St. John Woodchucks ND Region IV 2017-18 champs

by J. Reed Anderson, Devils Lake Journal GM
The St. John Woodchucks are the 2018-2017 Region IV champions. They played the Langdon-Edmore-Munich Cardinals last Friday night, March 9, at the Devils Lake Sports Center, a championship game that nearly sent hearts into arrest on both sides of the stands.

The finish was not in the Woodchucks’s game plan.The St. John Woodchucks went into the fourth in control of both sides of the court.They outscored the Langdon-Edmore-Munich Cardinals by 12, 10, and 13 points in each of the first three quarters.The Woodchucks were up nine, 10 points.The Cardinals tried to chip away at the score during the fourth quarter, but it was futile.And then, out of nowhere, a whole chunk of the scoring wall just fell away, and with one minute left in the game, the Woodchucks were looking at defeat.

The game started with a couple of buckets traded by the teams.Then the Woodchuck defense started doing to the Cardinals what it did to the Indians the night before.They forced bad shots and mistakes that led to turnovers and an 8-0 Woodchuck run.Woodchuck defenders have quick hands and great anticipation of where a pass is going.

The Cardinals got a couple of stops, but Dylan Davis, off an extra pass, hit a three (his only bucket of the night) to end the first quarter and give the Woodchucks a 12 point lead.

The Cardinals hit the floor fast to start the second quarter.They went on a 12-6 run to pull within six points, 28-22.The Woodchucks were now the team hurrying shots.They got good looks, but couldn’t find the bottom of the net for four-plus minutes.Dalton Prouty broke the drought and the defense tightened at the same time letting the Woodchucks go on a 10-6 run to end the half.The Woodchucks shot lights-out in the first, not so much in the second.The score at half was 38-28, Woodchucks.

The big guns for both teams were not much in effect Friday night.The respective defenses were designed to keep Woodchuck Kyler McGillis and Cardinal Jacob Delvo out of the paint and challenge every shot.The Woodchucks held down Delvo, but in the third quarter McGillis started making his way through the Cardinal defense.McGillis put eight on the board for the Woodchucks, and Prouty put up eight more, including 2-2 from the charity stripe.It was the extra pass Woodchucks made the was the real difference.The Woodchucks went into the fourth with the game solidly in their control.They were up thirteen, 56-43.

The Cardinals down by 10, less than a minute left, and they pressed—and came away with two big steals that went right to the hoop, and a trip to the line in the process.The game was suddenly 67-62 with 44 seconds to play.This was the nearest the Cardinals since the very early minutes of the game.

They went to hack-a-possession and sent Adam Jollie to the line and he missed.Jacob Delvo got the ball and was driving the baseline, went up, and Prouty blocked the shot.It went off Cardinal hands and out of bounds.

The Cardinals fouled immediately on the inbound pass and this time it was Bryor Parisien; he missed.The Cardinals drove the ball down, converted, and it was 67-64 with 13.8 seconds left.

Prouty went to the line after the inbound pass and hit one for two, 68-64.McGillis fouled Delvo with 6.9 seconds, and the score was 68-66.Prouty made one more trip with 6.1 left, 0-2, and Delvo had the ball.He went down court with McGillis matching step for step.Delvo went up.McGillis went up.And McGillis stuffed Delvo to end the game.The final was 68-66.

The L-E-M Cardinals had four players in double digits, Grant Romfo with 16, followed by Ordale Morstad with 13, Simon Romfo 12, and Alex Lowery 10.

The St. John Woodchucks had three in double digits.Dalton Prouty led all scorers with 23, followed by McGillis with 22, and Bradley Defender with 13.

“Ending the game that way wasn’t part of the plan,” said Steve Poitra, St. John head coach.“The guys will enjoy the victory this weekend—and they should.They earned it.It’s our first time at state.But then come Monday, we’re back to work getting ready for Bismarck.”

St. John meets up with Wyndmere-Lidgerwood, March 15, 1 p.m., at the Bismarch Event Center.