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Published March 14 2010

MN boys basketball: Norman County West tops Park Christian

It’s astonishing what a little emotion can do.

Riding the wave from a last-second win over Barnesville on Thursday, sixth-seeded Norman County West kept the roll going in the Class 1A, Section 6 tournament with an improbable 54-51 win over Park Christian.

“In school, you could see the spring in their step on Friday,” NCW coach Ron Ohren said. “We played the last 4.3 seconds of the radio broadcast from the (Barnesville) game before this one, and there were chills. You could feel it.

“We wanted to keep it going. We’ll have to keep playing that, I guess.”

While the Falcons were seeded second, and ranked ninth in the state, the win got NCW’s record back to .500 on the season at 14-14.

The win was an exercise in patience and cleaning the glass. The Panthers looked like the composed higher seed the whole game, and simply outworked the Falcons on the boards.

Blaine Borgen led NCW with 24 points and 17 of those rebounds, as the Panthers held a 39-28 edge in rebounds.

“We knew we had to keep them off the boards, and we really accomplished that,” Borgen said. “It was tough. They got a guy like (Tom) Schwandt down there, and he’s 6-5 or something – 6-9 with the afro.

“We had to work, but that was a big difference.”

The score was tied at 26 at the half, and Park Christian scored first for a 28-26 edge – the biggest and final lead of the night for the Falcons.

But NCW scored the next 11 points as the Falcons were hurrying through offensive possessions with little return.

“The biggest thing was that we weren’t patient, and they were,” Falcons coach Randy Schauer said. “We were settling for jump shots when we should’ve been going to the basket.

“When we got back into it was when we started attacking the basket.”

Park Christian tied the game at 39 with 6 minutes, 54 seconds to play. But NCW responded with an 8-0 run.

“We knew what was coming,” Borgen said. “All year, we’ve been up and let teams come back. We just had to hold them this time.”

Park Christian got within a point at 49-48 with 22 seconds to go, but Borgen put the game away.

NCW takes on top-seeded Ada-Borup in the section semifinals at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Concordia.

The Panthers have lost to the Cougars twice this year, but one of those losses was in overtime.

NORMAN COUNTY WEST: C. Holte 1 0-2 2, Rufsvold 0 1-2 1, B. Holte 6 9-12 21, Borgen 9 6-10 24, Person 3 0-0 6. Totals 19 16-26 54.

PARK CHRISTIAN: Fletcher 6 5-6 19, Schwandt 7 3-5 17, Harmelink 3 0-2 6, Berg 1 0-0 2, Eggers 3 1-3 7. Totals 20 9-16 51.

Half: NCW 26, PC 26. 3-pointers: Fletcher 2. Total fouls: NCW 17, PC 21. Fouled out: Harmelink, Eggers. Rebounds: NCW 39 (Borgen 17). PC 28 (Schwandt 11). Assists: NCW 7 (C. Holte 3). PC 10 (Fletcher 3, Berg 3). Turnovers: NCW 10, PC 11. Steals: NCW 6 (C. Holte 3). PC 8 (Harmelink 4).

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548