Lions hold off Rebels
Senior Brooks Flyberg’s successful 3-point play late in the fourth period was the exclamation point Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock had been searching for on Monday night.
The conversion put the Lions up 53-45 with 3 minutes, 8 seconds left in the ball game — the largest lead by either team to that point — and they held on to defeat Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier 56-45 in the quarterfinals of the Region 3 boys basketball tournament inside the Jamestown Civic Center.
The Lions move on to face Ellendale in tonight’s semifinals.
“I was just hoping we could hold them off,” Flyberg said. “They fought hard, and luckily we came out with a win tonight.”
In a game that pretty much lacked any offensive fireworks, the score was tied 37-37 at end of three quarters. But over the final eight minutes the Lions went to the free-throw line and coolly knocked down 9-of-11 freebies to keep the Rebels at bay.
Both teams were held under 40 percent shooting, as the bucket seemed to have a lid on it at times. The Rebels missed their first 10 shots from the field and trailed 10-7 after the first period.
“Our kids played hard, but you’ve got to give (the Lions) credit,” E-K-M coach Kevin Strobel said. “They executed those last two and a half, three minutes better than we did, and they hit big shots when they needed to.”
The Lions managed to lead 24-23 at the half after not having a large piece of its offensive equation on the floor. Junior guard Jonathon Purintun didn’t play the entire second quarter after checking out with his second foul early in the first.
“He makes a lot of stuff happen,” Linton-HMB coach Dan Carr said. “We think there’s a lot of difference when he’s in the game … but it just didn’t seem like we could get anything going. We didn’t execute on offense at all.”
Andrew Small led three players in double-digit scoring for the Lions with 13 points, while junior Austin Bernhardt ended with a double-double for the Lions with 12 points and 10 boards.
Noah Greer led the Rebels with 12 points, while E-K-M’s Connor Entzi and Christian Miller each scored 10.
“I thought there was probably only a couple three minutes there where we exactly played hard like we should be playing,” Carr said. “But on the other hand I thought Edgeley came out, they played hard and worked for everything.”
The Rebels’ season came to a close at 8-15.
“We’ve kept talking all along that this region was wide open and everybody’s got a chance,” Strobel said. “I guess tonight we didn’t quite play well enough. The kids put in a heck of an effort, and I am proud of that.”
The District 6 champion Lions (18-4) have won nine of their last 11 games, and move on in search of their third Region title in four years. Linton-HMB won back-to-back region championship in 2011 and 2012.
“We’ll need a lot better effort than we had tonight, because if we don’t play any better than that there is no championship game,” Carr said. “It didn’t seem like we had the intensity that you’d like to see out there. Hopefully (tonight) it’s there.”
Region 3 Boys Basketball Tournament
At Jamestown Civic Center
Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock 56, Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier 45
Linton-HMB 10 24 37 56
Edgeley-K-M 7 23 37 45
Linton-HMB — Andrew Small 13, Austin Bernhardt 12, Jonathon Purintun 10, Ryan Schneider 9, Brooks Flyberg 8, Erik Holzer 2, Jordan Hulm 2. Totals: 20-53 FG, 12-15 FT, 35 Rebounds (Bernhardt 10), 10 Fouls, 3 Assists (3 with 1), 13 Turnovers, 2 Blocks (2 with 1), 7 Steals (Purintun 2). 3-pointers: 4-14 (Small 2, Schneider 2).
Edgeley-K-M — Noah Greer 12, Connor Entzi 10, Christian Miller 10, Trystan Harr 7, Tanner Zahn 4, Tucker Knudson 2. Totals: 18-57 FG, 6-7 FT, 33 Rebounds (Entzi 7, Miller 7), 14 Fouls, 6 Assists (2 with 2), 16 Turnovers, 7 Steals (2 with 2). 3-pointers: 3-15 (Greer 2, Harr 1).
Records: Linton-HMB 18-4; Edgeley-K-M 8-15.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com