Pirates into semisChalk up Adam Randall’s state Class B boys’ basketball tournament debut as a success. The two-time all-state senior guard led Kidder County with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists on Thursday at the Minot State University Dome, lifting the Pirates to a 66-53 opening-round victory over the Shiloh Christian Skyhawks.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
MINOT — Chalk up Adam Randall’s state Class B boys’ basketball tournament debut as a success.
The two-time all-state senior guard led Kidder County with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists on Thursday at the Minot State University Dome, lifting the Pirates to a 66-53 opening-round victory over the Shiloh Christian Skyhawks.
“When you’ve got your leader on the floor in a big game, you expect him to be a leader,” Kidder County coach Paul Olson said.
Randall found 6-foot-3 senior Mike Kalianoff 3 times in period No. 3 for 6 of Kalianoff’s 14 points, while compiling 15 of his 28 points in the second half.
Randall converted 7 of 9 shots at the free-throw line, with 3 of those shots coming with under 2 minutes to play to help the Pirates put things away.
“I know I’m going to get a lot of attention, but I’m confident that if I get the ball to the guys they’ll score,” Randall said. “The biggest thing was that our defense stepped up. Our offense feeds off our defense.”
A sluggish start by the Pirates led to a slim 33-32 Kidder County lead at the half, which appeared to have continued into the third. The Skyhawks began the period hitting their first 3 shots from the floor to take a short-lived 39-35 lead.
But 3 straight Shiloh Christian turnovers combined with a couple of bricked shots all contributed to a 9-0 Kidder County run that wound up being the difference.
Kidder County’s Wesley Nicholson stepped up and drilled his last of 3 three-pointers on the afternoon in the middle of the run, helping the Pirates charge ahead 44-39 with 4:43 left before the fourth.
“We did a better job in the second half on the boards and running our high-pick offense to get (Randall) into some space,” Olson said. “That was one of our objectives and it worked. He plays unselfish and when others get open he gets them some shots.”
Kidder County led the rest of the way, but the Skyhawks kept things close behind 10 of Zach Lardy’s team-high 15 points in the third. Kidder County led 52-48 entering the final period.
“They like to push the ball and we contained their transition up to that run,” Shiloh Christian coach Mike Dwyer said. “I don’t know if it was a little fatigue or what it was. They were working harder on the boards, we weren’t taking good shots, and they got down the floor for 3 or 4 easy buckets and that was the game.”
Kidder County outrebounded Shiloh Christian 37-21. Kalianoff and Nicholson each pulled down 7 boards to go along with Randall’s 11.
Shiloh Christian began the game shooting 52 percent and sinking 5 of the team’s 7 three-pointers in the first half.
“We talked all last week that we needed to get a hand in their faces,” Olson said. “They’re great shooters and if you give them an opportunity they’re going to hurt you.”
Kidder County has assured themselves of at least matching the fourth-place finish the team captured in its last appearance at state back in 1991 with the win.
It was also the Pirates’ second victory over the Skyhawks this season, having previously defeated the Region 5 champions 68-63 back on Feb. 19.
“It was nice to get out to a good start in our first state tournament game,” Randall said. “Now we’ve got that behind us and we’ll need to come out tomorrow and play all 4 quarters.”
Kidder County won’t be able to afford another slow start today against Lewis & Clark-Berthold in the semifinals.
The Bombers (25-1) erased Fargo Oak Grove’s perfect season (24-1) with a 91-82 double overtime victory against the Grovers in the opening game of the tournament.
“Man-to-man will be a tough matchup for us against them because they’re so much bigger than us, and running zone will be tough because they shoot the ball well,” Olson said. “We’ll figure out tomorrow what we’re going to do.”
The game is slated to tip-off tonight at 6:30 p.m.
State Class B Boys’ Basketball Tournament
At Minot University Dome
Berthold 91, Fargo Oak Grove 82, 2OT
Kidder County 18 33 52 66
Shiloh Christian 17 32 48 53
Kidder County — Adam Randall 28, Mike Kalianoff 14, Jake Miller 10, Wesley Nicholson 9, Norman Nicholson 4, Jared Mittleider 1. Totals: 26-52 FG, 10-16 FT, 9 turnovers, 37 rebounds (Randall 11), 14 assists (Randall 5), 10 fouls. Three-pointers: W. Nicholson 3, Randall 1.
Shiloh Christian — Zach Lardy 15, Zane Miller 12, Aaron Hultstrand 10, Austin Friesen 9, Wyatt Knell 7. Totals: 22-49 FG, 2-3 FT, 8 turnovers, 21 rebounds (Friesen 10), 10 assists (Friesen 6), 17 fouls. Three-pointers: Miller 2, Hultstrand 2, Lardy 1, Knell 1, Friesen 1.
Records: Kidder County 20-5; Shiloh Christian 19-6.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org