Mustangs win in 2 OTs; meet Loboes for titleOn no matter what level basketball is played, it’s normally the team that finds the most success at the free-throw line that goes home the winner. The South Border Mustangs stroked in 20-of-23 attempts at the charity stripe in the second half on Tuesday night, shocking District 6 champion Strasburg-Zeeland 63-54 in double-overtime during the semifinals of the Region 3 boys basketball tournament at the Jamestown Civic Center.
By: By Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
On no matter what level basketball is played, it’s normally the team that finds the most success at the free-throw line that goes home the winner.
The South Border Mustangs stroked in 20-of-23 attempts at the charity stripe in the second half on Tuesday night, shocking District 6 champion Strasburg-Zeeland 63-54 in double-overtime during the semifinals of the Region 3 boys basketball tournament at the Jamestown Civic Center.
South Border will face LaMoure-Litchville/Marion at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday with a trip to the state tournament on the line. The Loboes defeated Linton/H-M-B 53-44 in the second semifinal.
“We shoot 82 percent (from the free-throw line) as a team … What a luxury it is to be able to go and have five 80-percent shooters on the line at the end of the game,” South Border coach Robert Lukens said. “We have confidence in every single one of them to shoot it.”
Senior standout Michael Jacobson shined once again for the Mustangs, picking up his second double-double of the tournament with 30 points and 14 rebounds. Jacobson went a perfect 11-of-11 at the charity stripe in the second half, which included four at the line in the second overtime to help the Mustangs put the game away.
“He’s just such a great player,” South Border freshman Hunter Pinke said of Jacobson. “He doesn’t talk much but he’s such a leader on the court. I’m honored to play with him.”
Pinke scored South Border’s second double-double of the night with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Pinke was also perfect at the line in the second half going 4-for-4.
“We just knew we had to come out and play with intensity on defense and play as a team. But we’re not done yet,” Pinke said “We came here to win this tournament … so we’re just going to keep on working hard and playing as a team.”
South Border led just 22-20 at the half behind 11 of Jacobson’s 30. Strasburg/Zeeland freshman guard Brody Nieuwsma did all he could to keep the Clippers in it, scoring 12 of the Clippers’ first 13 points of the game as the Mustangs led 18-13 with 6:20 left in the half.
Brody Nieuwsma led Strasburg/Zeeland, who is no stranger to South Border this season, with a pair of 3-pointers and 23 total points.
South Border (14-10) had fallen to Strasburg/Zeeland (20-3) on three previous occasions, but they had been closing the gap. South Border fell to the Clippers by 11 points back on Dec. 18, by nine on Jan. 15, and by just two (55-52) in the semifinals of the District 6 tournament last week in Napoleon.
“This was the fourth time we’ve played them all season, so we knew we were going to have a tough one tonight,” Brody Nieuwsma said. “We’ve been stressing in practice that we’ve got to make free throws if we want to win the game, but I guess they just came out on top tonight.”
The Clippers missed some big buckets at the line in the game, going 14-for-23 at the stripe. The 3-ball also wasn’t dropping for the Clippers, who went just 4-of-21 from behind the arc.
Strasburg/Zeeland’s Scotti Scherr went 0-of-6 from long range, after going 5-of-10 from behind the arc during the Clippers’ 67-49 quarterfinal victory over P-B-K.
“It’s our second game back without Nic Kramer (who was lost to injury) who was a big part of the team,” Nieuwsma said. “But I’ve got to give South Border credit, they’re a tough team. If anybody would have deserved to beat us, I’d say them.”
Jacobson went 7-of-7 at the line in the third, helping the Mustangs cling to a 33-32 lead after three. The Clippers were able to tie the game at 47-47 at the end of regulation, and again at 52-52 after the first 4-minute overtime.
But South Border stood tall in the second overtime, allowing the Clippers just one field goal over the final four 4 minutes as they’d roll by 9 points, the Mustangs’ largest lead of the game.
“(The Clippers) are well-coached, they’re a good team and play fantastic defense,” Lukens said. “Coach Kleinsasser always has them prepared. They’ve always got a trick up their sleeve, no matter what you do.”
Lukens said defense will play a key role in Thursday’s matchup with the Loboes in the title tilt.
“Magic Johnson always said that your defense wins championships,” Lukens said. “We have developed a mentality on defense, and we’ve got to play defense to win a championship.”
L-L-M 53, L-HMB 44
LaMoure-Litchville-Marion senior guard Jared Meiklejohn had been waiting for Tuesday night for most of his prep career.
The Loboes had fallen victim to Linton-HMB in both of the past two Region 3 tournaments. But behind Meiklejohn’s game-high 21 points the Loboes finally got the monkey off their back and will be returning to the region title game for the second time in the past three years.
“It’s awesome … (Linton-HMB has) always been that heated rival, so it’s nice to get that ‘W’ over them,” Meiklejohn said.
Tied at 22-22 at the half, the Loboes went on a 14-4 run that started with 3 minutes left in the third and ended one minute into the fourth, which put the Loboes up by 10 (38-28) with 7 minutes left in the game.
Meiklejohn drilled two of his three 3-pointers on the night during the run. He also went a perfect 8-for-8 at the free-throw line in the fourth to help LaMoure-Litchville-Marion put the game away.
“We just wanted it more in the second half, “Meiklejohn said. “At halftime coach just said, ‘Hey we’ve got the stuff to do it, we’ve just got to go do it and hit our shots,’ and that’s what we did in the second half.”
The Loboes were ranked No. 3 in the state and undefeated at 22-0 last season when the Lions defeated them 65-48 in the semifinals. In 2011, Linton-HMB took down the Loboes 42-32 in the title game.
That turned out to be the Loboes’ second straight loss in the Region 3 championship game, as they fell to Kidder County for all the marbles in 2010.
“We just kind of plugged away. It was just a matter of us hitting shots,” L-L-M coach Darren Thielges said of the Loboes’ second half on Tuesday. “(The Lions) were doing a good job of guarding that dribble handoff that we try to do, and we made a couple little adjustments to it at halftime and I thought we got a little more openings.”
The Loboes also took care of the ball, turning the ball over just six times in the game. Mason Ryckman and Ryan Schneider each scored 11 points to lead the Lions.
The Loboes will be looking for their first trip to state since 2008 at the Civic Center on Thursday.
“We just need to come out and play our style of basketball. That’s all there is to it,” Meiklejohn said. “We just need to come out and play hard, and that’s how we play.”
Region 3 Boys Basketball Tournament
At Jamestown Civic Center
South Border 63, Strasburg/Zeeland 54 (2OT)
South Border 16 22 33 47 52 63
Strasburg/Zeeland 10 20 32 47 52 54
South Border — Michael Jacobson 30, Hunter Pinke 14, Daniel Sayler 9, Matt Kretschmar 7, Adam Jacobson 2, Ross Knoll 2. Totals: 20-69 FG, 21-25 FT, 56 rebounds (Pinke 16, Jacobson 14), 22 fouls, 4 assists (Pinke 2), 11 turnovers, 2 blocks, 5 steals (A. Jacobson 2, Pinke 2). 3-pointers: (2-13) M. Jacobson 1, Kretschmar 1.
Strasburg-Zeeland — Brody Nieuwsma 23, Kyle Nieuwsma 14, Cole Nieuwsma 7, Mason Kramer 7, Scotti Scherr 3. Totals: 18-63 FG, 14-23 FT, 42 rebounds (C. Nieuwsma 10), 19 fouls (M. Kramer), 6 assists (Scherr 2, B. Nieuwsma 2), 13 turnovers, 1 block (K. Nieuwsma), 6 steals (6 with 1). 3-pointers: (4-21) B. Nieuwsma 2, K. Nieuwsma 1, Kramer 1.
Records; South Border 14-10; Strasburg/Zeeland 20-3.
LaMoure-Litchville/Marion 53, Linton/Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock 44
Linton/HMB 7 22 28 44
LaMoure-L/M 7 22 35 53
Linton/HMB — Mason Ryckman 11, Ryan Schnedier 11, Tyler Humann 8, Jonathon Purintun 6, Brooks Flyberg 5, Andrew Small 3. Totals: 16-48 FG, 6-10 FT, 35 rebounds (Schneider 8), 18 fouls (Travis Baumiller 5), 6 assists (Purintun 3), 12 turnovers, 1 steal (Humann). 3-pointers: (6-16) Purintun 2, Humann 2, Small 1, Flyberg 1.
LaMoure-L/M — Jared Meiklejohn 21, Brady Thielges 12, Anthony Olson 10, Kenny Hodem 6, Drew Thielges 4. Totals: 17-48 FG, 15-23 FT, 34 rebounds (Olson 13), 9 fouls, 6 assists (Hodem 2, B. Thielges 2), 6 turnovers, 1 block (Olson), 7 steals (Olson 3). 3-pointers: (4-17) Meiklejohn 3, B. Thielges 1.
Records: LaMoure-L/M 21-2; Linton/HMB 17-6.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com