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Burros defend region title

The defense of its Region 2 title came down to its defense for Hillsboro-Central Valley. The Burros' defense dominated the final three quarters Saturday as they defeated Grafton 49-37 in the championship game of the Region 2 boys high school bask...

The defense of its Region 2 title came down to its defense for Hillsboro-Central Valley.

The Burros' defense dominated the final three quarters Saturday as they defeated Grafton 49-37 in the championship game of the Region 2 boys high school basketball tournament at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

Hillsboro-CV advances to the Class B state tournament, which begins Thursday in Bismarck, for the second consecutive season. The Burros are defending state champions.

That title defense looked to be on shaky ground after Grafton jumped to an 18-6 lead after one quarter. But the Spoilers managed only 19 points over the final three quarters. The 37 points were 13 fewer than Grafton's previous low point total in a game this season.

"Things were rolling pretty well for us in the first quarter,'' Grafton coach Riley Lillemoen said. "After that, we had some turnovers. But we just couldn't get good shots.

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"They switched their defense after we made some shots in the first quarter. They clogged up the middle, so we struggled to get the ball inside, and they really pressured our guards.''

Part of the H-CV defense was a change in strategy.

"Our defensive intensity and our rebounding got a lot better after the first quarter,'' Burros center Jack Camrud said. "I think we adjusted. They were getting some easy baskets early against our 1-3-1 zone. We played a lot of man-to-man the last three quarters. That was vital.''

Hillsboro-CV rallied to a 22-22 halftime tie. Grafton held its final lead when Beau Feltman scored from close range with 3:41 left in the third for a 30-27 advantage. After that field goal, the Spoilers would go 8 minutes and 12 seconds without a point.

"Wow. I didn't know it was that long a stretch,'' H-CV coach Elliot Rotvold said. "We take a lot of pride in our defense.

"We've played a lot of good defensive games. This one is up there with the best, for the last three quarters of it, at least.''

Hillsboro-CV pulled even at 30-30 to end the third quarter after Landen Reed hit a 3-pointer. Then sophomore Carson Henningsgard took command of the offense, hitting a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter and a jump shot with 5:49 left to cap a 10-0 H-CV run for a 37-30 lead.

"Our coaches tell me to be aggressive, to keep taking it to the basket,'' Henningsgard said.

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Dalton Albrecht hit two free throws to end Grafton's scoreless 8:12 run and keep the Spoilers within 37-32. But Henningsgard followed with another 3-pointer to start a 12-2 H-CV run.

Henningsgard had 10 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter.

"We had some other guys hit shots in the third quarter,'' Rotvold said. "That probably freed Carson up and he knocked down some shots.''

Camrud added nine points and Tyler Bergstrom scored eight off the bench to lead the 23-1 Burros. Grafton, which finished 20-4, wsa led by Albrecht with 13 points and Riley Hanson with 12 on four 3-pointers.

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