Underdog no more in Region 4: FW-M makes statement with region titleFour Winds-Minnewaukan coach Rick Smith was proud of his team when it only lost by one point to heavily favored North Star in the championship game of the Ramsey County Tournament last December in Devils Lake.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Four Winds-Minnewaukan coach Rick Smith was proud of his team when it only lost by one point to heavily favored North Star in the championship game of the Ramsey County Tournament last December in Devils Lake.
“I thought it was a boost for us,” said FW-M coach Rick Smith, who led Four Winds teams to state in 2006-08. “Even though it was a loss, we didn’t lose by 15 or 20. That gave us a little confidence. For five years, it’s been nothing but North Star. They’ve been a machine.”
Granted, North Star didn’t go to state five years in a row, but its dominance is well-documented, losing four games in four years.
“The things they’ve done, you’re probably not gonna see it for a while,” Smith said.
North Star won’t be seen at state, either.
FW-M punched its ticket to the Class B state tournament Thursday at the Minot State University Dome with a 66-56 win over the No. 2-ranked Bearcats in the Region 4 final. The Indians (22-2) meet Region 6 champion Rugby (24-1) at 8:15 p.m.
“We knew the road had to go through (North Star),” Smith said. “We knew if we kept improving and if we could keep it close, we’d have a shot at them.”
The Indians’ offense has been dynamic, scoring 77.4 points per game. FW-M does so playing four off the bench on a regular basis. Going nine deep has helped FW-M avoid foul trouble, Smith said.
“You can almost guarantee you’ll see eight guys play for us and more than likely, you’ll see the ninth guy,” Smith said. “That’s just the way we are; that’s just the way we like to play.”
Austin Longie, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, leads the team with 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Senior center Collin DeLorme is averaging 14.6 points and sophomore guard Trayvon McKay scores 14.3 points per game. Senior point guard Hadley Smith is averaging 8.6 points per game. DeLorme is a transfer from Warwick, while Smith transferred from Devils Like, where he logged playing time on varsity as a freshman.
If the Indians hope to advance, they’ll likely look to their defense to lead them. They may be a fast-paced team offensively, but the most points they gave up in the district and regional tournament was the 56 to North Star.
“We know that you’re just not going to put up 75- or 80-point games come tournament time,” Smith said. “(Rugby’s) not gonna let you score 75 or 80 points. I just don’t see it happening.
“We were very proud of our defensive effort. Our defense has been outstanding.”
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus
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