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Eric Peterson, Published February 23 2012

Central Cass wins Region 1 title

FARGO – Central Cass senior Matt Zimmerman couldn’t have asked for a better Thursday night at the Fargo Civic Center.

Zimmerman found out after the game he reached a career milestone and he was named the top senior player in the region. The best nugget came earlier in the evening.

Zimmerman scored 25 points to help spark the No. 3-ranked Squirrels to an 86-67 victory against Fargo Oak Grove for the North Dakota Class B, Region 1 boys basketball championship.

“It’s a surreal moment right now,” Zimmerman said. “It feels amazing.”

Central Cass (25-0) remained unbeaten and earned its first trip to the Class B state tournament since 2005.

“It was surreal,” said Squirrels senior forward Josh Roesler, who had 17 points and nine rebounds. “It was all 25 games rolled into one. It was all 15 of us realizing our goal and making it together.”

The Grovers (15-10) were the two-time defending region champions but graduated 10 seniors off last year’s team. Oak Grove was 8-8 at one point in January before making a strong final run to the region title game.

“We knew we had some talent. It took a long time to get there,” said Grovers coach Kyle Card. “We’re excited for the future.”

Central Cass proved to be the team of the present Thursday. The Squirrels took control with a 10-0 run that took less than 75 seconds.

That burst came after Oak Grove had tied the score at 28-28 on two Brad Conant free throws with 3 minutes, 53 seconds to play in the second quarter.

Josh Roesler started the spree, scoring a 3-point play with 3:38 remaining in the half. Junior guard Ellery Bresnahan’s layup gave the Squirrels a 38-28 lead with 2:25 to play in the second quarter.

Oak Grove got no closer than six points of the lead from that point.

“We wanted to be the aggressors,” Card said. “We didn’t want to back down. Unfortunately, when you play a team like this, they make you go fast all the time.”

The Squirrels pushed their lead into double digits for good, scoring 15 of the first 19 points in the second half. Roesler scored seven points during that stretch. Zimmerman added six points, including a 3-point shot that put him over 1,000 career points.

Senior Ben Sundquist drained two free throws to cap the rally, giving Central Cass a 58-38 lead with 3:52 to play in the third quarter.

“It’s a fun group of guys,” said Central Cass head coach Troy Roesler, who was named Region 1 coach of the year. “It’s always tough to figure out who plays … but they accept their roles pretty well. It’s fun to see them be team players.”

Zimmerman didn’t know he had reached 1,000 points until it was announced after the game. He ended the night with 1,012 career points.

“I didn’t know if I had already gotten it or not,” said Zimmerman. “It was a big surprise.”

Junior forward Tyler Christianson paced Oak Grove with 18 points. The Grovers graduate just two players off this team, including one starter.

“Hats off to coach Roesler and his team. That’s a heck of a team,” Card said. “They’ve got a good chance in the state tournament.”

Central Cass 18 43 63 86

Oak Grove 21 34 45 67

CENTRAL CASS (25-0): Zimmerman 8 6-6 25, Bresnahan 7 0-0 15, Breske 1 0-0 2, Ebach 0 0-0 0, Sundquist 3 2-2 10, Rehovsky 0 0-0 0, Lubbers 2 0-0 5, Rieniets 1 0-2 2, Larson 0 0-0 0, Utt 2 0-0 4, Radermacher 0 0-0 0, Ueland 3 0-0 6, Roesler 7 3-3 17, Giermann 0 0-0 0, Weber 0 0-0 0. Totals 34-68 11-13 86.

OAK GROVE (15-10): Kretchman 2 0-0 6, Berg 0 0-0 0, Lackmann 0 0-0 0, Rustvang 1 0-0 2, Dangerfield 0 0-0 0, Card 3 0-0 6, Widmer 5 0-2 10, Funfar 3 0-1 6, Adams 0 2-2 2, Christianson 6 4-5 18, Promersberger 0 0-0 0, Olson 2 0-0 6, Anderson 1 0-0 2, Conant 3 2-2 9. Totals 26-68 8-12 67.

3-point goals: Zimmerman 3, Bresnahan, Sundquist 2, Lubbers, Kretchman 2, Christianson 2, Olson 2, Conant. Total fouls: CC 12, OG 16. Rebounds: CC 26 (Roesler 9), OG 34 (Funfar 9). Turnovers: CC 7, OG 8.

Maple Valley’s Smith eclipses 1,000 points

Maple Valley senior Tyler Smith scored 36 points to lead the Raiders to a 79-54 victory against Kindred in the third-place game.

Smith needed 32 points entering the game to hit 1,000. The 6-foot-1 forward ended his career with 1,004 points.

Maple Valley 27 41 55 79

Kindred 16 18 40 54

MAPLE VALLEY (22-3): El. Preston 0 0-0 0, Beilke 2 0-0 5, C. Richman 0 0-0 0, Sours 0 0-0 0, Smith 16 2-2 36, Lerud 2 0-0 6, Behm 0 0-0 0, Steidl 3 1-2 8, Et. Preston 7 0-0 14, Haseleu 2 0-0 5, Pfau 0 1-2 1, J. Richman 1 2-3 4. Totals 33-69 6-11 79.

KINDRED (16-9): Olien 0 2-2 2, Kappes 2 0-0 4, Bachmeier 6 0-0 14, Holland 1 0-0 2, Moffet 0 0-0 0, Reinke 3 3-5 10, Nyhof 0 0-0 0, Milbrandt 2 0-1 5, Andel 1 0-0 3, Staton 0 0-0 0, Cramer 0 0-0 0, Ness 1 0-1 2, C. Plankers 0 0-2 0, J. Plankers 6 0-0 12. Totals 22-69 5-13 54.

3-point goals: Beilke, Smith 2, Lerud 2, Steidl, Haseleu. Total fouls: MV 7, K 7. Rebounds: MV 45 (three players with 8), K 30 (J. Plankers). Turnovers: MV 8, K 4.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com