District 12 boys basketball tournament begins

Al Christianson/Special to MDN Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood's Trevor Savelkoul shoots over a St. John's player during a high school boys basketball game earlier this season in Mohall.

As the Class B girls basketball tournaments wind down, the District 12 boys basketball tournament is here to crank up the heat. Four of the eight District 12 teams will advance to the Region 6 tournament to fight for their ticket to state.

Each team may have the means, now they need to put in the work. Here is an overview of the teams participating in the district tournament, in order of seed, at the Minot Municipal Auditorium beginning today.

No. 1 Bishop Ryan

Players to watch: Ben Bohl, Mason Hedberg, Caden Shean.

Overall, the Lions have a 17-2 record and have defeated every team in District 12.

The Lion’s fell to Bottineau (District 11) on Jan. 13, 58-57, and to Dunseith (District 8) on Jan. 22, 75-66.

“We’ve played pretty well since we lost to Dunseith,” Bishop Ryan head coach Jeremy Feller said. Feller puts the emphasis on the Lion’s defense, saying they’re a defense first kind of team and that as long as they can dictate the pace early, they should be in business.

Bishop Ryan is led by a competent group of seniors and veterans to the postseason madness, something Feller says the team is fortunate to have.

Seniors Anthony Vetter and Shean have clocked in a lot of playing time and experience for the Lions, as well as juniors Bohl and Hedberg.

Bohl leads the team in scoring with 367 points this season, followed by Hedberg at 330 and Vetter at 273.

“We have a pretty good district this year,” Feller said, noting Our Redeemer’s, Des Lacs-Burlington and Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood as real threats. “You catch any of these teams on the wrong night, it could be an upset.”

The Lions face No. 8 South Prairie at 3 p.m. today.

No. 2 Our Redeemer’s

Players to watch: Leyton Lang, Tayten Reid, Jayden Wetzel.

The ORCS Knights are looking towards senior leadership to guide them through the District 12 tournament. This season, the Knights have gone 16-3, taking losses from Shiloh Christian (60-55), Bishop Ryan (66-45), and Stanley (70-65). Though Bishop Ryan seems to be the team to beat for the Knights, head coach Mark LaCroix says the team is focusing on getting to the final.

The Knights won two out of their last three games and is looking to carry that momentum into the tournament.

“We’re looking to our seniors to play like it’s their last district tournament,” LaCroix said.

Seniors Noah Abel, Greyson Olthoff, Lang, Reid and Wetzel have all proven vital to the Knight’s scoring efforts and defensive strength.

The Knights face No. 7 Surrey at 6 p.m. today.

No. 3 Des Lacs-Burlington

Players to watch: Arron Grandy, Josh Knutson, Eddie White Bear.

DLB ends the regular season with a notable 12-6 record, losing close games to Velva, 64-62 on Dec. 9, and Bottineau, 63-62 on Dec. 15, that are hard to ignore.

“We believe we have as good a chance as anybody to have success in the tournament,” DLB head coach Tyler Ystaas said. Shooting power from Grandy (299 points this season) helps stretch the defense while Knutson’s athleticism and presence on the inside makes him a big shooting threat as well (275 points).

Josh Duke and White Bear put in work on the defensive end and, as long as they are all working cohesively, could pose a threat to any team in their wake.

The Lakers will play No. 6 Lewis & Clark-Berthold at 7:30 p.m. today.

No. 4 Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood

Players to watch: Cole Southam, Isaac Undlin, Chase Gates.

The Mavericks have earned a 12-7 record in the regular season, clocking in a big win against Stanley on Feb. 5, winning 64-63 to knock off the Blue Jays’ winning streak.

MLS junior Undlin has been the leading scorer for the Mavericks in their past three games before the tournament. Consistently scoring in double digits, Undlin has the firepower to lift the Mavericks to regionals.

Senior Southam has been a leader for the team and does a great job getting the ball where it needs to go while also putting up some points himself.

As for their other top scorers, the Mavericks have been trading off who appears in the top three and have shown anyone on their team can have a good night.

The Mavericks play No. 5 Glenburn at 4:30 p.m. today.

No. 5 Glenburn

The Glenburn Panthers have had an even 7-7 record this year, with not so even scoring. The Panthers have seen big scoring efforts from senior Trent Marquart and sophomore Matthew Dufner. Marquart scored 27 points against Powers Lake and 30 against Des Lacs-Burlington. Dufner put down 15 and 20 points in those past games.

Will the Panther’s lopsided offense be enough to overpower No. 4 MLS? Previously, the Panthers lost to the Mavericks 64-44 on Jan. 12.

No. 6 Lewis & Clark-Berthold

The LCB Bombers are coming off of a six-game losing streak heading into the tournament. Overall this season, they are 5-14 with a defense that has allowed 1,158 points against them all season (an average of about 61 points per game).

The Bombers have been led in scoring by Thomas Burke in their last four games, putting up an average of 24 points between them.Cole Erickson Erickson and Reese Hennessy appear in the top scorers as well.

The Bombers previously lost to the Des Lacs-Burlington Lakers 66-43 on Jan. 12.

No. 7 Surrey

The Surrey Mustangs have gone 6-13 this season while struggling, most of the time, to make it past the 60-point mark in a game.

However, the team snagged a notable District 12 win earlier this season to No. 5 Glenburn on Dec. 16 where they were able to best the Panthers 55-29 at the Velva invitational. On their second meeting, the Panthers defeated the Mustangs Feb. 2, 70-62.

Though Travis Patterson and Cody Fuchs have been consistently able to score double-digits in their past three games, it could be a struggle against the No. 2 ORCS Knights today.

The Mustangs fell to the Knights earlier this season on Jan. 15, losing 68-30.

No. 8 South Prairie

To round out District 12, the South Prairie Royals come in behind the Mustangs with a 3-15 record, collecting wins from Surrey, Max and Center-Stanton.

Their win against Surrey on Dec. 15, where the Royals won 53-44, was matched on Jan. 30 when the Mustangs came back to win 52-29.

South Prairie will face Bishop Ryan today. In their last game together, the Mustangs were only able to put up 10 points, while the Lions were able to 67.