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Joe Brown / Forum News Service, Published March 13 2014

Park Christian falls in quarterfinals of Class 1A state boys basketball tournament

MINNEAPOLIS – Through seven minutes of Thursday’s opening round of the Minnesota Class 1A state boys basketball tournament, Moorhead Park Christian gave itself a puncher’s chance against top-seeded Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.

That’s when BBE’s trap defense tripped up Park Christian, sending the Falcons home with an 85-50 loss at Williams Arena.

“We were able to hang with them very well early on,” said Park Christian senior guard Matt Moberg. “Then our defense kind of fell apart, and we couldn’t score. They shut us down offensively, and we couldn’t get anything in.”

After Hunter Nickel’s layup at 11 minutes, 38 seconds tied the game, the Falcons did not score another field goal for more than nine minutes. By that point, Park Christian was facing a 23-point deficit. At halftime, the Jaguars had a 47-18 advantage.

The Jaguars’ zone defense pressured its way to 26 points off of 16 Park Christian turnovers.

“We really worked hard on (beating the zone),” said Falcons head coach Erv Inniger. “It goes to show how good they are. The teams we’ve played before haven’t had the height or the wing span, and that makes a big difference going after a club like that.”

BBE forced Park Christian into 23 turnovers and capitalized with 37 points off turnovers.

“Their zone is very long, and they do traps in the corner and traps up top,” said Moberg, who led Park Christian with 15 points. “We couldn’t get the ball past the top, and when we did, they collapsed inside. They’re a long and talented team.”

The Jaguars’ Brian Goodwin led the way with 35 points on 17 of 27 shooting to go with six rebounds and five steals. BBE out-rebounded Park Christian 37-19.

“We got rattled there just a little bit and that really hurt us,” Inniger said. “You’re not going to get back into the game with that club because they threaten you all the time. They really are an excellent, well-coached ball club.”

Nickel finished with 14 points for the Falcons. He also had seven blocks, bringing his state-best total to 226.

After leading the Falcons to their first state trip, Inniger said after the game that he will head back into retirement. The longtime North Dakota State head coach led Park Christian to a 22-10 record in his only season at the helm.

“My assistant (Josh Lee) has been groomed to take over this job,” Inniger said. “I haven’t talked to the administration yet, but I think the athletic director is in full accord with this. (Lee’s) ready to take over, and I think he should take over.”

PC (22-10): M. Moberg 7 1-2 15, Kvalvog 1 2-2 5, Olsgaard 1 0-0 5, Hannestad 2 0-0 5, Nickel 6 2-4 14, N. Moberg 1 0-0 2, Daugherty 3 0-1 6. Totals 21 5-9 50.

BBE (29-1): Ta. Heinsius 2 1-2 6, Tr. Heinsius 1 2-2 5, Goodwin 17 1-1 35, Kuefler 6 1-2 13, Borgerding 5 0-0 12, Rodgers 1 0-0 2, Trustheim 2 0-0 4, Schumann 1 0-0 2, Bitzan 2 0-0 6. Totals 37 5-7 85.

Halftime: BBE 47, PC 18. 3-pointers: PC 3 (Kvalvog, Olsgaard, Hannestad); BBE 6 (Borgerding 2, Bitzan 2, Ta. Heinsius, Tr. Heinsius). Total fouls: PC 10, BBE 14. Rebounds: PC 19 (M. Moberg 5), BBE 37 (Goodwin 6, Bitzan 6).