Dave Forthun's head-first slide during team introductions wasn't exactly graceful, but it set the tone for the rest of his performance in Thursday's third quarterfinal game at the Class B boys state basketball tournament.
Forthun is not a player or a coach. He is an energetic 63-year-old from Minot and a team host, who gets paired with squads at volleyball and basketball state tournaments. Officially, his job is to make visiting teams feel at home in the arena and throughout the city.
Unofficially, he embraces a more theatrical role of crowd pleaser. His enthusiasm doesn't go unnoticed.
Minot’s Dave Forthun, 63, whips a towel around his head to rile up the Trenton High School fans at the Minot State University Dome on Thursday. Forthun is the team host.
"Good job buddy!" a Trenton fan told Forthun following the Tigers' 54-52 win over Cavalier. "You lightened us up." Said Forthun: "We didn't have a lot of people, but we made a lot of noise."
If you didn't attend Thursday's session, you can see him today in Trenton's 8:15 p.m. semifinal. Forthun's shiny bald head is as recognizable as his kitchenware-patterned chef pants. He rallied the Trenton faithful by whipping a towel around his head during key moments, breaking into jigs during timeouts and combining the antics for television cameras.
"I don't know him," Trenton senior Blaine Durward said. "I just know that he took us up to the press box and he really got us pumped up. He really knows how to pump us up. He got into the game."
That's an understatement. Team hosts are introduced before the head coaches and Forthun wanted the MSU Dome to know Trenton was taking the court.
"I did the belly flop," he said. "They told me, 'You don't dare.' I said, 'It's gonna happen.' "
Adding up the wins
Milnor coach Ben Nelson teaches five disciplines of math before switching into shorts for practice each day.
The 32-year-old really likes working with numbers - algebra is a favorite - and he is currently studying for a Masters of Arts in Teaching Mathematics at Minot State University. He especially enjoys the simple math when his team is playing.
"I don't know how much it helps," Nelson joked about his teaching background. "I can add up how far behind or ahead we are in a hurry."
Milnor went down 15 points in a hurry, but rallied for a 60-56 win over Shiloh Christian in a quarterfinal game Thursday.
The Bison may be treated to an interesting statistic or two ahead of a semifinal against LaMoure-Litchville-Marion at 6 p.m. tonight.
"He's really into the statistics and stuff," Milnor senior Landon Mund said. "He's always got some weird statistics for us and always some fun stuff to hear."
The number one might make for a fun statistic. If the Region 1 champions win today it will be win 2(1) and put them one win away from program state title No. 1.
Sophomore leads Loboes in rebounding
Anthony Olson plays much taller than his listed height of 5 feet, 11 inches. A sophomore in a starting lineup with no player six feet or taller, Olson was dominant on the boards in LaMoure-Litchville-Marion's 52-49 win over Dickinson Trinity.
Olson was the only player in double figures for rebounding (12) and the Loboes outrebounded the Titans 26-25. He finished with 11 points. "This was one of those nights where I was feeling good and I felt like I could jump tonight," Olson said.
Dickinson Trinity came into the matchup as Titans in more than just nickname. All five starters ranged from 6-foot to 6-foot-7. Trinity senior guard Jacob Volk (6-3) attempted a two-handed dunk, but Olson raced from behind to get his hand on the ball. He was whistled for a foul, but established himself as a viable challenger inside.
"One of our bigger goals tonight was to rebound and stay consistent with keeping the ball under control and it worked," Olson said.