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Atop the throne

Mavericks top Knights, claim District 12 title

Justin Martinez/MDN MLS junior Adam Southam (1) attacks the rim for a layup during the Mavericks’ 43-33 win over Our Redeemer’s on Monday in the District 12 championship at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

After making an unlikely run to the championship game, the Knights ran into the one beast they couldn’t slay.

That beast wore No. 15 for Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood, as Isaac Undlin led the No. 3-seeded Mavericks to a 43-33 win over No. 5-seeded Our Redeemer’s on Monday in the District 12 championship to claim the title for his team.

In addition to dominating on offense, the senior led the Mavericks on the other end as well with a number of rejections in a game where MLS set the tone with its defense.

“Offensively and defensively, everyone knows that (Undlin) is our guy,” MLS head coach Brian Olson said. “I’m just really happy. We had talked about improving our defense a lot this year, and I think the proof is in the pudding.”

The first two quarters saw little separation between both teams, but it was MLS who entered halftime with a slim 18-15 lead in the low-scoring affair.

Now up 25-22 with 1:30 left in the third quarter, Undlin tipped the scales in his team’s favor. The 6-foot-5 center got some space behind the arc and made his defenders pay by draining the long-range bomb.

Two possession later, Undlin struck again. This time the senior attacked the heart of the Knights’ defense and banked in a two-footer at the buzzer to give the Mavericks a 30-25 lead entering the fourth quarter.

“You have to be able to score from all levels,” Undlin said. “That’s what our coaches have pushed with just a lot of shooting drills all year.”

Undlin caught the defense slacking on the very first play of the fourth quarter and drilled his second triple of the contest to extend MLS’s lead to 35-27.

But the Knights weren’t going down that easy, as Matthew Hendrickson had the answer after a few minutes where neither team scored.

The senior stripped the ball away on defense and went coast-to-coast for the silky-smooth layup to cut the Mavericks’ lead to 35-29 with 3:47 remaining.

Hendrickson did all he could to keep the Knights in the game, scoring 14 of his team’s 18 second-half points. But the senior’s efforts weren’t enough to overcome the six-point deficit in the final four minutes.

MLS junior Henry Savelkoul pushed the lead to double digits with a fast break layup in the closing seconds, and the buzzer sounded shortly after to give the Mavericks the 43-33 win and the title.

“Our Redeemer’s has been playing really well this whole tournament,” Undlin said. “But our focus this whole tournament has been to hold teams under 40 points. You’re going to win a lot of games doing that. I’m pretty proud of my team’s effort tonight.”

Matthew Hendrickson finished tied for a game-high with 16 points in the loss, while freshman Zachary Hendrickson and junior Landon Lang each totaled seven points.

Although the Knights had their eyes on the district title, the team now enters the region tournament knowing it can hang with the best of them.

“It kind of seemed like there was a cap on the rim for us,” ORCS head coach Brody Bosch said. “But I think (this tournament) gave our guys a lot of confidence. It showed that we kind do a lot more damage than people thought we could. Now we have to get back to work.”

Undlin tied for a game-high 16 points in the win, while junior Adam Southam recorded six points.

Like the Knights, the Mavericks are also heading to the region tournament at the Minot State Dome next Monday. For Undlin, he’ll be heading to the tournament for the first time to end his senior season.

“It’s a great feeling,” Undlin said. “It means a lot for my senior year, definitely…Now we have to show up and play well. Everyone wants to beat everyone, so it should be fun.”

Justin Martinez covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JTheSportsDude.

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