The seats were packed to the rafters and the schools' fans made them shake. The Region IV semi-final games were held at the Devils Lake Sports Center last night, with the Four Winds-Minnewaukan Indians taking on the St. John Woodchucks in the first game, and Dunseith Dragons going up against the Langdon-Edmore-Munich Cardinals in the late game.
The seats were packed to the rafters and the schools’ fans made them shake. The Region IV semi-final games were held at the Devils Lake Sports Center last night, with the Four Winds-Minnewaukan Indians taking on the St. John Woodchucks in the first game, and Dunseith Dragons going up against the Langdon-Edmore-Munich Cardinals in the late game.
The Indians were on the board first and the Woodchucks looked uncertain. The Indians seemed ready to run the opponent into the ground. There are few teams that have been able to match the Indians in run-and-gun basketball. What small lead the Indians established in the first several minutes evaporated as the Woodchucks found their pace.
The Woodchucks started getting hands on passes and forcing Indian turnovers and Dylan Davis and Bryor Parisien dropped nine between them from the arc, making it look easy, to go with Kyler McGillis’s eight first quarter points. Dalton Prouty and McGillis joined Davis and Parisien in the second quarter combining to drain five from the arc.
The Indians tried to get the ball inside, first to Caelen Lohnes and then to Branson Walter, but the Woodchuck defense would collapse on them. The Woodchucks made room under the boards, forced Indians to take shots, and picked off passes that they took the other way. The Woodchucks just smothered the Indians with their defense and out ran them the whole game. The teams went into halftime with the Woodchuck up by 21, 42-21.
The Indians came out attacking in the third and did put the Woodchucks back on their heels in the first few minutes. But then the Woodchuck defense caught up and started forcing mistake. The Indians just couldn’t find a hole in the Woodchucks’s game.
The Indians went to a press in the fourth, but the way the Woodchucks spread the Indians defense with Woodchuck players doing fly routes down the sidelines no Indian defender could get between the ball and a Woodchuck. With just over two minutes left in the game, and after a 14-5 run for a 79-43 lead, Woodchuck head coach Steve Poitra called a timeout and rotated out his starters. The St. John Woodchucks won 79-47.
The L-E-M Cardinals started slow, getting some good looks but unable to finish. The Dunseith Dragons looked like they were going to control the game, but the Cardinals slowly worked their way back into the game and took a small lead half-way through the second quarter. The two teams spent several minutes exchanging baskets and ties, the Cardinals Jacob Delvo driving to the hoop, and the Dragons Antoine Rivera knocking down from three, until the Cardinals hit for two to end the half with a two point lead, 34-32.
The Dragons came out into the third quarter and immediately went up by three. But the Cardinals answered with a 6-0 run to regain the lead, 40-37. Both teams had real problems finishing at the hoop, bopping easy layups off the bottom of the rim or sending the ball too high on the glass. The Cardinals, primarily Delvo and Simon Romfo, attacked the paint. The Dragons decided to live long and lost boards because of long rebounds. The Cardinals were up six at one point but blown layups and finally a three from the Dragons tied the game at 42. The Cardinals answered with their own three, and Michael Two Hearts had a chance to tie it with a two-plus-one, but missed the free throw. Delvo put two more on the board and the Cardinals went into the fourth with a 48-44 lead.
The Cardinal took an eight point lead during the fourth and Two Heart got the Dragons with in three, but a couple of turnovers gave the momentum back to the Cardinals. The Dragons just couldn’t over come that margin, and the Cardinals moved into the championship game with a 68-59 win.