Cardinals claim second straight Stutsman crown
They were hit hard by graduation, and the product they were going to put on the court this season was in question.
Carrington defeated Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier 67-49 in the championship game inside the Jamestown Civic Center, hoisting the tournament’s title trophy for a second consecutive year.
“It was a good night. A good game for us all the way around,” Carrington coach Matthew Hone said. “The defense looked good, offense looked good. I was very pleased with the effort.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better showing in the championship game.”
The Cards’ offense was clicking, converting nearly 50 percent of its shots while distributing the ball nicely. A total of four players cracked double-digit scoring, led by sophomore Connor Wendel with 16.
On the other side of the floor, the Rebels struggled mightily with their own offense, especially in the first half. E-K-M hit just six field goals before halftime on 6-of-34 shooting for less than 18 percent.
It didn’t matter if it was a 15-foot jumper or a layup. Nothing was falling for the Rebels.
“It was the whole team. It wasn’t really one person or two people out there,” E-K-M coach Kevin Strobel said. “We had good looks. They just didn’t fall tonight.”
The Cardinals opened the game on an 11-3 run and led 33-24 at the half. E-K-M sophomore forward Connor Entzi tried to put his team on his back after the break, scoring 10 for the Rebels’ 12 third-period points.
Entzi finished with a game-high 21 after scoring 17 in the second half.
But E-K-M couldn’t quell the Cardinals’ offense on the other end of the court. Shae Mehring and Wendel knocked down treys to help Carrington lead 47-36 to start the fourth.
The Cardinals then ratcheted things up a notch defensively, forcing E-K-M into seven of their 15 turnovers over the first 5 minutes of the final period, as Carrington ballooned its lead to 19 points at 61-42 with 3 minutes, 17 seconds remaining in the game.
“The keystone to our whole scheme is playing good, up-tempo defense. Creating turnovers, push the ball and then feed the offense,” Hone said. “Tonight the kids were really ready to go. They came out with a lot of energy and were ready to attack Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier, and that’s what you saw.”
In Friday night’s semifinals, Carrington scored 34 points off Ellendale turnovers in a 52-45 victory. Against the Rebels in the title game, Carrington turned the Rebels’ 15 turnovers into 21 points.
Seth Abaurrea led the Cards with three steals, to go along with 11 points and three assists.
“I think maybe we started pushing the issue a little bit more than we had been. Trying too hard maybe to create something offensively,” Strobel said. “But (Carrington’s) a good club, they’re athletic and they’re quick out there.
“There’s a reason we were turning the ball over, because of their athleticism and quickness up front.”
The Rebels fell to 3-1 on the season, but they’ll take plenty of positives away from the tournament after picking up victories over Kidder County and South Border.
“Our kids played hard for all three games,” Strobel said. “We’ve got a fairly young team out there, so I look for a lot of improvement throughout the course of the year, and hopefully we can learn from this loss.”
Carrington moved to 4-0 with a lot of its questions answered.
“We’re a young team. We lost a lot of seniors from last year’s crew,” Hone said. “There were a lot of questions as far as how good we were going to be, or what level of talent we were going to have coming in this year. But these younger guys, these juniors and sophomores mixed in with the two seniors we have, are really clicking right now.
“We hope to get better as the year goes a long and build for maybe a good showing at the districts when it’s all said and done.”
Stutsman County Basketball Tournament
At Jamestown Civic Center
Carrington 67, Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier 49
Carrington 17 33 47 67
Edgeley-K-M 11 24 36 49
Carrington — Connor Wendel 16, Jacob Edland 14, Seth Abaurrea 11, Ryan Indergaard 10, Shae Mehring 9, Brady Smith 4, Brady Bickett 3. Totals: 25-54 FG, 11-14 FT, 3-pointers: 6-19 (Indergaard 2, Wendel 2, Bickett 1, Mehring 1), 37 Rebounds (Edland 8), 16 Fouls, 5 Assists (Abaurrea 3), 12 Turnovers, 2 Blocks (2 with 1), 8 Steals (Abaurrea 3).
Edgeley-K-M — Connor Entzi 21, Trystan Harr 10, Mason Madcke 7, Josh Foley 6, Noah Greer 4, Blake Naze 1. Totals: 18-62 FG, 10-16 FT, 3-pointers: 3-20 (Madcke 2, Greer 1), 39 Rebounds (Madcke 7), 14 Fouls, 0 Assists, 15 Turnovers, 0 Blocks, 6 Steals (Greer 2, Harr 2).
Records: Carrington 4-0; E-K-M 3-1.
All-Tournament Team: Connor Entzi, E-K-M; Ryan Sand, Kidder Co.; Adam White, Ellendale; Seth Abaurrea, Carrington; Trent Fettig, Napoleon-G-S; Cole Scherbenske, Kidder Co.; Nicholas Blaskowski, Medina-P-B; Jacob Edland, Carrington; Adam Jacobson, South Border; Dakota Hoyt, Midkota-Kensal; Hunter Pinke, South Border.
Sportsmanship Award: Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter.
Free-Throw Award: South Border (76.7 percent).
Coach of the Tournament: Kevin Strobel, E-K-M.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org