The B Beat with Harry Lipsiea: Bring on regionals
Monday evening is what tournament basketball is all about. Both the District 7 and District 8 tournaments featured hard-fought games with teams battling to keep their seasons alive. It made for tremendous excitement and several razor-thin decisions.
With that said, the tournaments were very different. District 7, like it was all season long, was all about surprises during its tournament. It was a close conference throughout and featured seven teams that could truly knock off anyone else on a single given night.
Meanwhile, District 8 didn't have a single upset take place. Despite a lot of competitive games, including an exciting title game, the tournament finished with all four teams walking away with the same seed it entered Friday with.
This all leads to what will be a dandy of a Region 4 tournament next week. We will take a look at the matchups a little bit later, but for now let's talk about the district tourneys.
Sixth-seed Lakota-Edmore captures crown
For many, Lakota-Edmore winning the District 7 Tournament was a huge upset. While not my favorite to win the championship, the Raiders were a team I had my eye on heading into the postseason.
Look at its track record in the final weeks of the season. The squad had two heart-breaking losses against two of the district's top teams. Also, the Raiders fell just short by three points to a very solid Langdon-Munich team just a week before the tournament.
I couldn't help but think Lakota-Edmore was going to be a tough out when I saw them earlier this year. The Raiders feature an extremely skilled post player in eighth grader Callie Ronningen. She brings a combination of size, fundamentals and basketball IQ to the table that you just don't see in middle schoolers or in a majority of high school players.
Taylor Anderson, the District 7 Senior Player of the Year, gives Lakota-Edmore an excellent floor general who can drive, dish and shoot effectively.
But, what stands out to me about the Raiders isn't about a certain individual. The group plays well together. When I saw them, Lakota-Edmore truly played as a team and that is a credit to its strong coaches.
The Raiders enter the Region 4 Tournament with a top seed. Many will still consider the squad an underdog. One thing remains clear to me: Lakota-Edmore will be a tough out this postseason.
Impressive tourney by Benson County
What a nice performance displayed by the Benson County girls basketball team at the District 7 tournament.
The Wildcats opened up the event with a dominant 59-32 victory over No. 5 New Rockford-Sheyenne.
Benson County turned some heads in the semifinals, knocking off top-seeded Warwick 51-50. Defense was the biggest factor in the win as the Wildcats were able to limit the high-powered Warriors offensively.
Once again, Benson County turned in a nice game in the title matchup against a hot Lakota-Edmore squad. The Raiders walked away with the 50-47 victory in overtime.
Look for No. 2 Benson County to keep playing good basketball in the Region 4 Tournament next week. Its matchup against Rolette-Wolford will be an interesting one. The Comets should have an edge down low, but the Wildcats have the athleticism. I expect an awesome first-round game.
Indians, Hornets move on
Many expected Warwick and Four Winds-Minnewaukan to meet in the district title game. Instead the squads battled each other in region-qualifying action Monday evening. What a game between two solid basketball teams. In the end, it was 57-54 victory for the deep, experienced Indians over a talented and youthful Warrior squad.
In the first round of regionals, Four Winds-Minnewaukan will meet North Star in the rubber match between the two teams. The Bearcats won the first matchup 61-38 while the Indians won 53-50 just a couple weeks later.
On the other side of the region-qualifying game, what a heart-breaking loss for Warwick. The Warriors had a tremendous season and have a bright future with just one senior on this year's roster.
After playing in a pair of tight games in its first two contests of districts, Harvey-Wells County cruised to victory with a 64-40 win over New Rockford-Sheyenne in a region qualifier. It was a nice bounce back for the Hornets who fell in a razor-thin loss to Lakota-Edmore in the semifinals. In the first round, Harvey-Wells County fought off an inspired effort by Dakota Prairie to win by two points.
District 8 by numbers
There were no surprises in the District 8 basketball tournament. There, however, were still plenty of competitive basketball games.
You don't have to look any further than the title game. No. 1 North Star needed a big fourth-quarter effort to overcome a solid performance by Langdon-Munich in a 63-52 victory.
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Don't be surprised if we see this matchup again in the Region 4 title game. But both teams will have to beat two very good teams to make it there.
In region-qualifying action, Rolette-Wolford put together a dominant second half to walk away with a 58-36 victory over Rolla. The Comets outscored the Bulldogs 33-11 in the final two periods.
Rolette-Wolford enters the regional tournament with a lot of momentum. The Comets could be a dark horse in Region 4.
Dunseith also sealed up a spot at regionals with a tight 72-63 win over St. John. Darian Gladue led the way for the Dragons with 28 points.