For the Maple Valley High School boys basketball team, the 2012 Barnes County Tournament isn’t just about winning a title as much. Rather, the Raiders are defending a legacy after winning the championship the last two years.
Tuesday at Osmon Fieldhouse the Raiders had a successful start to the 2012 tournament, beating Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page 65-36 in the tournament’s opening contest.
“We want to be back in that championship game on Saturday night, and that’s what we talked about,” Maple Valley coach Jay Kocka said. “Step one is complete, step two will be Thursday.”
It was quote a first step for the team.
In the game, the Raiders got behind early play from Jordan Haseleu, who hit shots wherever he could find them, scoring 21 in the first half as Maple Valley went up 42-21 by halftime and never let up.
For Haseleu, it was a matter of finshing what he started. In the first two minutes, he had two layups that dropped in despite fouls, and he successfully converted the free throw that followed.
Haseleu remained a key throughout the game.
From there, it was largely a matter driving for layups, although he also connected on several mid-range jumpers and hit his only 3-point attempt, finishing the first half 9-12 from the floor.
“We need him to do that,” Kocka said about Haseleu’s ability to command the floor. “With Jordan on the outside and James (Richman) on the inside, we need those guys to solidify their spots on the floor.”
The Spartans responded to a 10-2 deficit early with five straight points, though Maple Valley then went on a long run to go back up 18-7.
Maple Valley stayed behind Haseleu and Richman to take a 21-point lead at halftime, then put the focus on Richman and Brady Behm in the second half.
Richman and Behm finished with 17 and 11 points, respectively.
FSHP was led by Austin Archer with 10 points and 17 rebounds. Clay Montag had 10 points.
LLM 38, Enderlin 32
LaMoure/Litchville-Marion struggled shooting at times, but did what it took to beat Enderlin 38-32 in the second game of the tournament.
The Loboes finished shooting only 34 percent from the field but nabbed 30 rebounds and forced 18 turnovers en route to the win.
“We talked about three things that we had to do in this first game, and we said we’ve got to defend, rebound, and we’ve got to play with energy,” LLM coach Darren Thielges said. “I thought we did all three of those things.”
The Loboes used a balanced attack throughout the game, but relied mainly on Drew Thielges and Anthony Olson in the second half. The two finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively, and Brady Thielges had eight.
LLM jumped out to a 15-8 lead after the first quarter but struggled in the second quarter and were outscored 8-7 but still led 22-16 at halftime.
LLM carried the lead the rest of the way, leading 30-23 at the end of the third, but Enderlin made it close in the fourth, getting points from Jared Kittelson and Daniel Lindgren to narrow the lead.
The Loboes responded with late points from Drew and Brady Thielges to put it away.
Lindgren led Enderlin with 10 points and Thomas Lindgren had nine.
The win set up semifinal game between LLM and Maple Valley at 6 p.m. Saturday, which is a rematch of a 56-54 win for the Loboes earlier this month.
“We talked about it and by winning this game, we guaranteed ourselves two very good games left in this tournament against really good teams either way,” “We’re looking forward to it. We just like having the competition and I know Maple Valley’s looking to a good game again, too.”
Milnor 68, BCN 44
Barnes County North faced a slight height disadvantage in their 68-44 loss to Milnor in the third game of the tournament, and it hurt on the court.
The Bison were outrebounded on the floor but also struggled under the pressure of a tight Milnor defense that double and triple-teamed players in the post, which left the Bison struggling the entire game, as they trailed 19-11 at the end of the first quarter and 35-19 at halftime.
“I thought our intensity right away wasn’t very good,” BCN coach Stacy Stacy Schaffer said. “We weren’t really attacking on the offensive end and on defense we were pretty stagnant. We needed to do a better job.”
In the first half, Milnor got behind forward Briton Bussman, who worked his way around the post, taking advantage of fast break layups to finish with 18 first-half points, which included a 3-pointer on his only try of the half. He finished the first half 8-11 from the floor.
Bussman finished with 24 points and was helped by post player Wyatt Mund, who had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Landon Mund, who had 11 points.
Milnor also finished with 32 rebounds to BCN’s 16.
Brad Clemens led BCN with 15 points, followed by with Jacoby Kramlich with 11.
The Bison play Griggs County Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in the consolation semifinals. Schaffer said he expects his team to improve as the tournament progresses.
“We need to go out there and we just need to be tougher on the defensive end, more physical on the defensive end, and we need to be more intense and aggressive on the offensive side,” Schaffer said.