The Des Lacs-Burlington boys basketball team has been the top team in District 12 all year and now they have a championship to prove it.
Unlike its first meeting of the year against Berthold 12 days earlier, the Lakers grabbed the lead early and never gave it up, downing the Bombers 75-59 in the District 12 championship game on Saturday at the Minot Municipal56 Auditorium.
Like it has in so many games this season, DL-B's "Big 3" of senior Tanner Holte, Chris Duke and Cole Edwards led the way, combining for 54 points. DL-B senior Eric Knutson also finished in double figures with 14 points.
It didn't take long for DL-B to find its shooting touch. The Lakers hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter and three more in the second as they led by double figures throughout the latter part of the first half. Holte knocked down four treys, Duke hit two and Edwards had one.
Berthold scored the game's first five points before DL-B countered with a 10-0 run. Duke's first bucket gave the Lakers a 7-5 lead the first and only lead change of the contest.
"Tonight, we were tired and (DL-B) wanted it and they deserved it," Berthold coach Chris Brown said. "Their seniors were not going to be denied tonight. Tanner Holte wasn't going to let us win this game. He played really well and we just dug ourselves a hole and couldn't fight back."
The "Big 3" was responsible for DL-B's first 21 points and 34 of its 45 first-half points as the Lakers led 45-35 at the intermission.
"We were hitting a lot of shots and so was Berthold," DL-B coach Doug Wagner said. "We were pleased to be up by 10 at the end of the first half, but we weren't happy with our foul situation. That could have been a little more of a desperate situation than it was, but the guys finally locked in and got a little bit sharper and made better decisions when they had four fouls. I wish it would have come a little earlier, but better late than never."
Holte and senior Mitch Medalen battled foul trouble in the second half. Medalen picked up his fourth in the third quarter and Holte was whistled for his third with 1:21 left in the first half.
DL-B was held without a 3 in the second half, but it clamped down defensively and never allowed Berthold within 10 points. The Lakers held Berthold senior Austin Lee to seven points in the second half after allowing him to net 14 in the first 16 minutes. Lee hit just one shot in the third quarter as senior Mitchel White did the bulk of the second-half scoring, finishing with 23 points.
"The kids really defended well," Wagner said. "I was really pleased with how they defended the second half."
Our Redeemer's 63, Surrey 56
Our Redeemer's Christian School clinched the No. 3 seed in the Region 6 tournament after holding off upset-minded Surrey in the second half of its region-qualifier on Saturday.
ORCS sophomore John Reiten scored a team-high 18 points and sophomore Josh VanLith (12) and junior Davis Koppinger (11) also finished in double figures.
Noah Knipp poured in a game-high 21 points for the Mustangs.
The teams were tied at 29 at the intermission.
Bishop Ryan 56, Kenmare 46
Bishop Ryan led by 12 at halftime and held a double-digit lead throughout the second half to earn the No. 4 seed in the region tournament.
Ryan senior Brody Bosch finished with a game-high 15 points with Jared Will and Tyler Daws each chipping in 11. The Lions led 39-27 at the end of the third quarter.
Kirkland Melby led the Honkers with 12 points.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics and hockey. Follow him on Twitter @Mkraft23_MDN.