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Bombers return to State B tourney

Bishop Ryan fans started the Region 6 championship game with a roar Thursday night, but the Berthold Bombers tamed their Lion opponents and crowd with a focused performance on the court. Six minutes into the first quarter, the Bombers left no doubt who controlled the game’s tempo and action, and by the final buzzer the defending Region 6 champs still reigned, topping Bishop Ryan 50-30.

3/17/10 (Wed)


By Caroline Downs
Bishop Ryan fans started the Region 6 championship game with a roar Thursday night, but the Berthold Bombers tamed their Lion opponents and crowd with a focused performance on the court. Six minutes into the first quarter, the Bombers left no doubt who controlled the game’s tempo and action, and by the final buzzer the defending Region 6 champs still reigned, topping Bishop Ryan 50-30.
Matt Yale wore a grin after the awards and photos and hugs from his family. “That was the most exciting game I’ve played in!” he said, describing the Lions as a great team to play. “The coaches got it into us to D-up and rebound, and we shut down their two big guns.”
The two teams, who met a week earlier for the District 12 championship in a game led by the Lions until the final seconds when Berthold claimed victory by a single point, looked tentative as they started on Thursday, missing shots on both ends until Tyler Birdsall put the first point on the board with a free throw for the Bombers at 7:35.
Birdsall was fouled by Ryan’s center Levi Freidt, which proved to be a key factor as Freidt picked up his second foul a minute later against Dan Yale. Taylor Schwan and Ben Magnuson had both scored for Lions at that point, for a 4-1 lead, but with Freidt on the bench for the quarter, the momentum shifted in the Bombers’ favor.
The points came slowly for Berthold at first, with Dan Yale making an inside shot with two and a half minutes gone, then not finding the basket again for three more minutes until a dump by Matt Yale set him up for another look for a 5-4 Bombers’ margin. However, the Lions’ shots weren’t falling at the other end as Berthold put up a tremendous defensive effort and limited Ryan’s opportunities. The Bombers also pulled down 11 rebounds that quarter, preventing many second chances for the Lions.
Matt Yale added back-to-back field goals with just over a minute remaining, plus a free throw on a Matt Magnuson foul for a 10-4 advantage. Schwan drilled a three-pointer for the Lions to come within three at 10-7, but neither team could capitalize on their final possessions of the quarter.
Magnuson opened the second quarter with one of his trademark 3-pointers to tie the score, but those were the last points for the Lions for the half.
The Bombers went to work, adding points on shots by Lyndon Bloms, Matt Yale, Birdsall, Dan Yale, Josh Brown and Michael White. Defensively, the Bombers simply left no room for the Lions, whose shots consistently bounced off the rim to be grabbed by a Berthold player.
With the frustration level mounting for the Lions, Berthold scored 7 points in the final minute, starting with three out of four free throws by Bloms on Freidt’s third foul of the night followed by a technical. White added insult to injury with an inside shot at 48 seconds and a put-back from a Matt Yale miss at 5 seconds. Bombers’ fans cheered their team’s 31-10 lead at halftime.
Following another White basket inside, the Lions finally scored again at the 7:23 mark in the third quarter as Freidt made good on one of two free throw attempts after a Matt Yale foul. With the ball still falling into the Bombers’ hands on rebounds as if magnetized, the two teams provided plenty of quick back-and-forth action without a lot of scoring. White added two at the six-minute mark, with Dan Yale sinking a shot a minute later. Meanwhile, Magnuson added 8 points for the Lions on two three-pointers and another field goal, while Schwan hit a three-point shot.
Even holding a 37-22 advantage, the Bombers could feel the Lions’ charge. Magnuson bumped his team’s score to 24 on a basket, but White answered with an offensive rebound and put-back to close the quarter on a 39-24 Berthold lead.
The fourth period opened with a Bombers team determined to earn the win. Dan Yale launched the quarter on a steal under the Lions’ basket and a coast-to-coast lay-up. Berthold turned up the defensive heat on one end of the court, while seeing shots fall at the other end from White, Matt Yale and Brown.
With a minute left in the game and a 50-30 lead as White made his final put-back of the night, Teets sent in Grant Peterson, Matt White, Joey DeRouchey, Adam Birdsall and Ian Hall to hold the Lions at bay. While Berthold held the ball in possession at the final buzzer, the Bombers fans let loose with their own cheers and stormed the floor to embrace their champions.
Returning to the state tournament has been a goal of Matt Yale’s since last year’s 8th place finish. “We left with a bitter taste in our mouths,” he said. “This team deserves to go. We’ve worked hard all season, and going with this group of guys makes it more special. These are my closest friends.”
White agreed. “It’s exciting, and it feels good to go back,” he said, adding that the team’s defense was key to the championship victory that night.
Bloms said the coaches’ constant preaching about rebounds and defense through the season came together for the team. “And it was the mentality before the game,” he said. “You could tell in the locker room. We were more quiet and more focused. I had a good feeling about this game!”
Teets also described his team as extremely focused. “Before the game, that was quietest locker room I’ve ever seen,” he said.
True to his players’ memories, Teets said the team had discussed rebounding and defense endlessly, with the Bombers dominating the boards in the first half of the game 23-9. “That’s winning basketball,” he said. “Then it was a grind-it-out second half.”
He promised the Bombers could have a day off practice on Friday. “But we’ve got a lot of things to work on, and we have to find out who we’re playing,” he said.
He echoed his players’ feelings about returning to the state tournament. “We’re hungry. We didn’t like the way we finished last year,” he said. “This year, we’re going to play our hardest and let the rest of it take care of itself.”
The Bombers were led by 20 points from Michael White. Dan Yale added 10 points, Matt Yale 6, Bloms 6, Brown 5 and Tyler Birdsall 3.
Berthold grabbed 39 rebounds in the game, led by 13 from Matt Yale, while the Lions managed 21 rebounds.
The Bombers shot 21-of-45 from the field, and 6-of-11 from the free throw line, while the Lions made good on only 12-of-46 field goals and 1-of-4 free throws.
Three of the Lions added points to the scoreboard, with 20 from Magnuson and 5 apiece from Schwan and Freidt.
In the Region 6 third place game, DLB easily handled Mohall Lansford Sherwood 70-42.
White, Matt Yale and Dan Yale were named to the All-Region 6 team for Berthold. They were joined by Freidt and Magnuson of Bishop Ryan, Nathan Martin of Drake-Anamoose, Jon Mack of Velva, Mark Lacroix of Bottineau, Tyler Thorson of TGU, and Evan Dubois of Dunseith.
The Bombers received three of the region’s top awards as Matt Yale was named Senior Athlete of the Year, Coach Brock Teets as Coach of the Year, and Activities Director Peggy Person as AD of the Year.
Bombers take on Grovers
to open Class B state action
Lewis & Clark-Berthold (24-1) will open the 2010 Class B Boys State Basketball tournament at the Minot State University Dome on Thursday, March 18th, with a 1 pm game against Region 1 champion Oak Grove (24-0).
Thursday’s other games include Region 3 champion Kidder County against Region 5 champion Shiloh Christian at approximately 2:45 pm, Region 2 champion Cavalier against Region 7 champion Beulah at 6:30 pm, and Region 4 champion Carrington against Region 8 champion Mandaree at approximately 8:15 pm.
Consolation play will continue Friday during the afternoon session, with semi-finals played in the evening session.
The tournament will conclude Saturday, with the 7th place game scheduled for 1 pm, the consolation championship at 3 pm, the 3rd place game at 6 pm, and the championship game at 8 pm.
Berthold wins semifinals
game against DLB
A crowd of all ages, decked out in purple and gold, waited to greet the Bombers after their 56-45 semi-finals win over DLB on March 9th.
Berthold fans were visibly relieved, given the Lakers’ challenge early in the fourth quarter.
 “It’s always going to be a good game with them,” Coach Teets said after the Bombers claimed the win. “That’s the way it’s been for years. DLB is a very good basketball team, a very athletic team.” The Bombers started strong on a Dan Yale basket inside 10 seconds into the game. They ran up a 6-0 lead on a Bloms pull-up jumper and a Dan Yale put-back, while holding off DLB until Anthony Rice found the basket over the top of his Berthold defenders halfway through the quarter.
Tyler Storseth scored a minute later for DLB and Rice put the Lakers within a point at 5-6 on a free throw with just over two minutes remaining, but Dan Yale answered with a turn-around jump shot, followed by a three-pointer from Matt Yale in the left corner, with Matt stealing the ball on the next possession and making a lay-up to give the Bombers 13 points with 30 seconds left. The Lakers had the last word, however, as Dillon Wickum made an inside shot at the eight-second mark, cutting the Bombers’ margin to 13-7.
Even as Rice sank a free throw to open the second quarter, Berthold started pulling away on an old-fashioned three-point play by Matt Yale as he made good on a lay-up and the free throw. Taylor Langan added two points on the next possession, and Bloms popped in a three-pointer from the front of the basket. John Sundsbak scored three times for the Lakers, but Matt Yale made it a 10-point game again on a three-point attempt. The Bombers finished the half ahead 26-16 after Adam Birdsall sent an offensive rebound back to score.
Rice spurred his teammates at the top of the third quarter with another free throw, followed by one from Jayden Groninger as the Bombers’ defense proved a little too sticky for the officials. Two shots by Dan Yale and two free throws from Matt Yale widened the gap to 32-20, although Storseth responded with a 3-pointer for the Lakers. Tyler Birdsall and Sundsbak traded shots for the Bombers and Lakers respectively, and a flurry of missed shots and rebounds on the Bombers’ side got the crowd rolling.
Shots started falling again in the final two minutes of the period, with the Lakers adding points from Storseth and the Bombers staying ahead 40-29 with baskets by Dan Yale and Matt Yale.
The Berthold fans seemed confident in their team’s second consecutive trip to the Region 6 championship game, but the Lakers worked hard to reduce the gap as the fourth quarter opened, beginning with a field goal by Caleb Kester. Rice made an inside shot and drew a third foul on Dan Yale for a free throw, cutting Berthold’s lead to 40-34.
White sank a pair of free throws, but the Bombers were called for fouls on the other end, allowing Rice and Kester to narrow the gap to 42-37. White hit another free throw just before the four-minute mark of the quarter, but Storseth hit a three-pointer for a 43-40 game and a shift in momentum toward the Lakers.
A time-out allowed the Bombers to refocus. Langan came back with an inside shot for the Bombers, followed by another from Dan Yale. Rice scored on a shot and free throw, but those points proved to be the last for the Lakers in the next two and a half minutes of the game.
DLB pressured and fouled the Bombers, sending White, Matt Yale and Dan Yale to the line to sink 7-of-8 free throws. White added another field goal for good measure. Rice came up with a basket with 14 seconds left to play, but the Bombers’ 56-45 margin was enough for the victory.
“They’re a big team, and they made a little run toward the end,” said Teets. “Our kids answered back and we made our own offensive run. We also did a great job on the boards tonight.”
In fact, the Bombers finished with 39 rebounds in the contest. They averaged 37 percent in field goals at 20-of-54 and 72 percent from the charity stripe at 13-of-18. The Lakers sank 16-of-43 field goals and 11-of-17 free throws.
Three Bombers finished in double figures, with Matt Yale at 17 points, Dan Yale at 16 points and White at 10.
Bloms added 5 points, Langan 4, Adam Birdsall 2 and Tyler Birdsall 2.
Rice paced the Lakers with 15 points, while Storseth added 14.
In the evening’s other semi-finals action, Bishop Ryan ran over MLS 66-33.