The Region IV Basketball Tournament is headed right where everyone expected. To a showdown between the fifth-ranked Four Winds-Minnewaukan Indians and the No. 2-ranked North Star Bearcats.
One thing is for certain, no goal will be safe when the two high-octane teams square off against each other on Thursday evening in the Devils Lake Sports Center. The contest will tip off at approximately 7:30 p.m., or 20 minutes after the conclusion of the Region IV third-place game between St. John and Carrington.
The winner of Thursday’s game will advance to the Class B state basketball tournament.
Four Winds-Minnewaukan earned its place in the regional finals with a devastating semifinal performance against St. John. The Indians, backed my moster performances from Jonathan Yankton and Collin Delorme, scored almost at will en route to claiming an 84-48 victory.
One of three FW-Minnewaukan scorers to hit double digits in scoring, Yankton finished the contest with a game-high 23 points.
Delorme added 20.
St. John, which had entered the tournament as the District 8 runner-up, attempted to stay with the Indians early. The Woodchucks picked up a couple of early baskets from Keifer Langan and posted 14 points in the first eight minutes of the contest.
Against most teams, 14 would have been good enough. Unfortunately for St. John, Four Winds-Minnewaukan isn’t most teams. The Indians opened the contest with a flurry, scoring 20 points in the first quarter.
Four Winds-Minnewaukan was just getting started.
The Indians, who collected points from nine different players in the game, kicked their offensive game into high gear in the second. Sparked by Delorme and Austin Longie, the Indians reeled off a staggering 29-17 run in the frame and ballooned its lead to 18, at 49-31, at the half.
The District 7 senior athlete of the year, Longie finished the contest with 19 points.
St. John’s fortunes didn’t get any better in the second half. The Four Winds-Minnewaukan defense silenced the Woodchucks’ offensive game in the final 16 minutes. St. John managed just 17 points in the final two periods of play.
The Indians, now 19-2 overall, didn’t have the same offensive woes. Four Winds-Minnewaukan knocked down 15 points in the third period and pushed its lead to 64-40 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Tribe closed out the contest with a staggering 29-8 run in the final frame.
Langan finished the game as St. John’s top scorer with 17 points.
North Star, the region’s highest-scoring team, turned in a defensive gem on Tuesday evening to a return trip to the regional finals. The Bearcats’ stifling press defense forced Carrington into more than a dozen turnovers and helped North Star to a 59-37 victory.
Page 2 of 2 - The Bearcats, who entered the tournament averaging more than 70 points per game during the regular season, grabbed an early lead against Carrington, the District 7 tournament’s runner-up. Led by Alex Weston, Jake Hagler and Daniel Grande, the Bearcats managed to pound out a 13-9 run in the first quarter of play.
That was as close as the Cardinals would get.
The North Star defense enabled the Bearcats to push their lead 13 in the second quarter by limiting Carrington to just two shots from the field in the 8-minute frame.
North Star carried a 26-13 lead into the half.
Don’t be alarmed. The North Star offense isn’t broken.
The Bearcats broke out their high-scoring offense in the third. North Star reeled off an 18-4 spree in the third and took a 44-17 cushion into the fourth quarter.
Carrington, which fell into a third-place showdown against St. John on Thursday, solved the NS defensive press in the fourth. The Cardinals accounted for more than half of their total points in the closing minutes, netting 20.
Offensively, Weston led North Star’s scoring with 18. Hagler and Grande added 15 and 10, respectively.
North Star 59, Carrington 37
Carrington 9 4 4 20 —37
North Star 13 13 18 15 —59
Carrington — Seth Abaurrea 2, Scott Burnham 5, Austin Johnson 8, Cole Hendrickson 3, Tysen Rosenau 2, Taylor Skytland 8, Alexander Nelson 9
North Star — Daniel Grande 10, Jake Hagler 15, Johnny Heisler 3, Jayden Komrosky 5, Christian Kvilvang 4, Brooks Larson 4, Alex Weston 18
Four Winds-Minnewaukan 84, St. John 48
St. John 14 17 9 8 —48
Four Winds-M. 20 29 15 29 —84
St. John — Seth Brien 5, Layton Duchaine 3, Andrew Hanretty 4, Sean Jay 10, Kiefer Langan 17, Nicholas Martin 1, Dalton Poitra 8
Four Winds-Minnewaukan — Collin Delorme 20, Austin Longie 19, Hadley Smith 6, Trayvon McKay 4, Jonathan Yankton 23, Jason LaRock 2, Jasten McKay 4, Oliver Gourd 4, Brody Cavanaugh 2