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Boys basketball: Late rally leads Cavalier to title

Brennan Thorlakson missed five of his first seven field-goal attempts. Then Cavalier coach Keith Hartz put the Tornadoes' region championship bid on Thorlakson's shoulders.

Comeback win
Brady Robbins celebrates Cavalier's 59-54 comeback win over Thompson in the championship game of the Class B Region 2 tournament Thursday in Grand Forks. (John Stennes, Herald staff photographer)

Brennan Thorlakson missed five of his first seven field-goal attempts. Then Cavalier coach Keith Hartz put the Tornadoes' region championship bid on Thorlakson's shoulders.

"Coach told me the fourth quarter was mine,'' Thorlakson said. "We were having trouble getting the ball inside so he wanted me to start shooting. I like that situation.''

So did the Tornadoes.

Thorlakson poured in four 3-point baskets in the final quarter, sparking Cavalier to a come-from-behind 59-54 win Thursday against Thompson in the title game of the North Dakota Class B Region 2 boys high school basketball tournament at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

Through the first three quarters, Cavalier had made only one basket from beyond 10 feet, a Thorlakson trey late in the first half. But the junior guard was 4-of-5 from beyond the 3-point line in the final quarter.

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His first two sparked an 8-2 run to open the quarter and pull Cavalier within 46-45.

The final two tied the score at 48, then gave Cavalier the lead for good at 51-48 with 3:05 remaining. It was Cavalier's first lead since the Tornadoes went up 2-0.

"I missed a few early. I had to get into a rhythm,'' said Thorlakson, who finished with 19 points -- one less point than the combined total he'd scored in Cavalier's first four playoff games. "Once I made that first one (in the fourth quarter), I felt I could keep hitting them.''

Thompson was still within 55-52 after a Brandon Weber basket with 1:27 remaining and 56-54 after two Garret Reineke free throws with 33 seconds left. But Brady Robbins was 3-of-4 on free throws down the stretch to ice the win.

Robbins, a 6-foot-2 guard, and 6-5 center Brandon Chrest had 17 and 20 points, respectively, as Cavalier pounded the ball inside against the shorter Tommies.

"Our kids were a little gun shy from the outside because we haven't been shooting well from out there, so they were looking to get the ball inside,'' Hartz said.

"Brennan has been our outside threat. We needed somebody to get things done. It didn't have to be threes; we were looking for anything. But Brennan was the show; he got us the championship.''

Thompson held leads of 17-10, 31-24 and 44-37 at the quarter breaks, building its lead to as much as 43-33 with three minutes left in the third. Reineke was the sparkplug, as he finished with 30 of his team's 54 points.

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"We wanted to keep Robbins and Chrest in check,'' Thompson coach Mark Hegg said. "But Thorlakson got hot. We didn't rotate out quickly enough on him; he got enough time to get good looks and that was the game.

"I think we got a little tight in the fourth quarter, and when they started hitting their shots, we started rushing our offense.''

Thompson closed its season with a 21-4 record.

Cavalier takes a 17-7 record to the state tournament, which begins next Thursday in Minot. The Tornadoes meet Region 7 champion Beulah in the third game of the day.

Grafton 77, Midway-Minto 66: Grafton used a big third quarter to win the third-place game.

The teams were tied at 35 at halftime, but Grafton outscored the Mustangs 22-10 in the third quarter, with posts Cody Dravland and Eric Torkelson scoring nine and seven, respectively, in the quarter. Dravland finished with 23 points to lead the Spoilers, with Torkelson scoring 21.

Philip Schanilec had a game-high 29 points to lead Midway-Minto, with Daniel Diaz adding 14.

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