Shiloh Christian soars over Beulah in the first round
Powering his way to the basket and drawing a foul, Shiloh Christian senior Macauley Young had exerted his dominance for a double-double showing in the first 13 minutes.
The 6-foot-9 center was well on his way to a 17-point, 18-rebound outing to lead the No. 2 Shiloh Christian Skyhawks past the unseeded Beulah Miners, 54-46, in the first round of the Class B boys basketball state tournament at the Minot State Dome.
“I didn’t even know that,” Young said about his rapid double-double. “I just want to go out there and give it my all because it’s my last shot.”
Coming into the state tournament, Young was averaging 16 points and 13 rebounds per game.
“I challenged him and said the good players have to step up in these big games at the state tournament,” Shiloh Christian head coach Brad Miller said. “He did. He came to play today.”
Shiloh Christian (22-3), out of Region 5, jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the opening minutes. Beulah, from Region 7, scored its first points on a layup by Shane Yeager a little over four minutes into the contest.
The Skyhawks were locked in defensively, resulting in a 19-5 lead after the first quarter.
“Trey Brunelle is the MVP of the game,” Young said. “I have never seen any defense like that. He really stepped up big for us.”
Brunelle bodied up Beulah’s leading scorer, senior forward Chad Morsette Jr. (17 points per game), and held him scoreless for the first three quarters.
Morsette Jr. had torched Shiloh Christian for 35 points, including five 3-pointers, in the regular season meeting between the two teams on Feb. 5. Beulah won that contest, 73-68.
“We didn’t have Trey (Brunelle) guarding (Morsette Jr.) in that game,” Miller said. “But, we challenged Trey to shut him down this game and I think he did a pretty good job.”
Morsette Jr. shot 1-for-9 from the floor and made two free throws on Thursday for a total of four points.
“We have been preparing for (Morsette Jr.) and knew they were going to go to him,” Brunelle said. “It was just a matter of getting the job done. Playing tough defense.”
At halftime, Shiloh Christian was shooting 48 percent from the field and held a 31-19 advantage.
“We had to get a jump on them right away and just let them know who we are,” Young said.
Senior guard Canaan Fagerland drained back-to-back triples to put the Skyhawks up 41-24 in the middle of the third quarter.
Shiloh Christian junior forward Jaden Mitzel also scored six of his 13 points in the frame.
Despite Morsette Jr. only scoring his first points a minute into the fourth quarter on a steal and quick layup, Beulah did its best to hang around for as long as possible.
With 5:30 remaining, the Miners were back within single-digits, trailing 44-35.
Beulah freshman guard Trey Brandt (team-high 22 points) and senior guard Sean Gierke (11 points) had success from the outside with three triples apiece and were able to finish at the rim occasionally before Young came over for the block.
Brunelle also knocked down three 3-pointers on his way to nine points.
Beulah and Shiloh Christian shot 6-for-14 (42.9 percent) from deep.
“We had a nice inside-outside game today,” Miller said. “When they doubled our posts, we were able to kick it out and hit some three-point shots.”
Shiloh Christian advances to the state tournament semifinals this evening against No. 3 Richland. The Colts held on for a 65-63 victory over upset-minded Powers Lake.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 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.