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Rebels top Bison in opener

Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier’s Noah Greer (30) is defended by Barnes County North’s Tanner Steckler (22) and David Undem during Friday night’s District 5 game. (John M. Steiner / The Sun)

LEAL, N.D. — One team came out ready to do some damage, while the other was immediately forced back on to its heels.

The Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier Rebels kicked off the District 5 boys basketball tournament on Friday with an 11-0 run against host Barnes County North. The Bison were unable to recover, and the Rebels punched their ticket to a semifinal matchup tonight with a 53-34 victory over BCN.

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No. 1-seeded Ellendale (12-7) awaits the Rebels at 7:30 p.m., with a date to Monday’s championship game at stake.

“That was huge. We had been struggling scoring the basketball,” E-K-M coach Kevin Strobel said of his team’s 11-0 run to start the game. “To get out to a good start like that, the kids really got a lot of confidence.

“We finally got off to a good start for once.”

E-K-M junior Trystan Harr opened the game with six straight points, while 6-foot-3 sophomore Connor Entzi drained a trey and converted a 3-point play in the frame to help the Rebels to a 16-6 lead to start the second. Entzi finished the night with a game-high 16 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks.

The Rebels made their first five shots from the floor, while the Bison missed their first five.

“It doesn’t help when we’re played catch-up the whole game,” BCN coach Stacy Schaffer said. “We’re not a team that can play catch-up, because we have a tough time scoring the way it is.”

“But give credit to (the Rebels). They played smart defense and took away a lot of our looks.”

Tanner Steckler led the Bison with 14 points, while Wyatt Steckler chipped in with 11.

It was a much closer affair the last time these teams met up. E-K-M won that one 43-41 in Edgeley on Jan. 21.

“I thought we defended really well,” Strobel said. “The shots they did make I thought were contested, and I think that’s where we mostly set the tone was defensively.”

The Bison face Medina-Pingree-Buchanan tonight at 6 p.m. in a loser-out contest.

“We’ve got to put the effort in, and we’ve got to put the smarts in for tomorrow,” Schaffer said. “We didn’t play the smartest of basketball, but the effort was definitely there, so we’ve just got to bring both those things (today) and just play a little bit better basketball.”

Ellendale defeated E-K-M 63-30 in Kulm on Feb. 4, so Strobel and the Rebels know they’ll have their hands full tonight.

“Ellendale handled us a couple of weeks ago. There’s no doubt you’ve got Adam White to contend with,” Strobel said. “They’re a good team, we’ve got to show up to play hard.”

District 5 Boys Basketball Tournament

At Barnes County North

No. 4 Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier 53, No. 5 Barnes County North 34

Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier 16 31 38 53

Barnes County North 6 14 19 34

Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier — Connor Entzi 16, Christian Miller 9, Noah Greer 9, Trystan Harr 8, Tucker Knudson 4, Morgan Harr 3, Josh Foley 2, Blake Naze 2. Totals: 19-48 FG, 11-15 FT, 34 Rebounds, 14 Fouls, 7 Assists, 17 Turnovers, 3 Blocks, 12 Steals. 3-pointers: 4-14 (Entzi 2, Greer 1, M. Harr 1.

Barnes County North — Tanner Steckler 14, Wyatt Steckler 11, Mat Rose 3, Justin Manson 2, William Gerntholz 2, Troy Rudolph 2. Totals: 13-39 FG, 6-7 FT, 20 Rebounds, 15 Fouls (Gerntholz), 20 Turnovers, 1 Block, 8 Steals.

Records: Edgeley-K-M 8-12; Barnes Co. North 1-19.

Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at