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Defense carries Cards to semis

Ellendale didn’t try to get fancy on Monday night.

At this point, it’s just about advancing.

The Cardinals used steady defense and their power inside game to down Kidder County 60-46 in the opening round of the Region 3 tournament at the Civic Center. They meet Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock in tonight’s 7:30 semifinal.

Ellendale’s stifling defense allowed just 11 first-half points, using a zone to make Kidder County settle for 3-pointers. The Pirates missed on all 10 3-point tries in the first half and finished 4-of-23 (17 percent).

“We’ve been playing that 1-3-1 (zone) most of the year,” Ellendale coach Brian Vance said. “Our length bothers shooters. That’s what we’ve got to continue to do.”

Kidder County made just one field goal over an 8-minute span in the second half, struggling while Ellendale bumped its lead up to 18 points at 42-24.

“Their big guys take away the middle,” Kidder County coach Paul Olson said. “We’ve been shooting the ball well lately. Tonight, the shots just didn’t go down. ... I thought we had figured out a way to defeat them, but it didn’t work.”

Adam White led the Cardinals with 29 points and 11 rebounds, leading an offensive attack that did nearly all of its damage in the paint. The only field goals that came outside the paint for the Cardinals were first-half 3-pointers from Chase Durheim and Zach Dathe, who tallied 14 points and 15 rebounds.

“We’re definitely an inside team,” Vance said. “The 3-pointers we did take didn’t look good. Our advantage was inside.”

Free throws also played a big part. White was 17-of-22 from the foul line, helping the team shoot 74 percent (26-of-35).

“A lot of teams have been playing hack-a-Shaq with him,” Vance said. “Adam’s starting to come around (from the free-throw line). These last six games have been pretty good.”

Kidder County’s Ryan Sand had a team-high nine points. The Pirates shot a dismal 17 percent (5-of-28) in the first half and 25 percent (16-of-63) for the game.

“They really imposed their will and we couldn’t stop it,” Olson said.

Ellendale 60, Kidder County 46

Kidder County 7 11 22 46

Ellendale 12 20 36 60

KC: Cole Scherbenske 9, Ryan Sand 9, Nathan Symens 8, Ben Steinolfson 8, Chase Wahl 5, Jayden Miller 3, Caleb Fallgatter 4. Totals 16-63 10-19 46.

Ellendale: Adam White 29, Zach Dathe 14, Chase Durheim 9, Kellemon Hinton 3, Tim Belmore 2, Brennen Vance 2, Hunter White 1. Totals 16-41 26-35 60.

3-pointers: KC 4-23 (Miller, Wahl, Steinolfson, Scherbenske), Ellendale 2-7 (Dathe, Durheim). Rebounds: KC 33 (3 with 5), Ellendale 40 (Dathe 15, White 11). Assists: KC 5 (Sand 3), Ellendale 3 (White 2). Total fouls: KC 30, Ellendale 16. Fouled out: KC 2 (Steinolfson, Symens), Ellendale 1 (Vance). Turnovers: KC 12, Ellendale 19.

Records: KC 14-9, Ellendale 14-8.

Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can                 be reached at (701) 952-8462 or