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Greg DeVillers / Forum News Service, Published February 26 2013

Hillsboro-Central Valley falls to Cavalier

GRAND FORKS – For only the second time all season, Cavalier was held to fewer than 45 points.

It didn’t matter because of the way the Tornadoes’ aggressive man-to-man defense dominated, holding Hillsboro-Central Valley to its second-lowest point total of the season in a 43-35 victory Tuesday in the North Dakota Class B, Region 2 boys basketball tournament semifinals.

“Our defense has been our calling card all year,” first-year Cavalier coach Bryce Laxdal said. “Our shots weren’t falling all game long. But we rose to the occasion on defense. It was great team defense. I wasn’t expecting to hold them under 40.”

The Tornadoes advance to face Grafton in the region final at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Grafton defeated Drayton-Valley-Edinburg 58-42 in the other semifinal.

The key defender was Deane Bjornson. He was assigned to Dusty Schildberger one-on-one most of the game and held the Burros senior to two points, 14 below his average.

“Deane’s been our guy on defense,” Laxdal said. “He’s a tough defensive matchup for teams – he’s 6-3, lanky and never gets tired.”

Hillsboro-CV was within striking distance for most of the first three quarters, trailing 16-9 and 22-12 at the first two quarter stops and still being within 27-17 with one minute left in the third. But Brock Robbins closed the third quarter by hitting a 3-pointer from the left baseline and another long shot, just inside the 3-point line, on the right wing as time expired. Cavalier scored to open the final quarter and open up a 34-17 advantage.

“Brock’s baskets were huge,” Laxdal said. “They got us some momentum. And with that kind of lead, I felt confident our defense could hold.”

Hillsboro-CV made it close at the end. A 9-0 run pulled the Burros within 36-30 with 1:52 left. They got as close as five in the final minute.

“It was a matter of playing a little more frantic,” H-CV coach Elliot Rotsvold said of the late run. “I wish we could have had that offensive intensity earlier in the game.

“They (Tornadoes) are physical. They’re quick. They challenge shots. And we settled for a lot of perimeter shots early in the game.”

Robbins had 21 points to lead Cavalier. Tyler Sumner scored 15 to pace Hillsboro-CV.

C 16 22 32 43

HCV 9 12 17 35

C: Johnson 6, Bjornson 3, B. Robbins 21, S. Robbins 6, Chrest 7.

HCV: Schildberger 2, Meyer 8, Spokely 6, Sumner 15, Waters 4.

Grafton 58, Drayton-Valley-Edinburg 42

DVE 17 24 31 42

G 15 31 42 58

DVE: Keena 5, Markel 7, Larson 6, Jenson 15, Littlejohn 3, Laxdal 2, Phelps 4.

G: Mendoza 2, Lunde 9, Contreras 34, Droog 4, Hernandez 7, Villarreal 2.

DeVillers writes for the Grand Forks Herald