Our Redeemer's Christian School boys basketball coach Jeremy Feller called it the Tanner Holte show, and it was sure worth the price of admission.
Holte, a 6-foot-4 senior forward, knocked down shot after shot all game long and finished with a game-high 40 points on 16-of-20 shooting in Des Lacs-Burlington's 73-63 victory against ORCS in the Region 6 semifinals Tuesday at the Minot State Dome.
The only thing that could stop Holte wasn't the Knights' defense, but foul trouble. He picked up his third foul a minute into the second quarter and his fourth with 4:22 left in the third, but still managed to record 29 points in the second half. The seventh-ranked Lakers (22-2) play unbeaten No. 1 Rugby in the region championship on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Des Lacs-Burlington senior Tanner Holte goes up for a contested layup against Our Redeemer’s junior Davis Koppinger during a Region 6 semifinal game Tuesday at the Minot State Dome. Holte finished with 40 points.
"He did a nice job to say the least," DL-B coach Doug Wagner said. "He sat seven minutes with foul trouble, so 40 points in 25 minutes isn't too bad. He's just that kind of kid. That's the kind of thing he can do, we just don't want to have him have to do that every night."
A breakaway layup by ORCS junior Davis Koppinger trimmed DL-B's lead to 64-59 halfway through the fourth quarter after the Lakers had led by double digits most of the second half. But Holte hit a pull-up shot from the wing and buried one of his two 3-pointers during a 7-0 run to push DL-B's back to 12.
"A few times down the stretch it would have been easy to quit," Feller said. "It would have been the easy thing to do, but we kept fighting. We made it interesting cutting it to five, but then Tanner Holte hits a couple shots. Sixteen of 20 from the field is pretty amazing, especially with the quality of shots he had to shoot. I can't speak enough about how amazing his performance was."
Holte was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line and grabbed eight rebounds. Most importantly, he avoided picking up his fifth foul in the fourth quarter.
"I just had to stay away from trying to contest shots," Holte said. "I had to just keep playing smart defense."
The teams played a back-and-forth first half with neither team leading by more than five points. The lead changed hands six times in the opening 16 minutes. Holte scored all 11 of his first-half points in the opening quarter before being whistled for his third foul with 7:01 left.
The Lakers weathered the storm without Holte on the floor as seniors Cole Edwards, Mitch Medalen, Chris Duke and Jayden Gunville hit shots. Gunville knocked down a jumper in the final seconds to give the Lakers a 31-26 lead at halftime. Edwards had a game-high nine assists.
"We shared the ball well, got some good looks," Wagner said. "We defended well, rebounded the ball well. We got beat in transition a couple times. We know Our Redeemer's is going to do that because they really focus on that. Foul trouble hurt us a little. We couldn't push the pace quite the way we wanted to."
While DL-B shot 57 percent from behind the arc, the Knights (19-5) couldn't buy a bucket, missing all 13 of their attempts. ORCS finished 36 percent from the floor.
Koppinger recorded a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Ben Talley (11) and Micah Jacobsen (10) also finished in double figures for the Knights.
Medalen was the only other Laker in double figures with 10 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics and hockey. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.