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Published February 21 2012

Central Cass survives upset bid by Maple Valley in Region 1 playoffs

FARGO – Ellery Bresnahan was nervous for the first time this season.

So he went on pure instinct to keep his team’s season alive.

Bresnahan went coast to coast in less than six seconds and drilled a layup to help Central Cass slip past Maple Valley 65-64 in the North Dakota Class B, Region 1 boys basketball semifinals Tuesday at the Fargo Civic Center.

“It was drawn up so I would look out for our shooters,” said Bresnahan, whose team will take on Fargo Oak Grove on Thursday in the finals. “It just so happened they left the lane open. I got a nice, open shot.”

The game was back and forth throughout, with each team appearing to take momentum for good.

Maple Valley’s Wade Steidl drilled a long 3-pointer with 6 seconds remaining to put the Raiders ahead 64-63 with 6 seconds on the clock.

The Raiders, who were defeated by the Squirrels 74-43 in December, appeared to be on their way to ending Central Cass’ perfect season.

Bresnahan took the ball near the end line, raced down the middle of the court and floated a layup into the hoop with three-tenths of a second remaining to take the lead.

The Raiders couldn’t get a shot off as time expired.

“It’s a great feeling,” Bresnahan said. “But our team really put us in a bad spot with all the missed free throws. We had open shots we should have made – layups and free throws. We just have to make sure we concentrate on those so we don’t have to get down to this situation.”

Central Cass (24-0) built a 10-point lead early in the second quarter as Bresnahan and Matt Zimmerman and Joey Ueland led the way on offense.

The Raiders (21-3) raced back late in the second and kept it close the rest of the way.

Steidl, Jordan Haseleu and James Richman sparked Maple Valley in the second half. The trio combined for 28 points to help the Raiders reach the cusp of the region finals.

However, Bresnahan and Central Cass had the last chance. And that was all they needed.

“I was thinking we were going to hopefully get a nice shot off of one of our guys,” Bresnahan said. “We got to where we want to be. It’s definitely really fun to get here. We didn’t play very well. Those guys played really well. But it feels really well to be here.”

Central Cass 23 36 55 65

Maple Valley 18 31 53 64

CENTRAL CASS: Zimmerman 7 1-2 20, Bresnahan 8 3-5 21, Breske 0 0-0 0, Ebach 0 0-0 0, Sundquist 2 0-2 5, Lubbers 0 0-1 0, Rieniets 0 0-0 0, Utt 2 0-0 4, Ueland 5 3-3 13, Roesler 1 0-6 2. Totals: 25 7-19 65.

MAPLE VALLEY: Beilke 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, Lerud 1 0-0 3, Steidl 7 5-6 22, Preston 7 0-0 14, Haseleu 5 1-3 12, Richman 6 1-1 13. Totals: 26 7-10 64.

3-pointers: Zimmerman 5, Bresnahan 2, Sundquist, Lerud, Steidl 3, Haseleu. Total fouls: CC 15, MV 16. Rebounds: CC 23 (Zimmerman, Ueland 5), MV 33 (Preston, Richman 8). Assists: CC 5 (Zimmerman 3), MV 5 (5 tied with 5). Steals: CC 7 (3 tied with 2), MV 4 (4 tied with 4). Turnovers: CC 6, MV 12.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com