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Honkers finish 8th in State Class B...

It wasn’t the finish the Honkers team and fans had hoped for as they rode an 18-game winning streak into the State Class B Tournament at the MSU Dome this past week.

3/23/16 (Wed)

Kenmare Honkers at State in 2016 . . . The Kenmare Honkers were awarded their State Class B boys basketball 8th place trophy immediately after the game Saturday at the MSU Dome. Shown front row, left to right are: Hunter Rodin, Jacob Rodin, Kyler Melby, Logan Rousseau, Konnor Keysor, Tanner King, Kolton Jesz, Tucker Ellsworth; Back row: Trevor Gustavson, Logan Ercanbrack, Trey Balvitsch, Garrett Stroklund, Carter Houck, Paul Holter, Sam Meidinger, Clay Froseth, Austin Engh and Jake Wink. Not pictured: Braydan Winzenburg, Keaton Chrest, and statistians Emma Condit and April Edwards.

By Marvin Baker

It wasn’t the finish the Honkers team and fans had hoped for as they rode an 18-game winning streak into the State Class B Tournament at the MSU Dome this past week.

Yet, Kenmare’s berth in the State B and their eighth place finish places the team among the elite few in North Dakota high school basketball.

In the Honkers final game of the State tournament, it appeared the Kenmare Honkers were in control of this one, and they were.

The Honkers led by 10 points early in the third quarter, but it slipped away as Strasburg-Zeeland came back to win by four, 64-58 and take the seventh place game in the state Class B tournament.

It wasn’t so much the Clippers as a team, as it was Brody Nieuwsma, who scored more than half Strasburg’s points.

With Kenmare up 27-19 at halftime, Hunter Rodin scored on an impressive, turnaround layup to give the Honkers their biggest lead at 29-19.

Then Nieuwsma took over, scoring 24 of his 35 points through the second half to give the Clippers the win. Eighteen of those 24 were on three-point shots.

When the game opened, Nieuwsma was the only Strasburg player to score in the first quarter, and at the end of one, it was Kenmare 12, Nieuwsma 10.

Other than that, the Honkers played a decent game and appeared more relaxed than in their two previous games.

“We played the best game of the tournament, but had a few minute stretches where we let one of their top scorers get open and didn’t get our hands in his face,” said head coach Kacy Keysor. “Offensively, we hit some shots to keep within striking distance, but as we didn’t do all tournament, we just didn’t make the shots when we needed them.”

But Kenmare played well enough to be in this one to the end, save for Mr. Basketball candidate Nieuwsma.

Both teams went back and forth as the game featured four lead changes and two ties.

For a while in the second quarter the game got a little sloppy on both ends as bodies were flying all over the floor, attempting to gain control of a loose basketball.

Neither team played particularly well in the first half. Kenmare shot 37 percent and Strasburg shot 30 percent.

Things settled down in the second half, unfortunately, the shots were falling for the Clippers.

Strasburg shot 50 percent in the second half and Kenmare shot 46 percent. The Honkers hit 22 of 54 field goals, eight of 31 three-point attempts and six of 11 free throws.

Hunter Rodin led the Honkers in scoring with 18. He was followed by Melby with 10. Logan Rousseau followed with 9 on three treys, Jacob Rodin had 9, Kolton Jesz 6, Tanner King 4 and Paul Holter 2.

Nieuwsma led the Clippers with 35 and was followed by Jacob Eberle with 17.

Nieuwsma was the only Clipper player to score in the first quarter and Eberle was the only Clipper player to score in the second quarter with nine points.

“Overall we just didn’t play our best during the tournament to win games,” Keysor said. “It was a tough way to end the season, but we are all very proud of what the boys’ accomplished this year also gives our younger players something more to strive for next year.”

Kenmare ended the season with a 21-6 record and made its 16th appearance in the Class B tournament, 21st overall.

A special moment happened after the game as Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler handed the Honkers players their individual tournament trophies.

Four Winds-Minnewaukan won the tournament over Our Redeemer’s and Dickinson Trinity held off a late Shiloh Christian rally to finish third. Northern Cass beat Grafton in the consolation title... 

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