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Michael Savaloja / Forum News Service, Published February 25 2014

Linton-HMB cruises past Ellendale for Region 3 tournament win

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – The players wore the same numbers and haircuts, but the team Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock put on the floor on Tuesday just wasn’t the same as the one that showed up on Monday.

The District 6 champions dominated Ellendale in the semifinals of the Region 3 tournament, cruising 77-52 at the Jamestown Civic Center to earn a date with Strasburg-Zeeland in Thursday’s title tilt.

“That’s the kind of intensity you like to see when you come to a tournament, unlike what we had (Monday),” Linton-HMB coach Dan Carr said. “It makes a lot of difference in the game. You see the basket better and you react quicker.

“You’ve just got to bring that intensity and it all seems to work.”

The Lions hung on Monday to beat Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier 53-45 in the quarterfinals. That game was tied 37-37 at the end of three periods, and the Lions struggled to find a rhythm all night.

That was not the case against Ellendale, a team that beat the Lions 74-72 earlier in the season.

Linton-HMB hit the ground running with an aggressive full-court press and forced Ellendale into seven first-quarter turnovers. The Lions were also successful shooting over Ellendale’s season-long trademark

1-3-1 zone, burying 7 of 11 shots from downtown in the first half.

The Lions led 19-10 after one and 41-22 at the half.

“They were hot and didn’t miss a whole lot of shots,” Ellendale coach Brian Vance said. “Hand it to them. They outworked us in every aspect of the game.”

Linton-HMB opened the second half with six straight points, punting its lead to 25 points at 47-22 with six minutes left in the third, and they’d cruise from there. The Lions led by as many as 33 points in the second half.

The Lions finished shooting 50 percent, including 9 of 15 from downtown to outscore the Cardinals 27-3 off 3-pointers. Linton-HMB also scored 24 points off of 18 Ellendale turnovers.

Andrew Small led four Lions in double-digit scoring with 17 points. Both he and Brooks Flyberg drained three 3s in the game.

“We do have some excellent 3-point shooters, and we give them the green light as long as they’re open,” Carr said. “I thought we had real good looks.”

LHMB 19 41 60 77

E 10 22 34 52

LHMB: Small 17, Purintun 16, Flyberg 13, Schneider 11, Holzer 6, Hulm 6, Sehn 3, Vanderlaan 3, Benz 2.

E: White 20, Vance 9, Thurber 4, Belmore 4, Durheim 3, A. Dathe 2, Z. Dathe 2, Wertz 2, Schumacher 2, Wang, Pahl 1, Hinton 1.

Strasburg-Zeeland 59, South Border 54

It’s stories like the one that unfolded at the Jamestown Civic Center on Tuesday that makes Class B basketball what it is.

He hadn’t scored a single point all night, but with the game on the line, Strasburg-Zeeland senior Seth Aberle wasn’t about to let his team down during the semifinal round of the North Dakota Class B, Region 3 boys basketball tournament.

Clinging to a 55-53 lead with 16 seconds left against South Border, Aberle buried four free throws in the those final seconds to send the Clippers to the championship game by defeating the Mustangs 59-54.

“I was just thinking I’ve gotta put these through, gotta send our team to the win,” Aberle said. “It was a big game … I had to step up.”

SB 18 30 41 54

SZ 20 33 45 59

SB: Jacobson 16, Pinke 13, Knoll 13, Rueb 6, Kretschmar 6.

SZ: Nieuwsma 16, Scherr 15, Kramer 14, Eberle 10, Aberle 4.

Savaloja writes for The Jamestown Sun