All throughout the Barnes County Tournament, the Milnor High School basketball team brought a size element that tested every team the Bison matched up against.
Even though LaMoure/Litchville-Marion lacked the size, they played their game, pulling away late in a 61-51 win over Milnor in the third place game of the Barnes County Tournament.
It ended what LLM coach Darren Thielges called a “fantastic tournament” for the team.
“There’s some good teams in this tournament and we had the fourtune to play three high-quality basketball games, and that’s what we were looking for,” he said. “I think that’s what any team is looking for is to just play good competition and get yourself better.”
The Loboes saved their best for last in the win.
From the opening tip until early in the 4th quarter, a lead of more than four points was a rarity.
Throughout the first quarter, Milnor would hit a shot but LLM would answer right back, taking their first lead on their final shot of the first quarter to go up 12-10.
The Bison tied it up early in the second, but LLM got shots from Drew Thielges and Anthony Olson to go up as the teams played chicken. The only separation the teams got was a four-point run midway through the quarter that put LLM up 22-18 and gave the Loboes a lead that they never gave up, even as Milnor cut the lead to as few as one point numerous times throughout the game.
The lead changed nine times in the first half, but LLM finished with a 28-24 lead at halftime that they never gave up, despite having the Bison on their tail constantly.
Leading scorer Brady Thielges fouled out with 7:37 left in the game as the Loboes protected a 40-36 lead. Shortly after, Anthony Olson, Drew Thielges and Jared Meiklejohn took charge, hitting layups, free throws and jumpers to close it out.
Enderlin takes 5th
Enderlin took advantage of strong shooting throughout its xx-xx win over Griggs County Central in the tournament’s 5th place game.
The Eagles trailed 14-12 after the first quarter but outscored the Cougars 14-5 in the second and never let up, leading the rest of the way.
Enderlin finished the first half shooting 43.5 percent from the floor and shot 48 percent in the entire game. They limited the Cougars to 29 percent shooting.
Coltin Huus and Thomas Lindgren led a balanced Enderlin offense with 10 points each. Daniel Lindgren and Matt Luther had nine and eight points as well.
Kris Wathne led Griggs with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
FSHP Takes 7th
Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page used strong post play to beat Barnes County North 62-39 in the seventh place game.
The Spartans finished with 34 rebounds, eight more than the Bison, and forced 22 turnovers.
“We can’t afford to turn the basketball over,” BCN coach Stacy Schaffer said. “Turnovers for us led to points for them.”
The Bison scored the first points of the game, but the teams traded leads early as FSHP matched every point BCN scored and eventually went up 15-11 to end the first quarter.
But it was the second quarter that made the difference. The Bison opened it with a layup by Brad Clemens, but the Spartans went on a 12-0 run behind Austin Bring and Austen Archer to go up 27-15. They finished the half up 35-20 and never lost the lead the rest of the game.
Archer finished with 21 points and seven rebounds and Bring had 17 points.
Though the Bison finished the tournament without a win, Schaffer was pleased with his team’s attitude and effort in the final game and credited the difference to the rebounding and turnovers.
He said he expects the team to move on and improve after the three losses in the tournament.
“It is what it is,” he said. “It’s a bad week. We just need to come back on Monday and relace our shoes and get ready to play at Milnor on Thursday.”