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Greg DeVillers / Forum News Service, Published March 07 2014

Rugby beats North Star in Class B semifinals

GRAND FORKS – That 2-for-22 3-point shooting Thursday at the Alerus Center – that really wasn’t the Rugby team that Panthers coach Mike Santjer knows.

“We couldn’t throw it in the ocean last night,” Santjer said of his team’s long-range shooting in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B state boys basketball tournament. “But we made some improvements tonight.”

The offense was working better all-around Friday, as Rugby earned a berth in the championship game of the state tournament. Rugby rode a big second-half start to a 54-44 win against North Star in the semifinals, setting up a title game-matchup tonight against Fargo Oak Grove.

Rugby broke the game open with a 12-5 spurt to start the second half.

Chris Hamilton and Tanner Bernhardt started the run from long range. They sandwiched treys around a 3-pointer by Bearcats freshman Jayden Komrosky. Rugby then went inside, with Brad Heidlebaugh driving the lane for a layup and Zach Miller scoring two from close range.

“We like to get the ball inside,” said Santjer, whose team was 6 of 21 on 3s against the Bearcats. “But we need to be hitting those outside shots to force defenses out on us. We’re usually a pretty good shooting team.”

Rugby held a 38-24 lead with 4:10 left in the third. North Star got no closer than eight the rest of the way.

“We struggled offensively in the first half,” North Star coach Jeff Hagler said. “And we were only down seven. We felt we were in a pretty good situation. But they came out in the second half and, boom, boom, boom, hit the shots.

“It seemed like, after that, every time we made a basket, they had an answer.”

NS 10 19 28 44

R 13 26 40 54

NS: Weston 20, Kvilvang 11, Heisler 4, Komrosky 3, States 2, Hunt 4.

R: Heidlebaugh 16, Bernhardt 16, Hovland 2, Miller 10, Haman 4, Hamilton 6.

Consolation semifinals

Cavalier 76, Flasher 56

C 23 36 55 76

F 13 26 44 56

C: Chrest 23, Bjornson 9, Brown 9, Steiger 11, Robbins 20, Walton 4.

F: Schmidt 22, Froelich 12, Braun 4, Marion 3, Miller 5, Krenz 6, Gabrielson 4.

Beulah 50, New Town 48

B 5 13 32 50

NT 15 23 35 48

B: Hettich 5, Blood 5, Julson 2, Walcker 24, Messerschmidt 14.

NT: D. Grady 8, Baker 14, Fox 13, White Owl 2, Bear 3, E. Grady 8.

DeVillers writes for the Grand Forks Herald