Perfect finale

Burros claim state championship on Henningsgard triple at the buzzer

Garrick Hodge/MDN Hillsboro/Central Valley players celebrate winning the North Dakota Class B boys basketball state championship, while Four Winds/Minnewaukan's Tronis McKay (25) and Jacob Yankton (23) walk back to their bench after Kyle Henningsgard game-winning 3-pointer.

The net rippled. The clock struck zero. Hillsboro/Central Valley senior guard Kyle Henningsgard threw his arms up in the air. The student section rushed the floor. Confetti fell.

The Burros won their first state championship since 1981 on a 3-pointer by Henningsgard at the buzzer. No. 3-seeded Hillsboro/Central (24-3) stunned No. 1-seeded Four Winds/Minnewaukan (25-2), 63-60, in the Indians’ quest for a second consecutive title.

“Every basketball player dreams about that,” Henningsgard said, who finished with a team-high 15 points. “I just tried to make a play for the team. Coach trusts me, the players trust me and I was just able to put it up and it went in.”

Four Winds started hot from behind the three-point line with triples coming from seniors Irvin Tomahawk and Steve Redfox. The Burros didn’t back down, but couldn’t quite get the score evened up, as they got to within three points on five separate occasions in the opening minutes.

Al Christianson/Special to the Minot Daily News Four Winds/Minnewaukan guard Irvin Tomahawk (14) converts a layup against Hillsboro/Central Valley's Austin Reed (24) during the North Dakota Class B boys basketball state championship Saturday at the MSU Dome in Minot.

Then, senior Tanner Linnell drained consecutive 3-pointers at the end of the first quarter to give the Burros a 20-19 lead after the opening frame. Linnell scored 11 points in the first with three 3-pointer.

The Indians opened the first 1:59 of the second quarter with a 12-0 run. Tomahawk hit his third 3-pointer of the game and senior Tronis McKay took over with seven points during that stretch.

The Burros weren’t fazed; they had beaten Four Winds on its home court during the regular season.

“We knew that if we played our game tonight, then we have a chance to beat them, the ability to beat them,” Kyle Henningsgard said. “We stuck together when we got down and made runs back at them. And were able to pull it out.”

HCV junior Jack Camrud broke the Indians’ run with a free throw and a three-point play, 31-24.

Another Linnell triple and a free throw by Burros junior Cade Baesler with four seconds left before halftime had Four Winds’ lead down to a single possession at 35-33 going into the locker room.

Three players were already in double figures at halftime. Linnell led the way with 14 points with four 3-pointers, while Tomahawk and McKay both had 13 points for Four Winds on a combined 10-for-15 shooting from the floor.

The Indians outshot the Burros 65 percent to 39.3 percent in total field goals through the first half.

Missed shots and turnovers caused a slow start to the third quarter, Four Winds junior Charlie Black scored the only four points through the first four minutes of the frame.

Hillsboro got its first bucket of the second half on a 3-pointer from freshman Carson Henningsgard nearly five minutes into the quarter. Yet, a pair of free throws from senior Kyle Henningsgard only had the Burros down three, 41-38, with two and a half minutes to go in the third quarter.

Six points by McKay on a three-point play and a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left on the clock gave Four Winds a 49-42 lead going into the fourth quarter. McKay, the Senior Athlete of the Year, finished with a match-high 21 points.

With 6:08 remaining, Tomahawk countered a Camrud put back to give the Indians a 55-48 advantage.

Kyle Henningsgard then pulled the Burros back with a layup and a three-point play with 3:43 remaining, 57-55 in favor of Four Winds. He was far from done.

With the shot clock running down, Kyle Henningsgard sunk a 3-pointer on the run to give the Burros a 58-57 lead with 1:37 remaining. Redfox answered at the other end with a 3-pointer that clanked around the inside of the rim.

Beasler got a bucket inside with 42 seconds left to tie the score at 60-60. Then, after a stop on the defensive end, came the shot.

Kyle Henningsgard let the clock wind down.

“I wasn’t going to take a timeout,” HCV coach Elliot Rotvold said. “I don’t take that many during games anyways, so I trust the guys are going to make the plays. They know what to do. They are prepared for that situation. I’ll put the ball in Kyle’s hands, especially with the game tied.”

Henningsgard had the ball poked out of his hand and over to Reed then raced to the corner. Reed tossed the ball back to him and Henningsgard drained the walk-off 3-pointer.

“We tried to set an isolation and ball screen for Kyle,” Reed said. “He came off it and the ball kind of got tipped from behind and came into my hands. I looked up at the clock and saw that the time was ticking down and three blue jerseys were around me. I just heard him say ‘Reed.’ I passed to him in the corner, they got a good contest on it, but he got it off quick enough. When it hit the bottom of the net, that was awesome.”

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.