Hoopster Classic breakdown
Martell buzzer beater for Rolla highlights holiday hoops action
Clock winding down in the third game of the Hoopster Classic at the Minot State Dome, Rolla senior guard Weston Martell flipped up a shot at the rim in desperation. It dropped with a kiss off the glass.
The buzzer-beating runner in the lane completed a 14-point second half comeback for the Rolla Bulldogs (3-3) to edge past the Des Lacs-Burlington Lakers (3-3) in dramatic fashion, 45-43.
“The give-and-go was there (with Kody Schlenvogt), so I gave it to him and he gave it back to me,” Martell said. “I looked up and saw there was about four seconds. One of the guys stepped out at me and (the ball) bobbled off my knee. I knew I needed to throw up a little prayer there. It went up and everything was good from there… It’s one of the greatest moments of my life.”
Behind the sharpshooting of senior guard Trevor DeCoteau, Rolla led 14-11 after the opening quarter. DeCoteau buried three high-arcing 3-pointers in a first quarter that featured six triples from the two teams combined.
The Lakers took the lead by force in the second quarter with a 12-0 run. Jacob Burleson, Brayden Bonn, Dante Gunville and Will Pearson all contributed offensively in the spurt. DLB led 26-20 at halftime.
Pearson finished with a game-high 16 points.
After the Lakers scored the first eight points of the second half to lead 34-20, Martell put the Bulldogs on his back with seven straight points. He had only scored two points prior to that.
Rolla erased a seven-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter with a full-court press and a stout defense to hold the Lakers to seven points in the last eight minutes.
In the final minute, Rolla senior center Schlenvogt was fouled for a three-point play but missed the ensuing free throw to keep the score tied at 43-43. DLB threw away an inbounds pass with 7.8 seconds left to gift the Bulldogs the last shot of regulation.
The drawn up play worked somewhat as planned for the 45-43 win.
“It didn’t pan out exactly how we drew it up,” Rolla head coach Chad Leas said. “But, eventually it did the trick because we wanted Weston Martell to go one-on-one.”
TGU vs. Berthold
The day tipped off with a showdown between Lewis & Clark-Berthold (4-1) and TGU (5-2), where the Bombers leaned on their upperclassmen en route to a wire-to-wire 67-48 victory.
The first quarter was owned by the Bombers’ dynamic senior duo of Tommy Burke and Cole Erickson. Erickson totaled 14 points and drained a pair of threes, while Burke added in 10 points with a series of layups to combine for all of Berthold’s first-quarter points and give the Bombers a 24-13 lead at the break.
“(Burke) and I have been playing together for a long time,” Erickson said. “We know what each other are thinking on the court and when to pass it, so we have good chemistry.”
The Titans cut the deficit to as few as three points in the second quarter with a six-point scoring burst by sophomore Cy Luna but were never able to capture the lead as Berthold went on to secure the 67-48 win.
Shayden Luna tallied 16 points in the loss, while senior forward Tanner Shock finished with 12 points. Erickson racked up a game-high 31 points in the win, and Burke chipped in 26 points.
“I thought we played pretty well and executed,” Berthold head coach Christopher Brown said. “Everyone stepped up and filled their role, and that’s why the scoreboard looked the way it did.”
Benson County vs. Westhope-Newburg
Game No. 2 of the day belonged to Benson County’s Kaddin Neppl.
Although Benson County (4-1) only led Westhope-Newburg (0-5) by one point at the end of the first quarter, the Wildcats ultimately broke away and held on in a game where three-point shooting proved to be the difference maker.
“It took a little while for us to get going at first,” Benson County head coach Bob Buckmier said. “But we did enough to win, and that’s always the objective.”
After sinking a pair of threes in the first quarter, Neppl carried his hot hand into the second quarter. The junior guard drilled another three triples to help extend the Wildcats’ lead to 33-25 at halftime.
But Neppl was far from finished. The 6-foot-2 guard added another three triples to his resume in the second half, finishing with eight makes from deep and a career-high 25 points.
“I don’t know what’s up with this gym, but I like it,” Neppl said. “It’s a nice feeling scoring like that, and this is going to help me a lot moving forward.”
Tying in points with Neppl was Westhope-Newburg’s Wyatt Lemay, who did his damage from up close with a series of layups and 4-for-9 shooting from the charity stripe. But Lemay’s performance wasn’t enough as the Wildcats claimed the 68-55 victory.
Langdon Area/E/M vs. Our Redeemer’s
Twenty-three unanswered points was the recipe for success for the Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich Cardinals (4-1) in the fourth game of the day against the Our Redeemer’s Knights (1-4).
The dominating run came at the end of the first half and lasted for the majority of the third quarter. In the aftermath, the Cardinals coasted to a 68-49 victory.
After trading baskets in the first quarter, LAEM found some breathing room with a 14-5 run to close out the first half with four different Cardinals scoring.
The nine-point LAEM halftime lead, 35-26, expanded quickly with the Cardinals scoring the first 16 points of the second half. Our Redeemer’s was held scoreless for over six minutes.
Zachary and Matthew Hendrickson took over the scoring for ORCS late in the contest, but the double-digit deficit was too much to overcome. They led the Knights in scoring with 19 and 18 points, respectively. No other ORCS player had more than four points.
Four Cardinals finished in double figures: Grant Romfo (19), Simon Romfo (16), Blaine Perry (16) and Alex Lowery (10).
Beulah vs. Rugby
Harassing zone defense, a third quarter burst and Trace Goven was enough for the No. 7-ranked Rugby Panthers to shake off the holiday rust and remain unbeaten on the season.
Rugby (5-0) held off Beulah (3-3) in the penultimate game of the day, 52-47.
“We kind of knew it was going to be a grinder with Beulah because they always play really good defense,” Rugby head coach Mike Santjer said. “They are physical. We missed some shots. But, they are a good team and we grinded this one out.”
Through three quarters, Rugby had built up a 10-point lead, 42-32, mostly because it outscored the Miners in the third quarter, 17-9.
The sheer length of the Panthers had Beulah flustered at times in breaking down their difficult 1-3-1 zone.
“I think it slowed them down,” Santjer said. “We were able to take them out of the speed of their game and the tempo that they wanted to play.”
Trace Goven was Rugby’s go-to scorer, dropping 22 points with six points coming in the fourth quarter.
“It was nice to see him come out of his shell,” Santjer said about Goven. “He hasn’t really come out this year and play all that great for us. So, this was a nice sight to see. If he starts rolling, then that gives us another option, which is great.”
Beulah, not going away, got within three points in the final minute after a pair of 3-pointers from Sean Gierke and Chad Morsette Jr.
Rugby junior forward Jaden Hamilton, who only shot 1-for-10 from the field, iced the game by making two free throws, 52-47.
Dickinson Trinity vs. Thompson
In a game where there was already little room for error, an eight-minute loss of control proved fatal for the Titans.
Friday’s slate of games ended with a failed comeback attempt, as No. 2-ranked Dickinson Trinity (5-1) suffered a 49-39 loss to the top-ranked Thompson Tommies (6-0). The nail in the coffin came at the end of the first quarter and in the first half of the second quarter when the Titans surrendered a 17-0 run, giving Thompson a 25-9 lead.
Although Dickinson Trinity outscored the Tommies by six points the rest of the game, the substantial deficit was enough for Thompson to secure the victory.
“It starts with getting out on transition,” Thompson head coach Brandy George said. “That opened up some opportunities for us. It’s a game of runs, and fortunately we had a long one there that allowed us to get the win.”
Trailing by as much as 15 points in the second half, the Titans managed to give Thompson a scare in the closing moments of the fourth quarter. Dickinson Trinity cut the lead to just six points with 1:45 remaining thanks to a ferocious full-court press that resulted in numerous turnovers and easy layups.
But the Tommies didn’t break. Thompson withstood the push and sank some clutch free throws down the stretch for the 49-39 win.
Dickinson Trinity’s Aric Knopik recorded a team-high 11 points and seven rebounds in the loss, while senior forward Hayden Overby finished with a game-high 14 points for the Tommies.
The road won’t get any easier for Thompson. The team will take on No. 6-ranked Bishop Ryan today at 6 p.m. as part of a six-game Dale Brown Classic at the Minot State Dome.
“We really like playing these types of games,” Overby said. ‘It’s always good to play teams you might see later on. We pride ourselves in our tough schedule.”
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