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Boys basketball: Tornadoes storm past Beulah

MINOT -- This was one technical foul that didn't bother Brandon Chrest. The Cavalier High School junior was assessed with a technical in the first quarter Thursday. He was called for hanging on the rim after putting down a two-handed dunk early i...

MINOT -- This was one technical foul that didn't bother Brandon Chrest.

The Cavalier High School junior was assessed with a technical in the first quarter Thursday. He was called for hanging on the rim after putting down a two-handed dunk early in the Tornadoes' 75-56 quarterfinal win against Beulah in the North Dakota Class B boys basketball tournament.

"It (the technical) was worth it," Chrest said. "I was swinging pretty hard, and I didn't want to fall while I was off balance and get hurt. And I love the big momentum swing a dunk can get you."

Momentum was no problem for the 18-7 Tornadoes. They picked it up early and never relinquished it after taking a 22-5 lead after the opening eight minutes.

That first quarter included seven unanswered Cavalier points in a 48-second span, with four of the points coming on fastbreak layups off steals. Then Cavalier held Beulah scoreless for 4 minutes and 3 seconds in a first quarter-closing 11-0 run.

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That run included Chrest's two-handed dunk on a fastbreak layup. "Every dunk Brandon has, the kids and the crowd are up screaming," Cavalier coach Keith Hartz said. "It changes the whole flow of the game."

Cavalier had another 8-0 run early in the second quarter started by back-to-back 3-point baskets by Brennan Thorlakson and Brady Robbins. "That's not usually our game, at all," Hartz said of the 3-pointers. "The shooting was a key for us, too."

The Tornadoes went on to build leads of 39-19 at halftime and 52-37 after three quarters. Beulah got no closer than 13 in the final 16 minutes.

"I was not expecting that; I was expecting a little closer game," Robbins said. "It was our defense. We were getting a lot of steals, and Brandon in the middle was unbelievable.

"I don't think we've had a start like that all year. On this stage, we played better."

Robbins finished with a game-high 22 points and five assists. Thorlakson had 15 points and four assists, while Michael Bigwood had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds off the bench. And Chrest? He dominated the middle with seven blocked shots, grabbed five rebounds and scored 18, including another two-handed dunk in the fourth quarter.

"I was hoping I'd get one here," the 6-foot-5 junior said. "It was pretty cool."

Kasey Schmidt had 17 points and Dustin Rueb 13 to pace Beulah, which dropped to 16-9. "You hope you don't lose a game in the first quarter," Beulah coach Jeremy Brandt said. "But I think that was the case. I don't know if it was our nerves. They were aggressive with their halfcourt trap, but we knew that was coming."

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Cavalier, making its first state appearance since 2004, wound up with its second-highest point total of the season.

"This was the best effort we've had all season," Hartz said.

Related Topics: BOYS BASKETBALLPREP SPORTS
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