Class B notebook:" Firebirds off to a fast startAt 3 p.m. this afternoon, the boys’ Stutsman County Invitational Tournament will be tipping off at the Jamestown Civic Center. The No. 8-ranked Carrington Cardinals and the Pingree-Buchanan-Kensal Rebels will open the tourney, but a team that many people will be keeping a close eye on is the Central Prairie Firebirds.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
At 3 p.m. this afternoon, the boys’ Stutsman County Invitational Tournament will be tipping off at the Jamestown Civic Center.
The No. 8-ranked Carrington Cardinals and the Pingree-Buchanan-Kensal Rebels will open the tourney, but a team that many people will be keeping a close eye on is the Central Prairie Firebirds.
The Firebirds have gotten off to a hot 5-0 start this season, after returning all of their talent from a year ago, and are looking to be one of the two teams playing in the tournament’s final game on Saturday.
“We certainly feel we are capable of making the championship, which we’d definitely like to see,” said Central Prairie coach Paul Erbele. “We’ve got a long ways to go to get to our potential, but there’s a lot of potential there and we’re happy with where we are right now.”
After going 11-11 last season and losing a region play-in game, the Firebirds are hungry to make a statement in 2009. Central Prairie finished seventh in last year’s Stutsman County tournament and so far has posted wins over South Border, Napoleon, Litchville-Marion-Montpelier, Sheridan County and LaMoure.
The Firebirds are led on the court this season by senior Chris Fayville and all-district juniors Brock Knodel and Nic Moser. All three athletes are capable of producing over 15 points per night, while the 6-3 Knodel is averaging around 10 rebounds per game.
Another athlete being mixed into the fold by Erbele, besides his four seniors and solid core of junior athletes, is 6-4 sophomore Aaron Moser. Off the bench, Aaron Moser gives the Firebirds another solid threat in the paint.
The Firebirds have only played one game since their win over South Border on Dec. 22, and with all of the recent cancellations, postponements and missed practices, Erbele said his team is looking forward to the court time this week.
“We are looking forward to the tournament to get a few games under our belt and find a rhythm,” Erbele said. “We are also looking forward to playing some teams that are proven. We might see Kidder County, which we’re hoping for.
“If we meet up with them, it’s going to be a battle.”
Central Prairie, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, will start the tournament tonight facing No. 6-seeded LaMoure (1-5) at 7:30 p.m. The No. 2-seeded Kidder County Pirates (6-2) will play No. 7-seeded Midkota at 6 p.m.
Following No. 1-seeded Carrington’s matchup with P-B-K, Ellendale (5-2) will play Edgeley-Kulm (2-3) at 4:30 p.m.
Erbele said the Firebirds will have a shot at finishing at the top of the District 5 standings this season, and he said success in this week’s tournament would go a long ways in accomplishing that.
“This is a good opportunity for us to gain some confidence and get some tournament experience,” Erbele said. “We certainly have the capability of finishing at the top of our district if we play to our potential.”
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com