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Eric Peterson, Published July 23 2012

Class B boys relish the underdog role at Lions All-Star game

FARGO – In his final season at Central Cass, Matt Zimmerman was used to being the favorite. His Squirrels didn’t lose a game until the North Dakota Class B state boys basketball tournament.

Zimmerman sees himself and his Class B teammates as the underdog for the next couple games.

He relishes the role.

“I feel Class B will always be the underdog to Class A,” Zimmerman said. “I don’t mind coming in as an underdog. It’s fun to take on the challenge.”

The annual Lions All-Star basketball series – which pits the top Class A seniors vs. the top Class B seniors in both boys and girls – starts tonight in Bismarck.

The girls game is set for 6 p.m. with the boys game at 8 p.m. at the Bismarck Civic Center.

“Class B guys, we are always trying to compare ourselves with the Class A guys,” Zimmerman said. “It’s good to get a chance to see how we compare to the Class A guys.”

Zimmerman averaged 17.9 points, 4.9 rebounds as a senior at Central Cass. Those numbers helped the 6-foot-3 forward earn all-state honors on the Class B second team.

“This is the last and final award you can get for your senior season,” Zimmerman said during Monday’s practice at Fargo South.

“If you can get this, it’s a pretty big honor.”

Zimmerman has committed to play men’s basketball at Concordia next season. He’s one of four Lions boys players who intend to play a sport at Concordia next year.

Class B point guard Tommy Dwyer, who played at Bismarck Shiloh Christian, said he plans to walk-on to the Concordia men’s basketball team. Class A guard Tom Fraase, who played at Bismarck Century, is also a Concordia men’s basketball commit. Class A guard Landon Poss, who played at Fargo South, is headed to Concordia to play men’s golf.

Dwyer – who helped Shiloh Christian to a third-place finish at the state tournament last March – sees the Lions games as bonus basketball.

“This is just icing on the cake,” Dwyer said. “I didn’t think that I would be able to play in this. It’s an awesome opportunity.”

The 6-foot-3 Fraase feels the Lions games will serve as good preparation for his college career. Fraase has an older brother, John Fraase, who also played for the Cobbers and had a standout career.

“I think this is a great building step for college because we are playing against some of the great players in the state,” Tom Fraase said. “It’s going to put a great finish to all our high school careers.”

Poss said it’s been nice to not only get to know his Class A teammates, but also the Class B players over the past few days.

Poss knows that most people expect the Class A teams to be the favorite. The Class A has a 42-21 edge in the boys series, which started in 1977.

“We have more of the pressure, but it will be fun no matter what,” Poss said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.