N.D. REGION 2 BOYS BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT: Midway-Minto, North Border in final
Curt Enger was struggling. Through the first three quarters, the Midway-Minto guard was just 1-for-5 shooting from the field. But he still had the green light. "We know he'll hit eventually," Midway-Minto coach Shane Robinson said. "When we need ...
Curt Enger was struggling. Through the first three quarters, the Midway-Minto guard was just 1-for-5 shooting from the field.
But he still had the green light.
"We know he'll hit eventually," Midway-Minto coach Shane Robinson said. "When we need a big basket, he's one of the guys we look to."
That faith paid off. Enger hit two long shots early in the fourth quarter to help the Mustangs take a six-point lead. Midway-Minto never relinquished the lead, holding off two-time defending champion Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg 47-46 on Tuesday in the semifinals of the North Dakota Class B Region 2 boys high school basketball tournament.
Midway-Minto will meet North Border in the 7:45 p.m. championship game Thursday in the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. North Border advanced with a 63-54 semifinal win against Park River.
Enger broke a 31-all tie to start the final quarter with a trey from the left wing. After Ben Knudson hit a free throw for the Patriots, Jacob Narloch answered with two free throws. Enger then hit a shot from just inside the 3-point line on the left wing with 5:33 left for a 38-32 Mustangs lead.
"I was pretty cold there for a while," Enger said. "But Mr. Robinson told me to keep playing my game, to keep shooting when I'm open.
"I was a little confident. But I'm not used to the open background here. I was hoping they'd go in."
Said Patriots coach Dave Nelson: "Those shots were big plays. They separated the score. That allowed them to use the clock and forced us to foul down the stretch."
Midway-Minto didn't hit another field goal, but was 9-for-13 on free throws in the final three minutes. Four times the Patriots cut the deficit to three, only to have Midway-Minto increase its margin with free throws. Justin Mozinski's free throw with 11 seconds left gave the Mustangs a 47-43 lead, enough of a margin as Luke Lorenz hit a 3-pointer with one second left.
Lorenz finished with 18 points and Dustin Klath 15, but their teammates only managed 13.
"We played good defense," Robinson said. "We got in their shooters' faces.
"The key was holding Luke down and, for the most part, we did that. Jacob Narloch matched up with Luke and made it tough for him to score. We limited his touches."
Mozinski had 13 points, Stephen Mondry 11 and Enger 9 to pace the balanced Midway-Minto attack.
North Border 63, Park River 54: With both teams struggling to find consistency on offense, North Border's domination on the boards was crucial.
The Eagles, despite being outrebounded by six in the first quarter, finished with a 48-38 edge on the boards. Senior 6-foot-4 Paul Meyer (12 points, 13 rebounds) and 6-4 sophomore Mike Smith (13 points, 10 rebounds) each had a double double to lead the Eagles' inside game.
"We couldn't get into a flow on offense," North Border coach Cooter Symington said. "It was kind of a sloppy offensive game for both teams. Defensively, we played well, and so did Park River. But we were able to hold them to one shot and out a lot, and we had some big offensive boards."
Said Aggies coach Rob Scherr: "We got very few second-chance shots. And (rebounding) is their forte. We knew we had to eliminate their second shots and make our first ones."
Park River never led after North Border went on a 9-2 run to end the first quarter with a 17-13 advantage. The Eagles led 27-17 at halftime and 44-39 after three.
Two mid-range jump shots from the right side by Tanner Carpenter, who led the balanced Eagles with 14 points, put North Border on top 53-45 with 3:38 left.
"It was hard to get a knockout punch," Symington said. "They wouldn't go away. But Tanner hit a couple of key hoops to stretch the lead out."
Nick Chaput also reached double figures for the Eagles with 11 points.
Max Otto had 18 points and Ryan Waechter and Jay Jelinek each scored 11 for the Aggies. Park River was hurt by the limited playing time by standout Justin Moe, who was playing on an injured ankle and also was in foul trouble most of the game. "The ankle was bothering him," Scherr said.