MINOT - The Thompson Tommies look determined to hog a third championship.
Already the reigning Class B American Legion baseball and football champions, the top-ranked Tommies blew through Ellendale 58-49 Thursday in the first round of the state Class B boys basketball tournament.
Senior guard Cadyn Schwabe scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half as Thompson won going away. The tournament's top seed kept its hopes of winning a state championship in its first appearance alive by riding a big second half from Schwabe. He scored 11 points in the third quarter.
"Cadyn's speed is something that's hard to stay with. That's in our DNA to get up and down the floor," Thompson coach Brandy George said. "When we did, we got some easy baskets."
For a successful group like Thompson, it took little time to shake off tournament jitters, according to Schwabe.
"This is new to all of us, it's kind of a different thing," Schwabe said. "We've done it in baseball and football but never in this. Obviously, there's going to be some nerves. Once that tip goes up, you loosen up."
While Thompson (24-1) got contributions from six players, Ellendale played a two-man game - literally - until the last minute. Senior guard Austin Molan and freshman post Scott Wagner scored all but one of Ellendale's first 38 points. The only other player to score was Hunter Thorpe with a free throw until Wyatt Henningson hit a jumper with 1:08 to play.
Molan finished with 23 points and Wagner 18 to go with 12 rebounds.
"They're just really good," George said. "Their guard is good and they're physical. Give them credit."
Hunter Thorpe's free throw with 23.8 seconds left in the third quarter was Ellendale's first point by anyone not named Molan or Wagner.
The teams exchanged baskets in the early going. Molan and Wagner combined for all the Cardinals' 22 first-half points.
The Tommies countered with a balanced effort that left the game tied 12-12 with 1:27 left in the first quarter. They scored the last seven points of the quarter to go up 19-12 and extended the lead to 10 points three times in the second quarter.
The second half began with four straight Ellendale turnovers, and Schwabe went to work. He had 11 points in the third quarter.
Thompson will play the winner of the second semifinal between Bishop Ryan and New Rockford-Sheyenne in tonight's semifinals. Ellendale (15-11) will play the loser of that game in the consolation round.