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Michael Savaloja, Published March 21 2009

ND Class B boys basketball: Speedy Lions outrun Bobcats

MINOT, N.D. – It’s no longer a secret how the undefeated Linton Lions have taken care of business on the basketball court this season. But even the best Class B teams in the state still can’t find an answer for their continuous rotation of players on and off the floor.

Fresh legs and a fast tempo were yet again at the forefront for Linton in Friday’s state semifinal against the North Sargent Bobcats. The Lions’ Trent Roemmich produced 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Justin Purintun tossed in 19 points for the Lions, as Linton stormed past the Bobcats 65-55 to advance to today’s state championship game.

“It’s a little surreal,” Purintun said. “It’s a dream come true to be in this position.”

But that position was up for grabs in the first half. Defensive intensity by both teams in the opening two periods of play led to numerous contested shots that didn’t find the net and a combined 26 turnovers at the break.

Linton led 11-10 after one, and 3-pointers by Purintun and the Lions’ Jon Pavlicek late in the second quarter broke up a back-and-forth battle to put Linton out front 23-18 at the half.

North Sargent also received a big scare with 4 minutes, 39 seconds to play in the first period. The Bobcat’s 6-foot-5 senior Ryan Drevlow sprained his left ankle contesting a shot and limped to the sideline.

Drevlow, who has signed to play defensive end for North Dakota State next fall, returned to the court later in the period, but was held to just six points and committed three fouls in the first 16 minutes of basketball.

“It’s pretty swollen. You could see there was a big ball on the top of his foot when the trainer was looking at it,” North Sargent coach Jeremiah Hinkemeyer said.

As Drevlow sat out the first 3:27 of the third period in foul trouble, Linton came to life. Purintun put together back-to-back buckets to kick off an 8-0 Linton run to start the second half.

The Lions were in command with an 11-point lead (31-20) with 5:18 left before the fourth.

“With our energy level as high as it was, we didn’t want to put (Drevlow) in to get a fourth foul right away,” Hinkemeyer said. “But we’ve got a good bench and I’ve got a lot of confidence in it. Linton just hit some big shots and things didn’t go our way.”

Linton 11 23 41 65

NS 10 18 32 55

LINTON (25-0): T. Purintun 0-1 0-0 0, Humann 0-1 0-0 0, Hulm 1-2 2-2 4, Larson 4-5 2-3 10, S. Roemmich 0-4 0-2 0, J. Purintun 8-16 0-3 19, T. Roemmich 6-11 9-10 21, Beau Schmaltz 1-3 0-0 2, D. Roemmich 2-5 0-2 4, Pavlicek 2-3 0-0 5. Totals: 24-51 13-22 65.

NORTH SARGENT (22-5): Hansana 3-7 0-0 6, Shirrell 3-17 0-0 7, P. Enderson 0-2 0-0 0, Hansen 7-18 1-1 15, Drevlow 9-16 7-9 25, A. Enderson 1-3 0-0 2, Colemer 0-1 0-0 0, Greenmyer 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 23-66 8-10 55.

3-Pointers – Linton 4 (J. Purintun 3, Pavlicek 1), North Sargent 1 (Shirrell 1). Rebounds – Linton 39 (T. Roemmich 15), North Sargent 37 (Hansen 14). Assists – Linton 12 (Larson 3, T. Roemmich 3), North Sargent 12 (P. Enderson 6). Total fouls – Linton 17, North Sargent 20.

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