Before the District 7 tournament tipped off, Four Winds-Minnewaukan head coach Rick Smith gathered his team around them and offered some simple advice. The past is in the past, and be ready to take every team’s best punch from this point on.
On Friday, Four Winds-Minnewaukan found out just how true Smith’s words were.
The fifth-ranked Indians survived a major upset bid by the New Rockford-Sheyenne Rockets in the semifinals of the District 7 Basketball Tournament in the Devils Lake Sports Center. Only a 10-0 run late in the fourth quarter enabled Austin Longie and the FW-Minnewaukan to claim a 56-51 come-from-behind win.
The good news for the Indians is the win cinched Four Winds-Minnewaukan a berth in the upcoming Region IV tournament, and sent the team into tonight’s District 7 championship game against Carrington. The game will tip off at 7 p.m.
New Rockford-Sheyenne certainly didn’t back down from the state-ranked Indians. The Rockets matched the Tribe basket-for-basket for much of the second half.
After the two teams had battled to a 12-12 deadlock in the first quarter, Four Winds-Minnewaukan looked as if it would take control of the game. The Indians outscored the Rockets by an 18-12 clip in the frame and took a 30-24 cushion into the break.
New Rockford-Sheyenne didn’t stay down long. The Rockets soared offensively during the first seven minutes of the third quarter. The team managed to reel off a 13-6 run early and grabbed a 37-36 lead with 1:15 left in the frame on an inside basket from Jacob Lommen.
Trayvon McKay gave the Indians the spark they needed from there. The FW-M standout buried his fifth trey of the contest with 1:01 left in the third to give the Indians a 39-37 cushion.
New Rockford-Sheyenne’s Josh Edmondson pushed in a pair of baskets early in fourth that gave the Rockets a 42-40 advantage.
Four Winds-Minnewaukan found their offense from there. Longie ignited a 10-0 run by pushing home a running layup with just over seven minutes left in the final frame.
Seconds later, McKay buried the front end of a one-and-one situation to give Four Winds-Minnewaukan a lead they would never relinquish. Hadley Smith rebounded McKay’s second free throw and put it back to push in a 45-52 lead with 5:02 remaining.
Longie and McKay both recorded baskets from there to cap the FW-M run and built the Indians’ lead to 50-42
New Rockford-Sheyenne pulled to within two late in the fourth on back-to-back baskets from Chance LaBrie and Lommen.
McKay finished the game as Four Winds-Minnewaukan’s top scorer with 21 points. Longie added 17 more while Collin Delorme added nine.
Page 2 of 2 - The Indians also picked up two points each from Oliver Gourd III, Steven Redfox, Smith and Darion ThreeIrons.
NR-S, which collected double-digit efforts from Lommen, LaBrie, Ethan Haley and Edmonson, fell into a loser-out game against Warwick this afternoon starting at 4 p.m. The winner of the NR-S-Warwick game will advance to the Region IV tournament.
Carrington earned its way into the district title game by downing Harvey-Wells County, 34-24, in the second semifinal matchup.
Carrington, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, was led by Austin Johnson’s 10 points, outscored Harvey-Wells County by a 13-5 clip in the first quarter and never looked back.
Despite the loss, Harvey-Wells County can still earn a berth in the regional tournament by claiming a win over Lakota/Adams-Edmore. The two teams will face off starting at 5:30 p.m.
NOTE: Due to current blizzard conditions in the region the tournament championships have been rescheduled to Tuesday, Feb. 19.