MLS knocks off newcomers Nedrose for a spot in the Region 6 semifinals

Alex Eisen/MDN Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood's Adam Southam goes up for a floater in the Mavericks' 60-45 win over Nedrose in the opening round of the Region 6 tournament at the Minot State Dome.

The Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood boys basketball team returned to the regional stage with its sights set on the program’s first state tournament berth since 1975.

The District 12 champion Mavericks (17-6) took another step toward that goal with a 60-45 victory over District 11 No. 4-seeded Nedrose (13-9) Monday evening in the first round of the Region 6 tournament.

“This is really exciting for the program,” MLS head coach Brian Olson said. “My first year as a head coach and they haven’t been to regionals in a while. So, we are really excited to be in the final four right now. We will enjoy this one for 15 minutes and then focus on whoever we get (on Tuesday).”

The Cardinals, making their first regional appearance in school history, were the new kids on the block. But, Nedrose didn’t have enough in the tank to pull off the upset.

The Cardinals at least kept things interesting in the first half, though.

Nedrose, using a 2-3 zone at times, hung with the Mavericks despite having 6-foot-5 sophomore center Donald Girod sitting on the bench with two early fouls.

A 3-pointer made by Jaxon Flermoen and a tough finish inside by Trevor Cannon saw the Cardinals only down a point after the first eight minutes, 10-9.

“I felt like we were a little bit nervous and didn’t have great ball movement,” Olson said. “Against a zone (defense), that is always a problem. That probably contributed to our first quarter. And we really didn’t get out in transition. So, our pace and tempo wasn’t very good.”

Holding a slim 15-13 lead, MLS went on a 9-2 run to get a little bit of breathing room.

MLS 6-foot-5 center Isaac Undlin led all scorers with 11 points at halftime and helped the Mavericks push their lead out to double-digits going into the locker room, 28-18.

“I thought we came out ready to go,” Nedrose head coach Matt Norby said. “Shooting was different. Shooting at an open back is tough for us. So, we struggled shooting the ball — partially because of that and probably some nerves.”

The Cardinals pulled within seven points twice in the second half, but MLS couldn’t be caught.

“Got to give it to them,” Norby said. “(MLS) plays great defense and are a very talented team. Both Undlin kids are really tough.”

Lucas Undlin scored 10 of his 18 points in the second half for the Mavericks.

“Our offense kind of kicked in that third quarter,” Lucas Undlin said. “And we figured out how to lock them down (defensively). We were good after that.”

Isaac Undlin pulled down 12 rebounds to go with his game-high 20 points. Riley Strand also finished in double figures for MLS with 10 points.

Nedrose was led by shifty guard Jethro Lauren with 17 points on 7-for-18 shooting. Girod finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.

“It was a successful season,” Norby said. “From four years ago when we won just two games to this year where we won 13 games and made regionals, that’s a big step for our program. A lot of that is due to the work ethic of our kids and our seniors being leaders.”

MLS advances to face last year’s state runner-up Bishop Ryan in the Region 6 semifinals. Tipoff for that contest is set for 6 p.m. at the Minot State Dome.

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