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BOYS BASKETBALL: Our Redeemer’s edges Strasburg-Zeeland 61-58 in quarterfinals

MINOT -- Minot Our Redeemer's gave a hard lesson to Brent Kleinsasser. "I didn't know they shot so well on threes,'' Kleinsasser, the Strasburg-Zeeland boys high school basketball coach, said. "They did. And we didn't stop them.'' Our Redeemer's ...

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Strasburg's Brady Nieuwsma (4) drives past Our Redeemers' John Reiten (23). TOM STROMME Tribune

MINOT -- Minot Our Redeemer's gave a hard lesson to Brent Kleinsasser.

"I didn't know they shot so well on threes,'' Kleinsasser, the Strasburg-Zeeland boys high school basketball coach, said. "They did. And we didn't stop them.''

Our Redeemer's went long distance to spark a fourth-quarter comeback, then hit free throws down the stretch to edge the Clippers 61-58 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B state tournament.

Strasburg-Zeeland took a 47-43 lead with 5:55 remaining on a Jacob Eberle free throw. The Knights followed with a 12-2 run. The spurt included a pair of 3-point baskets by Nathan Demme and two pull-up jump shots from midrange by Josh VanLith.

"At halftime, we told our shooters we needed them to shoot,'' Our Redeemer's coach Jeremy Faller said. "We usually shoot the ball well. It seemed like we were missing some (in the first half) that we've been hitting.

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"Our bigs played well. That gave our guards a chance to shine. We did a good job of taking advantage of what was there.''

The 12-2 run gave Our Redeemer's a 55-49 lead. But Strasburg-Zeeland rallied to a 55-55 tie on back-to-back treys by Hunter Huizenga, the second with 1:27 remaining from the left wing.

Four straight VanLith free throws broke the tie. A Brody Nieuwsma trey from the right wing pulled the Clippers back to within 59-58 with eight seconds left, but Ben Talley's two free throws with five seconds left iced the win.

"We spent a lot of time (in practice) doing free throws,'' Faller said. "We told the kids free throws win games, that we'd need to knock them down. Thank goodness we did. We needed them down the stretch.''

The close final score was indicative of the entire game. There were nine ties and 14 lead changes, and neither team built a lead of more than six points.

Our Redeemer's, with 6-foot-9 Dalton Steede leading a tall front line, blocked seven shots and altered several others. Still, Strasburg-Zeeland shot better (21-of-53) than Our Redeemer's (19-of-52) from the field. With both teams making seven 3-point shots, the difference was at the free-throw line, where Our Redeemer’s held a 16-9 advantage, eight of those coming in the fourth quarter.

"They blocked a lot of our shots,'' Kleinsasser said. "We kept going at them. It got physical, I thought, but we played through it and had our chances.''

VanLith's 20 points led the Knights, with Demme adding 11. Huizenga had 20 points to lead Strasburgh-Zeeland, with Nieuwsma scoring 16 and Jacob Eberle 11.

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Strasburg-Zeeland (18-5) plays Grafton in a consolation semifinal game at 1 p.m. Friday. Our Redeemer's (25-1) meets Bismarck Shiloh Christian in a 6:30 p.m. championship semifinal.


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Strasburg bench with 24 Year coach Brent Kleinsasser, back center, in game with Our Redeemers of Minot. TOM STROMME Tribune

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