Cards hope to get over the humpRevenge is a dish best served cold. With the recent weather that has blown through the Jamestown area, that could be a definite possibility — at least that’s what the No. 5-ranked Carrington boys’ basketball team is hoping for.
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
With the recent weather that has blown through the Jamestown area, that could be a definite possibility — at least that’s what the No. 5-ranked Carrington boys’ basketball team is hoping for.
The Cardinals will return to the Stutsman County Invitational field after losing to Central Prairie last year in the championship, a result the Cardinals have become all too familiar with over the years.
“The last three years we’ve been in the championship game and lost all three,” said Carrington coach Nate Monson. “We lost to LaMoure two years and Central Prairie last year.”
Carrington will carry the top seed into the tournament, which begins today at the Jamestown Civic Center, with the Cardinals facing off against the eighth-seeded Pingree-Buchanan-Kensal Rebels at 3 p.m.
“One thing with maturity is they’re a lot looser and we kind of know what to expect all the time,” said Monson, in his 15th year as coach of the Cardinals. “They don’t get too uptight, they’re fairly confident in their abilities and I guess it kind of shows.”
The Cardinals handled the Rebels 68-19 in the opening round of the Stutsman last season with the help of 6-6 center Devin Barton’s game-high 21 points.
Barton was one of the main offensive weapons for the Cardinals last season, averaging nearly 16 points and 10 rebounds per game, but this year multiple guys have taken on big roles with the team. Monson said all five of his starters are averaging in double digits this season, but a big reason for the Cardinals’ 7-0 start has come from the team’s maturity up and down the roster.
“Jackson Unruh has started since he was a freshman and he’s developed into a really good leader for us,” Monson said. “Easton Page, who is actually our point guard, has always been a nice ball-handler and this year he’s taking charge more.”
Monson added that point guard Kaleb Klein and forward Chase Monson have also stepped up throughout the season as starters, but that the lineup isn’t limited to the just the five guys who take the court to start the game.
“We have seven kids that could start on any given night,” Monson said. “I guess they all have their qualities: some of them are better outside shooters, some go to the basket hard. I guess deep down they all want to win.”
The Cardinals finished last season with an impressive 22-3 record, but a state tournament berth was cut short by North Star, who defeated Carrington in the Region 4 Championship.
The Stutsman comes at a good time for the Cardinals as they prepare for the latter part of the schedule, which will include a rematch of the Region 4 Championship game on Jan. 30 in North Star’s gym. So, a little taste of revenge might be good for the Cardinals this weekend, even though Nate Monson said the team is taking the season one game at a time.
“We can’t afford to look too far ahead,” Monson said. “We’ve got like five games in 10 days and none of them are going to be easy games.”
If the Cardinals are to meet up with Central Prairie again this weekend it won’t happen until the final day, which means a possible championship could be on the line once again. But first thing’s first, Carrington has two days of competition, which features a field of two state-ranked teams, before any chance of redemption.
“This year, I think it’s the most balanced tournament that we’ve had in the last four or five years,” Monson said. “I see six teams having a good chance of winning it.”
Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com