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Kenmare earns trip to State Class B...

A championship game is never easy but the Kenmare Honkers put on a scoring clinic in the first and third quarters of the Region 8 championship Thursday night in an 84-70 victory over the New Town Eagles.

3/15/16 (Tue)

Can’t stop this . . . Hunter Rodin adds two for Kenmare as New Town’s Devon Headdress “flops” to the floor while attempting to draw a charging foul. No call was made and play in the Region 8 championship game sped on Thursday at the Williston State College Well. Kenmare never trailed as they soundly defeated the New Town Eagles, 84-70, for the championship and berth to the State Class B Tournament to be held at the Minot State University Dome, March 17, 18, 19. Kenmare will play Dickinson Trinity at 8:15 p.m Thursday evening, in the last game of the opening day of the State Class B. 

By Marvin Baker

A championship game is never easy but the Kenmare Honkers put on a scoring clinic in the first and third quarters of the Region 8 championship Thursday night in an 84-70 victory over the New Town Eagles.


The win is the 18th consecutive for the Honkers and it punches their ticket to the North Dakota State Class B Tournament starting Thursday in Minot.

After Logan Rousseau opened the game with a three-pointer and got the momentum going, the Honkers were like a steam roller, building up a 22-4 lead before Daniel LeBeau finally hit a bucket for New Town to make the score 22-6 at the end of the first quarter.

“Before the game, we talked about the same thing we have every game this year: Defense, Defense, Defense,” said Kenmare Head Coach Kacy Keysor. “This team really prides itself on the defensive end and takes the challenge every night to try and take opponents out of their game.”

And that may have very well been the key to Thursday’s win because the Honkers held the Eagles to six three-pointers on 20 attempts which is totally out of New Town’s element.

In its two previous games, New Town hit 31 shots from beyond the arc; 16 against Stanley in the opener and 15 against Parshall in the semis.

Kenmare used an aggressive half-court defense knowing the Eagles were dangerous from outside.

In complete contrast, Kenmare was 12 of 16 from downtown Williston. Hunter Rodin went 3 for 3, Jacob Rodin went 5 of 6, Rousseau was 2 of 3, Kolton Jesz had one and Paul Holter had one.

So not only did Kenmare take New Town out of its game, the Honkers gave the Eagles a dose of their own medicine.

Keysor said he didn’t have a specific plan to control New Town from three-point range. He said the guys just went out and played defense like they have all season and stuck a little tighter to the New Town players who tend to shoot from outside.

“These last couple of weeks of the season, we have really seen a growth in confidence and the ability to trust each other on the court which has led to winning close games and finishing our way,” Keysor said.

After that big first quarter, New Town began to chisel away at Kenmare’s lead, just as Trinity Christian did Tuesday night.

The Eagles outscored the Honkers 24-17 to close the gap to 39-30 at halftime, mainly on the strength of free throws.

The Eagles hit eight of 10 from the charity stripe to get them within striking distance.

Midway through the second, New Town cut the Kenmare lead to 7 at 33-26, but a Jacob Rodin three-pointer put the lead back to a comfortable 10 for Kenmare.

In the third, even though the game remained close, there was no doubt Kenmare was in control and remained 10 points up at 59-49 when the buzzer sounded.

Jesz, Rousseau and Hunter Rodin all hit threes and the Honkers were 5 of 9 from the free throw line to keep New Town honest.

It was also in the third quarter that Payton White Owl fouled out of the game and the player with the hot outside shot in two previous games, Chace Hale, committed his fourth, suddenly putting New Town into a desperate situation.

And Kenmare used a style of play that resembles a line change in hockey. Keysor subbed in three players at a time, take three out, put three back in, in a couple of minutes.

Keysor used his deep bench to his full advantage.

“The reason we sub guys in and out so often is because the three guys we have coming off the bench can replace any of the guys on the court and they all play well together,” Keysor said. “These eight guys who get the majority of the time on the varsity court just play so well together and don’t care who scores, they just want to play as a team.”

When the fourth quarter started, Hunter Rodin hit two consecutive three-pointers to quickly build the Honker lead to 65-49 and essentially put the game out of reach for the Eagles.

But it was also in the fourth quarter that the tempo of a fast-paced game slowed down, perhaps because Kenmare was protecting its lead and New Town knew it couldn’t take any risks.

Regardless, the Honkers continued the pressure and continued building the lead until it was 84-70 at the final buzzer and Honker fans began pouring onto the court in the Well at Williston State College.

Kenmare’s 84 was above average. Through 24 games, the Honkers scoring average has been 73.4 points per game.

Jacob Rodin led the Honkers with 25 on the strength of his five three-pointers. Hunter Rodin was right behind at 24 making them the only two Kenmare players in double figures.

Rousseau and Holter each had 8, Tanner King and Kyler Melby each had 6, Konnor Keysor added 4 and Jesz rounded out the scoring with his trey.

New Town was led by Terrence Steele, who scored all but six of his points in the second half.

The Eagles season ended Thursday night with a 14-11 record.

18 game winning streak for Honkers

The Honkers, with a 21-3 record, will ride an 18-game winning streak into the state tournament which opens Thursday in the Minot State University Dome.

The Honkers took second place in the Velva invitational tournament near the start of the season, losing to Our Redeemer’s in the championship game. Kenmare then lost to Bishop Ryan and Parshall, each by six points, but haven’t looked back since.

Keysor believes those three losses are the best thing that could have happened to his team. It taught them they have to continue playing hard no matter what.

Midway through the season, Kenmare defeated Burke County 104-45 and twice they scored in the 90s; a 91-52 win over Glenburn and a 91-73 win over New Town.

The biggest loss was 65-51 to Our Redeemer’s and the Honkers lowest scoring game was a 48-45 win over Stanley which clinched the No. 1 seed in District 16 for the Honkers.

At the conclusion of the tournament, Jacob Rodin was named to the All-Region 8 Tournament team, Wade Baker of Parshall was named Coach of the Year and Region 8 Oustanding Senior Athlete was Austin Schell of Trinity Christian. Parshall, ranked ninth in the final Class B poll, took third place with its win over Trinity.

Kenmare has long history of state basketball tournament appearances

 It’s been 28 years since the Kenmare Honkers boys basketball team has been in a state tournament, but the school actually has a storied past in North Dakota high school basketball.

As most Honker fans know, this team won the state title three times in the 1960s; in ‘63 over New Town, in ‘65 over Maddock and in ‘66 over Milnor.

There were also four, second-place finishes for Kenmare; a 1944 loss to Mayville, a 1950 loss to Minot Model, a 1964 loss to Fort Yates and a 1967 loss to Ellendale.

There is no doubt Kenmare built a dynasty in the 1960s, sending seven teams to the state tournament, making it to the state championship game five years in a row from 1963 through 1967. Teams in 1961 and 1968 also appeared in the state Class B.

The 1988 team was the last Honker team represented at state. At 24-0, Divide County stunned the Honkers in the opener. They came back and beat Strasburg, then lost to Carrington, finishing in sixth place.

Kenmare’s 2016 appearance will be the 21st time in school history a boys basketball team will have played in a state tournament.

In addition to the 1960s and 1988, the Honkers made five state tournament appearances in the 1940s. The first in the modern Class B system was in 1940. They also appeared in 1944, ‘45, ‘46, and ‘47. The 1950 and ‘52 Honkers were also state tournament participants.

Kenmare also made five appearances in “the” state tournament before a class system was established in the 1930s.

The first Honker team in a state tournament was 1917. Trips followed in 1920, ‘22, ‘24 and ‘25.

This year’s team enters the tournament with a 21-3 record and will play against Dickinson Trinity in the last game Thursday, March 17 at 8:15 p.m... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!