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Tom Mix, Published February 25 2014

Oakes tops Enderlin at ND Class B, Region 1 tournament

FARGO – Both Enderlin and Oakes entered Tuesday’s North Dakota Class B, Region 1 semifinal having gone 10-plus seasons without an appearance in the region title game.

No matter the outcome, one of those droughts would end.

The Tornadoes earned a trip to the finals for the first time since the 2002-03 season with an 82-69 win over Enderlin at the Fargo Civic Center.

“We have struggled for a while, so to help get us back to this level just feels great,” said 6-foot-1 Oakes junior Bryce Meehl.

Meehl did his part, pouring in a game-high 35 points for the Tornadoes (12-12).

Oakes plays No. 2-ranked Fargo Oak Grove in the championship game at approximately 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

“When we play hard, and when we play together, great things happen,” Oakes head coach Brandon Bata said. “We have something special going for us right now, and we couldn’t be happier.”

Meehl scored 26 points in the second half and was 20 of 22 from the free-throw line. He was 12-for-12 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter alone, helping the Tornadoes pull away from the Eagles (16-8).

“Bryce is a competitor,” Bata said. “He found a rhythm. When you see a player in rhythm he is comfortable, taking good shots and being aggressive. He did a nice job for us (Tuesday).”

Enderlin led 37-30 at halftime, but for the second night in a row, the Tornadoes came back in the second half.

The Eagles led 46-36 with 5 minutes, 4 seconds left in the third quarter, but Oakes closed with a 17-6 run to go up 53-52 heading into the fourth quarter.

“It helped us out,” junior Ethan Zetocha said of having the advantage. “They got a little more desperate on offense. They took quicker shots, and that helped us out a lot on defense.”

Zetocha finished with 18 points.

Enderlin was hoping to wipe out a 17-season long absence from the region championship, but fell short.

“We didn’t execute when we needed to execute,” Enderlin head coach Calvin Kraft said. “We didn’t get it done, but credit their defense for that.”

Daniel Lindgren scored 31 points to lead the Eagles. He eclipsed 1,000 career points Tuesday.

Oakes has won 11-4 in its last 15 games.

E 22 37 52 69

O 16 30 53 82

ENDERLIN (16-8): Lindgren 9 10-11 31, Dixon 1 1-2 3, Lindemann 1 0-0 3, Hurlburt 7 0-0 18, Kittelson 5 4-5 14. Totals: 23 15-18 69.

OAKES (12-12): C. Zetocha 3 0-1 7, E. Zetocha 7 2-2 18, Meehl 6 20-22 35, Bartholomew 1 0-0 2, Quandt 4 0-0 8, Meier 5 0-1 12. Totals: 26 22-30 82.

3-point goals: E. Zetocha 2, C. Zetocha, Meehl 3, Meier 2, Lindgren 3, Lindemann, Hurlburt 4. Total Fouls: E 21, O 19. Fouled out: Hurlburt, Dixon. Rebounds: E 22 (Hurlburt 7), O 28 (Quandt 7). Turnovers: E 12, O 5.

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