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Jeff Kolpack, Published March 10 2012

Late surge carries Ada-Borup boys to Section 6A basketball semifinals

MOORHEAD – The last matchup was a blowout, a 37-point victory by Ada-Borup over Norman County East. This one was a tougher task.

Sophomore Lance Ruebke came off the bench for 16 points and the Cougars advanced to the semifinals of the Minnesota Class 1A, Section 6 boys basketball tournament. The 49-39 win at Concordia’s Memorial Auditorium was in doubt until the final five minutes.

“It seems like they got bigger and tougher,” Ruebke said of Norman County East. “And we didn’t come out as intense as we wanted to.”

Ada-Borup will play Ulen-Hitterdal Tuesday night at 7. The game will be televised on WDAY-TV.

For awhile, it looked like the Cougars were in danger of missing prime time. Tied at 31-31 with 10 minutes remaining, Ruebke led a 9-2 charge with six field goals in a stretch that saw the Eagles commit costly turnovers. The mistakes were not what the upset ordered.

“We were pushing it and not letting their big guys get the ball,” Ruebke said.

His layup off a turnover made it 40-33 with 5:43 left, and with Norman County East’s offense going in the deep freeze, that was enough. Jace Hennen’s hoop with 3:25 remaining made it 44-35.

The senior Hennen, however, had to be helped off the court with an apparent knee injury in the closing seconds. Head coach Trevor Stewart said it was too early to speculate on the nature of it.

“I know he’s in a lot of pain,” Stewart said.

Hennen led the Cougars with 18 points.

NCE: Bommersbach 3 0-0 8, Knutson 1 1-2 4, Andersen 4 2-2 8, LaPort 6 1-4 13, Lampton 1 0-0 2, Opsahl 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 4-8 39.

A-B: Atwood 1 2-2 4, Hennen 7 1-2 18, Blasey 2 0-0 4, Ambuehl 0 1-2 1, Merkens 3 0-0 6, Ruebke 7-2-4 16. Totals: 20 5-10 49.

Halftime: NCE 20, A-B 20. Total fouls: NCE 12, A-B 7. 3-point goals: Bommersbach 2, Knutson, Hennen 3.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia