With the No. 1 seed in the District 12 tournament on the line, the Des Lacs-Burlington boys basketball team looked like it might get blown out of the gym Saturday.
The Lakers trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, but calmly played their way back into the game. A timely 3-pointer by senior Chris Duke in the final minute coupled with classmate Cole Edwards' game-high 25 points fueled DL-B's 80-77 comeback victory over Berthold in the District 12 Showcase at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
The win locks up the top seed in the district tournament. With a 6-0 record against district opponents, which includes a head-to-head tiebreaker against second-place Our Redeemer's Christian School, the Lakers' district finale against Kenmare on Tuesday won't matter in the standings for DL-B.
Des Lacs-Burlington junior Brett Schaefer goes up for a shot against Berthold junior Austin Lee in the “District 12 Showcase” on Saturday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
Our Redeemer's sophomore forward Nathan Demme drives baseline against Surrey's Seth Aberle in the 'District 12 Showcase' on Saturday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
The Lakers (15-2 overall, 6-0 district) didn't take their first lead until the third quarter. A basket by DL-B junior forward Eric Knutson with 1:51 left in the third gave the Lakers a 56-55 lead.
The fourth quarter featured three ties and two lead changes and neither team led by more than six points. The Bombers (14-2, 4-2) scored the first four points of the final frame to retake the lead at 64-62. Edwards tied it at 64 and classmate Tanner Holte pulled the Lakers even one final time at 68-68 with 4:23 left. A trey by senior Mitch Medalen on DL-B's next possession put the Lakers in front for good.
"We have a veteran crew and they've been through some battles and they didn't want to go away quietly," DL-B coach Doug Wagner said. "They didn't fold, which they could have."
Duke hit the biggest shot of the game with his team leading by one with less than a minute to go. The 6-foot-5 wing drained a 3 from well behind the arc and salted the game away with two late free throws. All seven of Duke's points came in the second half.
"Playing a team like that you know they're going to make a run," Berthold coach Chris Brown said. "We knew they could score coming in and we were just going to have to weather the storm. They tightened up on defense a little bit and we had too many turnovers. When you play a good team like that you can't give them extra possessions and that's what we did tonight."
The Bombers looked poised early to hand DL-B its first district loss, knocking down seemingly every shot they put up. Guards Austin Lee and Mitchell White drained two 3s each in the first half. The two combined for 28 points in the first 16 minutes.
"It's rare for somebody to keep shooting the ball that well for 32 minutes, although they did keep shooting the ball well, just not exceptionally well," Wagner said.
Berthold's hot shooting had it up 25-13 at the end of the first quarter and it extended to 16 after a White 3 midway through the second.
"We worked the ball around well and played good defense," Lee said. "We got points off our defense. We set each other up for shots and we were able to capitalize. We shot the ball well right away."
The Lakers mounted their comeback from there, closing within four with 1:19 left in the first half. The Bombers scored the final four points of the half on free throws to take a 42-34 lead into the intermission.
"We knew we were going to start making shots we missed in the first half," Edwards said. "They shot very well in the first half and we thought if we picked up our defensive pressure a little bit that we were going to be all right."
DL-B senior center Thomas Steenstrup found his scoring touch in the third quarter, knocking down a pair of 3s - the second pulling the Lakers to within two. Steenstrup's final basket with 3:53 left in the third cut Berthold's lead to one.
With Berthold keying in on Holte and Duke, Edwards shredded the Bombers' defense. He scored 13 points in the first half and added 12 more in the second.
"You kinda have to pick your poison with DL-B," Brown said. "We were going to try and really limit Duke and Holte and Edwards stepped up to the plate and took control of the ball game."
Bishop Ryan 59, Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood 14
Twelve different players scored for the Bishop Ryan boys basketball team, with junior forward Jared Will leading the way with a game-high 16 points.
Ryan senior guard Brody Bosch was the only other player in double figures, scoring 12 points. Senior guard Nick Berentson added six and junior Brendan Backes and freshman Eli Kramer chipped in with four.
The Lions (11-4 overall, 4-2 District 12) limited the Mavericks to two points in the first quarter and just four at halftime. M-L-S didn't hit double digits until the fourth quarter. Burkley Santos led the Mavericks (2-16, 0-6) with five points. M-L-S hit more free throws (6) than baskets (4).
Ryan needed just one quarter to surpass M-L-S' final output, scoring 23 points before taking the foot of the gas the rest of the way.
The Lions travel to Westhope-Newburg on Monday.
Our Redeemer's 60, Surrey 45
The Our Redeemer's Christian School boys
basketball team escaped a trap game against Surrey with a 33-point second half.
With focus possibly on their upcoming matchup with Bishop Ryan on Tuesday, the Knights started slow and trailed the Mustangs 11-9 at the end of the first quarter. ORCS held a 27-26 lead at halftime.
The Knights distanced themselves in the third quarter, outscoring Surrey 20-7. All seven scorers registered points in the third. Sophomore forward Davis Koppinger led the way with a game-high 16 points. Senior Nick Stenvold and sophomore Nathan Demme also finished in double figures with 11 and 10, respectively.
Jacob Burckhard led the Mustangs with 12 points.
Kenmare 64, Glenburn 41
Hunter Harris netted a game-high 18 points and three others finished in double figures for the Kenmare boys basketball team.
In a matchup of 1-4 teams in District 12 play, the Honkers moved into a tie for the sixth seed with Surrey. Kenmare took a 34-20 lead into the intermission and the Honkers held on to a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Kirkland Melby (11), Kyler Melby (10) and Spencer King (10) also finished in double figures. Eight different players scored for the Honkers.
Trent Marquart led the Panthers with 15 points. Dustin Weeks added 12.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics and hockey. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.