CLASS B BASKETBALL: Cavalier has familiar names, results
CAVALIER, N.D. -- There is a lot of name familiarity in the Cavalier boys basketball starting lineup. The last time Cavalier played in the North Dakota Class B boys high school basketball tournament, in 2010, the Tornadoes' leading scorers were B...
CAVALIER, N.D. -- There is a lot of name familiarity in the Cavalier boys basketball starting lineup.
The last time Cavalier played in the North Dakota Class B boys high school basketball tournament, in 2010, the Tornadoes' leading scorers were Brady Robbins and Brandon Chrest.
That team finished third at state. Now the Tornadoes are returning to state after winning the Region 2 tournament last week. And the top three scorers on this team are Ryan Chrest, Brock Robbins and Spencer Robbins -- all younger siblings of the standouts on the 2010 team.
"You feel some pressure to play up to your older brother's standards,'' Ryan Chrest said. "I want to be as good as he was.
"I think about it sometimes. Not too often. But when I do, I think it pushes me to be better.''
Chrest, a junior, leads the 19-5 Tornadoes in scoring (18.2 ppg), assists (65), steals (66) and 3-point baskets (19). He's followed in scoring by sophomore Brock Robbins (15.4 ppg), who leads the team in rebounding (6.6 rpg). Senior Spencer Robbins adds averages of 6.6 points and 5.4 boards a game.
"There probably is some pressure on them because of their older brothers,'' Cavalier first-year head coach Bryce Laxdal said. "But they're used to playing under pressure. They had pressure in football and performed well. They've worked hard and played well in basketball.
"They know that they have to work hard and go out and earn things.''
For Spencer Robbins, there are no expectations to do as his older brother did. Spencer is a post player; his older brother was a point guard.
"You have to have finesse to be a point guard,'' the senior said. "My game in the post is more pushing and shoving. Brock is sort of a mix between us. He has the strength to push and shove and he has moves and can shoot. He's sort of the best of both worlds.''
Likewise, Ryan Chrest is a wing, often handling the ball and playing on the perimeter, while his brother was more of a post player.
"There is still kind of a competition there (with their older brother),'' Spencer Robbins said. "We want to do what their team did. We want to do better.''
Similarities all around
The similarities between now and 2010 go beyond names.
This season, the Tornadoes' starting five of Chrest, the Robbins brothers, Jarret Johnson (6 ppg) and Deane Bjornson (5.4 ppg) averages 51.6 points; in 2010, the starting five averaged 52.7 points. This season's team has a 44.2 defensive scoring average; in 2010, it was 45.
"We've done a good job, holding a lot of teams below 50 points,'' Laxdal said. "These kids are athletic, and they're physical, in-your-face types on defense. They go after people. And we're deep. We bring energy off the bench.''
Spencer Robbins sat on the bench as a freshman during the 2010 state tournament, playing a few minutes. "That team probably had more natural basketball talent,'' the senior said. "But I think we've evened things out by working hard. We knew defense would be the key for us.''
That defense will be tested in a 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal game Thursday.
Cavalier opens against Trenton, which averages 78 points a game. In the Region 8 tournament Trenton scored 78 and 69 points in the first two rounds before whipping Tioga 91-39 in the region title game.
"They have a lot of guys who can score, a lot of big shooters,'' Laxdal said. "They shoot a lot of threes. It's a lot of one-pass-and-shoot. And they score off their press, too.''
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