Tonight’s District 12 tourney title game is bound to be memorable

When Bishop Ryan and Our Redeemer’s Christian School take to the hardwood this evening at the Minot Municipal Auditorium in the Class B District 12 boys basketball tournament title game, an obvious question has to be asked – will it come down to a last second shot?

When it comes to district tournament play, the Knights have kind of made it a habit to leave everyone in suspense until the very end.

Saturday night’s game-winning basket by the Knights’ Jayden Wetzel is just the latest moment to remind us that March Madness isn’t limited to a single month, and is certainly not restricted to only the college ranks.

Wetzel’s former teammate, John Reiten, had a shot of his own last season that many in the Minot area won’t soon forget.

Reiten, a post player on the Knights’ roster last season, drained a shot near halfcourt at the buzzer to give ORCS a thrilling 53-50 overtime win over the Lions in last season’s District 12 tournament championship contest.

Reiten rebounded a missed free throw and drove the right side of the court, pulling up from just inside the halfcourt line and finding nothing but the bottom of the net as time expired.

Not only was it Reiten’s first career made 3-pointer at the varsity level, but it also gave ORCS its first ever district championship.

Now talk about a lot riding on one shot.

While the Lions haven’t forgotten about that heartbreaking finish, they clearly aren’t talking about it anymore.

“That was a year ago and a different team” Ryan coach Brock Teets said last week in a telephone visit. “It’s a new team and a new year. That was a great shot Mr. Reiten hit.”

So what is it about the Knights and their last second heroics in the postseason? Perhaps, preparation has played a big part in it.

“I had a coach who once told me that luck comes to those who are prepared,” ORCS coach Jeremy Feller said, following his team’s come-from-behind win over Lewis & Clark-Berthold Saturday night.

Will this evening’s contest be another thriller?

It absolutely should be. Both Minot schools bring out the best in each other.

Since that district tournament title game last season, the two schools played a back-and-forth contest in the Region 6 title game last season, with ORCS prevailing by six. And then on Jan. 24, the Knights had to rally in the fourth period to defeat the Lions 66-63.

In the case of Ryan, this evening could be as simple as the third time’s the charm. The Lions are playing in the title game for the third straight year. In addition to the loss to ORCS last year, Ryan also lost to Berthold in 2015.

The bottom line is this evening’s contest is bound to be memorable, and it’s going to be fun. And I simply can’t wait for it.

This is the opinion of Mark Jones, who covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MarkJones27_MDN.

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