The B Beat with Harry Lipsiea: Another week, another top billing for Indians

Harry Lipsiea

By Harry Lipsiea

We have officially hit one month remaining in the regular season for the North Dakota Class B boys basketball season. While teams have a nice number of games under their belts so far, the next four weeks will speak volumes of what to expect come tournament time.

The final portion of the regular season is always interesting as teams usually have a mix of conference and non-conference matchups remaining on their schedule. Teams are fighting for seeding going into postseason play.

It's also interesting to see the results in games where two district foes are meeting for the second time. A lot of times you will see how a team has progressed or adjusted to its opponents.

I love watching these final few weeks because you start to see teams really jelling. As a coach, this is when you want your teams to start peaking. For fans, it's an opportunity to sit back and enjoy the show.

Indians remain on top of the hill

Opponents have been unable to trip up or even slow down Four Winds-Minnewaukan in the past month. Since falling to Dickinson Trinity over Christmas break, the Indians have absolutely dominated their competition, earning 10 straight wins.

In the team's past nine games, Four Winds-Minnewaukan has outscored its opponents by an average of 35 points.

As far as conference play goes, this week has been the Indians' best week yet. The District 7 team has knocked off the second and third teams in the standings by 37 points and 58 points, respectively.

On Friday, Four Winds-Minnewaukan jumped all over a nice Dakota Prairie team early and didn't look back in a 91-54 road victory.

The Indians kept it going Tuesday evening with an impressive 107-49 triumph over a well-coached Harvey-Wells County team.

The Indians have a pair of tough non-conference matchups coming up this week. On Saturday, Four Winds-Minnewaukan takes on a quick and scrappy Thompson squad in Grand Forks.

Next Tuesday, the No. 1 team travels west to face a hot Rugby team.

The Panthers, 11-3, have won its past five games and have made tremendous strides since the start of the season.

Until they are knocked off, the Indians are the team to beat in Class B in my opinion.

North Star gains edge in District 8 race

One thing has been clear since the start of season in District 8: There are three evenly-matched teams battling it out for the crown.

Defending champion North Star, St. John and Dunseith are the teams to beat in the district. Earlier this year, the Woodchucks and Dragons split in their matchups.

On Tuesday evening, the Bearcats may have separated itself from its competition with an impressive 65-56 victory over Dunseith.

With the victory, North Star improved to 3-0 in conference play.

North Star and St. John meet up Tuesday as the Woodchucks host the Bearcats. It will be an interesting battle between two teams that will look to establish its tempo.

St. John will look to push the ball up the court while North Star may slow things down in search of open shots.

It's going to be another close game.

An even playing field

One thing is now sure in North Dakota Class B Basketball: There will be no team to run the table during the 2015-2016 campaign. No. 4 Ellendale, the state's last unbeaten team, dropped its contest to Edgeley-Kulm-Montpeiler 67-55 Tuesday evening.

While it's always fun to watch a team try to complete the perfect season, it's a good thing that there are no unbeaten teams remaining. It creates a more even playing field in my book as no team has added pressure of losing that first game.

There are still a lot of one-loss teams remaining in the state including the top three teams in the poll Four Winds-Minnewaukan, Shiloh Christian and Our Redeemer's.