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Tom Mix, Published February 19 2013

Oak Grove tops Central Cass to win District 2 boys basketball tournament

FARGO – When the boys basketball teams from Fargo Oak Grove and Central Cass meet on the hardwood, count on the scoreboard getting some work.

The Grovers and Squirrels score points. A lot of them.

On Tuesday, it was Oak Grove that scored more, topping Central Cass 87-77 in the North Dakota Class B, District 2 championship game at the Fargo Civic Center.

“We both like to play fast,” Oak Grove forward Tyler Christianson said. “Easy buckets will come, but if they go on a run we just have to answer back and make a run. Then the score goes high.”

Christianson paced No. 6-ranked Oak Grove with 21 points and 21 rebounds.

The Grovers (20-2) enter the Region 1 tournament as District 2’s No. 1 seed. Oak Grove plays District 2, No. 4-seeded Sargent Central in the quarterfinals at 3 p.m. Monday at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton.

“It really starts next week,” Oak Grove head coach Kyle Card said. “The goal is always to get to the Region 1 tournament because anything can happen. We reached that goal. It is a special time of the year.”

Card, who was named District 2 coach of the year, has won three District 2 championships in his five years as head coach of the Grovers.

Like their previous meeting, Central Cass and Oak Grove zoomed up and down the court from the opening buzzer and traded baskets much of the first quarter.

Oak Grove led 50-41 at halftime and held a 71-56 advantage heading into the final eight minutes of regulations.

“They are hard to score with,” Central Cass head coach Mike Kegley said. “I don’t know if either team played particularly well on defense, but our game plan was to not slow it down and not play zone. Being that we were both in Region 1 tournament already we wanted to see how it came out.

“Hopefully we get another chance at them.”

Senior Ellery Bresnahan paced the Squirrels (16-6) with 26 points, four steals and six assists.

Central Cass holds District 2’s No. 2 seed and plays District 1’s No. 3 seed Hankinson at approximately 8 p.m. Monday.

The Squirrels and Grovers met in last year’s District 2 and Region 1 finals and topped their rivals both times.

“It was our goal at the beginning of the year to be District 2 champs and go onto the Region 1 tournament,” Christianson said. “We had to come out tonight and play as a team, hit the easy bucks, box out and get the win.”

Jordan Funfar added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Grovers. Oak Grove out-rebounded Central Cass 50-36.

The Squirrels cut the Grovers’ lead to 81-73 with 2 minutes, 52 seconds left, but never got closer than eight points in the fourth.

“It is just a good basketball team over there at Central Cass,” Card said. “Both teams played well. We just made some big shots when we needed to. We got a little lead, which helped us relax a little, and then we forced them into some shots.”

CC 23 41 56 77

OG 29 50 71 87

CENTRAL CASS: G. Bresnahan 1 0-2 2, E. Bresnahan 10 3-5 26, Ebach 3 1-2 10, Breske 6 3-4 16, Voss 5 0-0 13, Geritz 1 0-0 2, Ausk 1 0-0 2, Rieniets 2 2-4 6. Totals: 29 9-16 77.

OAK GROVE: Berg 4 1-2 10, Dangerfield 1 0-0 2, Card 2 0-0 4, Widmer 4 5-5 13, Funfar 7 0-0 19, Adams 1 1-2 4, Christianson 6 9-12 21, Olson 1 0-2 2, Conant 3 4-4 12. Totals: 29 20-27 87.

Halftime: OG 50, CC 41. 3-pointers: Berg, Funfar 5, Adams, Conant 2, E. Bresnahan 3, Ebach 3, Breske, Voss 3. Total fouls: OG 12, CC 20. Fouled out: E. Bresnahan. Rebounds: CC 36 (Rieniets 11), OG 50 (Christianson 21). Turnovers: CC 13, OG 18. Assists: CC 15 (E. Bresnahan 6), OG 13 (Christianson 4). Steals: CC 10 (E. Bresnahan, Breske 4), OG 7 (Christianson 3).

All District 2 team

Richland: Kayne Griffith, Matthew Workin

Kindred: Eric Bachmeier

Maple Valley: Jordan Haseleu, James Richman

Central Cass: Ellery Bresnahan, Garrett Ebach, Conner Rieniets

Finley-Sharon-Hope-Page: Austen Archer

Enderlin: Daniel Lindgren, Thomas Lindgren

Northern Cass: Cody Springer

Fargo Oak Grove: Alex Widmer, Jordan Funfar, Tyler Christianson

District 2 co-senior athletes of the year

Jordan Haseleu, Maple Valley

Ellery Bresnahan, Central Cass

District 2 coach of the year

Kyle Card, Oak Grove

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562