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St. John pulls away for win in Class B opener

BISMARCK -- Forty-seven years ago, Wyndmere came to the North Dakota state Class B boys basketball tournament for the first time and walked away with a state championship. St. John has a chance to duplicate that feat after spoiling Wyndmere-Lidge...

Wyndmere-Lidgerwood's Evan Braaten, left, battles for a rebound with St. John's Dalton Prouty during Thursday's opening-round game of the North Dakota Class B state boys basketball tournament at the Bismarck Event Center. Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune
Evan Braaten, front, of Wyndmere/Lidgerwood, battles for a rebound with Dalton Prouty, of St. John, during the quarterfinal game at the state Class B basketball tournament on Thursday at the Bismarck Event Center. Photo/Mike McCleary, Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK - Forty-seven years ago, Wyndmere came to the North Dakota state Class B boys basketball tournament for the first time and walked away with a state championship.

St. John has a chance to duplicate that feat after spoiling Wyndmere-Lidgerwood's return with a 62-47 first-round win Thursday at the Bismarck Event Center.

Dalton Prouty scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half and Mr. Basketball finalist Kyler McGillis led all scorers with 21 as the Woodchucks (24-1) blew a big lead, rallied and pulled away down the stretch.

"They took it to another level," said Wyndmere-Lidgerwood's Luke Foertsch. "They're athletic and they have athletes with the ability to do that. We couldn't make the adjustment."

Wyndmere-Lidgerwood turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter, leading to a 17-9 deficit. It finished with 22 turnovers, with nine of those coming in the last six minutes of the game.

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McGillis scored 14 points in the first two quarters as the Woodchucks pulled out to a 29-22 lead.

Foertsch said the Warbirds didn't panic even when St. John forged a 10-point lead on Prouty's 3-pointer just 1:10 into the third quarter. That gave St. John a 32-22 lead.

"We weren't worried at all at halftime," Foertsch said. "We shot 10-for-30 and we were only down seven and turned the ball over 10 times. It was no big deal."

The Warbirds (21-3), who were making their first appearance in the tourney as a co-op, scored on their next seven possessions and sliced the deficit to 43-41 by the end of the third quarter.

"They started a run because we weren't making any easy shots and they were knocking their shots down," Prouty said.

Evan Braaten scored two of his 15 points to tie the game 43-43 with 7:48 left and followed that with a layup that put the Warbirds on top or the first time since it was 2-0.

"We understood that we were down before so we knew what the feeling was like and we knew how to put a run together," Prouty said. "We put it together at the end and that's what matters."

Adam Jollie's free throw cut the St. John deficit to 45-44 with 6:14 remaining. Jollie finished with 12 points.

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It was all St. John from there. Wyndmere-Lidgerwood turned the ball over on its next five possessions, got a basket by Foertsch - who had 13 points - then went 0-for-2 with four more turnovers.

Prouty, meanwhile, scored 10 points during an 18-2 run.

"We turned up the pressure and the pressure made them struggle," Prouty said.

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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