson on the shot attempt, to pull within a point at 59-60 with less than a minute remaining.
White’s fifth foul of the game came at the 45-second mark, sending Page to the line. The Yale brothers both missed shot attempts on the next possession, with the Cardinals’ Barton going to the line for a free throw and 62 points. Clinton Axelson’s tough defensive play sent Monson to the line for Carrington and another point at the 12-second mark.
Matt Yale sent up a three-point attempt for the Bombers that missed the mark, while Page’s final two free throws gave the Cardinals the 65-59 victory and state title.
“They’re a talented team, from their big post to their outside shooters,” Bloms said after the game. “Our inside-out game got us going and gave us a run back at it. We had to be patient and we were missing some shots, but every opportunity [the Cardinals] got, they executed.”
He acknowledged the tremendous support of the Bombers crowd, most of whom stayed after the game to encourage and cheer their players. “They were incredible,” he said. “Every fan was into it. When we made that run [in the fourth quarter], I’ve never heard anything so loud in my life!”
Matt Yale agreed with Bloms that Carrington was a great team to play in the championship. “We hit the panic button with five or six minutes left, but after the time-out, we buckled down and started going again. We knew we had that 12-point run in us,” he said.
He continued, “This is bittersweet, but I’d rather take second place in the state tournament with these guys. I wouldn’t take a state championship with any other team. This is such a special group to me, and that’s the best part of being here.”
Teets said the Bombers started strong on both ends, stopping Barton on the defensive side and putting up shots to match the Cardinals in the first half. “We had a lull in the third quarter and the first part of the fourth quarter, when we could not put the ball in the hole,” he said. “But I’m so proud of these kids. I knew we were gong to make the run. I was hoping to push that thing to overtime. I knew we had the momentum, but it was just a little too late.”
Matt Yale led all players in the game with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Only five Bombers entered the scorebook, as Dan Yale added 13 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double performance. Bloms had 9 points, White 8 points and 10 rebounds, and Tyler Birdsall 6.
All seven of the Cardinals who saw action on the court scored points, led by 18 from Devin Barton and 17 from Easton Page.
Both teams were averaging 46 percent in field goal shooting at halftime, but by the game’s end Berthold was 37 percent with 22 of 60, while Carrington stood at 50 percent with 23 of 46.
The Bombers committed only 7 turnovers in the game, compared to 10 for the Cardinals. Berthold grabbed a total of 37 rebounds and shot 60 percent from the charity stripe at 9 of 15. Carrington finished with 32 rebounds and 70 percent shooting in free throws at 14 of 20.
Matt Yale and Dan Yale were named to the 2010 Class B All-Tournament team for Berthold. They were joined by Devin Barton on Carrington, who was also named the Tournament MVP, Samuel Olson and Shayden Akason of Oak Grove, Brady Robbins and Brandon Chrest of Cavalier, Adam Randall of Kidder County, Austin Friesen of Shiloh Christian, Kasey Schmidt of Beulah and Devin Yellow Wolf of Mandaree.
Teets emphasized the importance of all 15 Bombers on the roster and the role of the team’s seniors, especially those who saw little time on the court at the state tournament. “It’s going to be tough to see these 10 seniors go,” he said. “There were those seniors who didn’t play much for us [at the state tournament], but I’m really proud of them, too. They’ve really pushed our starters in practice, and they work hard. They meant a lot to the team this year, and, in practices, I wish the fans could have seen these kids play.”
In Saturday’s other games, Beulah defeated Shiloh Christian for seventh place 78-67, Mandaree topped Fargo Oak Grove 90-85 for the consolation championship, and Cavalier stormed back from a 9-point halftime deficit to take third place over
In the first semi-final game of Friday’s evening session, the Bombers dominated the Pirates 63-47.
The Bombers crowd, which covered one full section and parts of three others in the reserved seating section along with most of the seats in the general section at the north end, roared their approval as Dan Yale put the first points on the board on an inside shot 13 seconds after Berthold took possession of the ball.
The two sides continued, trading points on inside shots until Wesley Nicholson sank a 3-point attempt for a 10-6 Pirates advantage. Bloms answered on the other end of the court, from the right corner and a full minute of up-and-down action followed with neither side able to find the basket. A time-out put the Bombers back on the floor ready to hit Bloms who made a drive and inside shot for an 11-10 margin. Norman Nicholson made his own inside shot for the Pirates 30 seconds later, but that was the last basket for
Meanwhile, the Bombers went to work on field goals by Matt Yale and Dan Yale and a free throw by Birdsall to end the quarter with an 18-12 lead.
The second half started with another Dan Yale foul on Randall, who sank one of two free throw attempts, but the momentum belonged to the Bombers for the rest of the period, starting at the 7:33 mark when Matt Yale scored on a turn-around jumper. Thirty seconds later, White was fouled on an inbounds play. He scored on the first free throw and missed the second but rebounded his own shot and put it back for a 23-13 margin.
Norman Nicholson drew a foul on Matt Yale and scored a pair from the charity stripe, but those were the Pirates’ last points for more than four minutes. The Bombers put up a tough defense and limited Randall to a single field goal in the half, while nabbing rebound after rebound. White and Bloms sent up 3-pointers, while Dan Yale, Taylor Langan and Josh Brown added baskets for a 35-15 lead.
Finally, with just over a minute and a half to play, Michael Kalianoff hit a shot. Then Berthold’s Clinton Axelson sent Jake Miller to the line after hard-nosed defense led to Axelson’s first foul. The Pirates couldn’t manage any more points against the wall of Bombers protecting the court, and the quarter ended 35-19 in Berthold’s favor.
A full minute passed in the third quarter before anyone scored, and then the field goal went to the Pirates on a Kalianoff shot. A strong defensive effort from both teams prevented further scoring until the 3:45 mark, when Randall found the basket again. The Bombers’ first points in the quarter came at 3:26 on an inside look by Matt Yale, but once they started, they couldn’t be stopped. Bloms added a jumper, followed by a Dan Yale shot inside and a free throw, and then two 3-pointers by Dan Yale and Brown. Randall added a pair of his own 3-pointers and Kalianoff had a pair of free throws on a Birdsall foul, but the Bombers ended the quarter with a comfortable 47-32 lead.
The Pirates could only get within 12 points during the fourth quarter as Kalianoff put up a Pirates’ miss for two and Randall added a free throw in the period’s opening minute. The Bombers got rolling at the 6:32 mark on a shot by Dan Yale, followed by a Matt Yale free throw after Randall’s third foul in the game and then another Dan Yale basket.
Kalianoff sent up a field goal and Wesley Nicholson drilled a 3-pointer as the Pirates reached 40 points, but Bombers’ attempts from Matt Yale and Clinton Axelson found the mark. Randall barked back with a field goal and a 3-pointer, and hit a shot with 2:29 left to play in the game, but those points proved to be the last for the Pirates. White took control for the Bombers, scoring a field goal on a Bloms feed with just over two minutes remaining, then sinking three of four free throws for a 63-47 lead.
Bombers fans chanted “Our house, our house,” while reserves Ian Hall, Matt White, Grant Peterson, Joey DeRouchey and Alex Bloms took the court and finished the game, which sent Berthold into the championship round.
As fans and team celebrated the win, Coach Teets smiled at their enthusiasm. “They’ve been working for this since they were five years old,” he said. “I hear these kids talking about it all the time. They’ve grown up together, they’ve done this together, and they appreciate what each other does. They play for each other.”
He noted the hustle plays of the first half. “That sparks us, getting an offensive put-back or getting a steal on the defensive end,” he said. “We feed off that energy. These kids feed off that crowd, and we feed off each other!”
The Pirates’ comeback in the second half was expected. “
He emphasized Dan Yale’s performance in the game. “He did everything for us tonight, including guard the best player in the state,” Teets said. “I don’t know what has gotten into him, but he’s energized right now. He has been a star for us these first two days. When he’s focusing and got his mind on it, he’s huge for us!”
The team knew Adam Randall would be the center of their attention on defense. “We had to focus on Randall,” said Birdsall. “We had to put the pressure on Randall whenever we could.”
“And box out on rebounds,” added Langan, who pulled down four in the game.
Axelson agreed guarding Randall was tough, but the team was ready for him. “All year long, we’ve played against Matt Yale in practice,” he said. “We’re guarding one of the best players in the state. That makes [someone like Randall] 10 times easier for us.”
Langan, Josh Brown and Axelson came off the bench for several minutes in the game. “When some of our other players got in [foul] trouble, we do our role,” said Brown. “We’re all friends. We’re all close. That’s what got us where we are now.”
They agreed with Birdsall that they arrived at this tournament with a strong desire to improve on their 8th place finish in 2009. “Last year, we didn’t know what to expect on the state stage,” said Birdsall. “We played tight. This year, we’re playing loose and as a team, and everything is clicking right now.”
Brown quoted from Birdsall’s television interview. “We have the mentality we can’t do any worse than we did last year!” he said.
“We don’t want to go out 0-3 this year,” added Axelson. “We can use last year’s experience to help us this year.”
“We wanted to come out tougher and get going early,” said Langan.
“Everything’s coming together for us right now,” said Birdsall, “and it’s a lot of fun to be on the court [here] with your friends!”
Teets directed praise back to all the squad’s seniors. “I can’t say enough about them,” he said. “[The ones who don’t start] are kids who would start on some other teams here. They’ve played in big games, and I have confidence in those kids.”
Two Bombers turned in double-double nights, with Matt Yale at 17 points and 11 rebounds and Dan Yale at 13 points with 10 rebounds. White returned to the court from a head injury on Thursday to score 11 points and pull in 6 rebounds, while Bloms had 10 points in the game.
Four other Bombers put their names in the book, too, with Brown adding 5 points, Birdsall 3, Langan 2 and Axelson 2.
Matt Yale dished off 5 assists in the game, while Bloms handed out 3 and Langan 2.
Randall led all players with 22 points for the Pirates, while Kalianoff scored 10.
The Bombers averaged 50 percent in field goals at the half and increased that to 53 percent by the game’s end, shooting 25 of 47. The Pirates were held to 19 percent field goal shooting through the first two quarters and finished at 28 percent, sinking 15 of 53.
Berthold dominated the boards, pulling down 40 rebounds while
In Friday’s second semi-finals game, Carrington demolished Cavalier 67-35. In consolation action, Fargo Oak Grove held back a Shiloh Christian rally to win 58-52 and Mandaree topped Beulah 71-60.
Berthold and Oak Grove thrilled fans in the first game of Thursday’s opening rounds by playing through two overtime periods before the Bombers knocked off the No. 2-ranked and previously undefeated Grovers, 91-82.
Oak Grove grabbed the first possession, but Berthold scored the first points a minute later as Dan Yale popped in a 3-point attempt. Tough defense held the Grovers scoreless, while the Bombers logged 11 points from a Bloms lay-up and free throw, a Matt Yale field goal and a Dan Yale jumper.
Shayden Akason found the basket for Oak Grove at the 4:51 mark, but White made good on a free throw after the next possession resulted in foul by Jordan Richards. Bloms made a lay-up despite the contact from Richards on the Bombers’ next offensive run, and then bumped the margin to 15-2 on a free throw.
Berthold went quiet for a couple minutes after a Dan Yale foul sent Dylan Dangerfield to the line, followed by a 3-pointer from Trey Larson and a pair of free throws on the next possession after a Taylor Langan foul. The Bombers came alive again with just under a minute in the quarter as Bloms and Dan Yale hit field goals. Larson added one more for the Grovers, but Berthold held a 19-10 advantage at the quarter’s end.
Dangerfield opened the second quarter on a field goal for the Grovers, followed by a free throw by Akason, but Tyler Birdsall drained a 3-point attempt for a 24-13 lead. Axelson, Langan and Birdsall sacrificed themselves setting screens for the Bombers’ offense, but their work paid off as Matt Yale and Dan Yale had several inside looks at the basket.
The crowd roared at a Matt Yale fake inside and pass out to Bloms for a 3-pointer. Another fan-pleasing play came two minutes later as Matt Yale passed to Dan Yale in the lane for a shot. However, the Grovers’ crowd was happy to see progress from their team on shots by Akason, Joshua Teigen and Sam Olson. A 3-point attempt by Drew Zaeske at the 2:25 mark reduced the Bombers’ lead to 31-28.
Dan Yale drilled a 3-pointer for a 34-28 margin just after blocking two attempts by Olson at the other end of the court. Olson answered with his own 3-point shot, but Matt Yale came back on an inside look to end the quarter with a 36-31 Bombers’ advantage at the half.
The two sides kept up the defensive pressure as the third quarter opened. Matt Yale, Dan Yale and Birdsall found the basket for the Bombers in the first half of the period, but the Grovers didn’t back down and added points from Akason and 3-pointers from Alexander Hesby and Zaeske to narrow the gap to a point or two.
Matt Yale and Axelson stepped up with shots to close the quarter, as did Akason and Olson for the Grovers. When the buzzer sounded and the dust settled, Berthold held a 50-47 lead.
Tough defense continued as the fourth quarter got underway. Olson finally came up with a basket after a minute and a half, but Larson earned a charging foul against Bloms on the next possession, then sent Bloms to the line on second foul moments later. Bloms made his free throws count, as did Matt Yale 30 seconds later, but Dangerfield capitalized on a steal for another basket. Berthold held a 55-51 lead, but two full minutes passed without any score as the defenses collided on the court.
A 3-pointer by Olson followed by a shot from Dangerfield tied the score at 55 with just under three minutes left. Matt Yale pushed Berthold ahead by one on a free throw, only to see Akason hit another field goal for 57 points. A foul by Dangerfield on the next play sent Yale back to the charity stripe for another basket to tie the score at 57, and a White basket with 1:42 left sent the crowd into a frenzy with the 59-57 lead. Lyndon Bloms picked up his second and third fouls playing sticky defense in the next few seconds, but Larson missed both his free throws. Matt Yale turned around to score another field goal for the 61-57 margin, but Zaeske hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left to pull within a point.
The Bombers went into a stall mode with their offense, running down the clock and drawing a foul that gave Matt Yale another free throw for a 62-60 lead, but Akason wasn’t ready to quit yet and scored on an inside look to tie the game at 62.
Dan Yale scored to open the first overtime period, but Akason responded with his own basket just seconds later. White went down on the shot and left the game with a suspected head injury. The Grovers took their first lead on free throws by Hesby in the next possession and then a basket by Dangerfield. Dan Yale, Birdsall and Matt Yale all answered back to tie the game at 69, then pulled ahead 71-61 on a Matt Yale drive. Akason had Dan Yale’s number and drew another foul to tie the score on free throws with 39 seconds remaining. The Bombers held the ball on the possession and stayed with their offense for a clear shot, taken by Matt Yale with 6 seconds left. The cheering Bombers crowd was silenced at the buzzer, however, as Akason’s attempt swished through the net for another tie.
Both teams looked visibly tired as they took the court for the second overtime. Once again, Dan Yale made a statement with a quick shot, mirrored at the other end by Larson. But while the Grovers hung with the Bombers for two minutes, Berthold proved to have the staying power and gradually pulled away on shots by Bloms, Birdsall, Matt Yale and Dan Yale.
Free throws proved to be key factors as both teams were in the bonus at this point, with Matt Yale sinking 4 of 4 in the period and Dan Yale going 3 for 4. Tanner Lloyd drilled a 3-point attempt for the Grovers and Richards scored what proved to be his team’s final point on a free throw, but Birdsall took a feed under the basket from Matt Yale with four seconds left and lifted it up for 91 points and the victory.
“It feels like we played about ten games in that one,” said Coach Teets. “They can kill you from so many directions. They’re a dynamic scoring team and they earned their points.”
Teets cited the mental toughness of the Bombers as one key element in the win. “The mental toughness of these players is the best I’ve seen,” he said. “Michael White goes down, we don’t hang our heads. Someone gets in foul trouble, we don’t hang our heads. And this [win] proves this team can win a high-scoring game. It showed we could keep up with them and answer their runs.”
He praised the reserve players for coming in to defend against the taller Oak Grover players. “We had to use Adam [Birdsall], Clinton [Axelson] and Taylor [Langan] to give us a little more height,” he said. “They came in and gave us some great minutes. I take my hat off to the bench.”
The overtime periods were new territory for the Bombers this season, but Teets said the team adjusted well. “So many things change and it’s about adjusting on the floor,” he said. “We did some things well, we did some things poorly, but in the end we did enough good things to win the game.”
Matt Yale hit the floor running, putting in a triple-double performance with 30 points to lead all players, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
Dan Yale was right behind him in a double-double game with 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Two other Bombers notched double digits, with Bloms scoring 14 points and Tyler Birdsall at 12.
White added 8 points along with 9 rebounds. Adam Birdsall and Clinton Axelson scored 2 points apiece.
The Grovers had three players score in double figures, with Shayden Akason at 27 points, Sam Olson at 14 and Dylan Dangerfield at 11.
The Bombers finished the game with a field goal average of 57 percent, shooting 33 of 58. They shot 61 percent of free throws at 20 of 33 and picked up 39 rebounds.
The Grovers averaged 48 percent from the field with 31 of 65 shots, and 55 percent from the free throw line at 12 of 22 shots. They grabbed 20 rebounds in the game.
Turnovers were high for both teams at 17 for Oak Grove and 21 for Berthold.
In the rest of Thursday’s action,