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Lions power past Cardinals into championship

Ellendale’s Adam White (23) defends against Linton-HMB’s Ryan Schneider during the second semifinal game of the Region 3 tournament on Tuesday night at the Civic Center. (John M. Steiner The Sun)

The players wore the same numbers and haircuts, but the team Linton-HMB put on the floor on Tuesday just wasn’t the same as the one that showed up on Monday.

The District 6 champions dominated the Ellendale Cardinals in the semifinals of the Region 3 tournament, cruising 77-52 at the Jamestown Civic Center to earn a date with Strasburg-Zeeland in Thursday’s title tilt.

“That’s the kind of intensity you like to see when you come to a tournament, unlike what we had (Monday),” Linton-HMB coach Dan Carr said. “It makes a lot of difference in the game. You see the basket better and you react quicker.

“You’ve just got to bring that intensity and it all seems to work.”

The Lions hung on to beat Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier 53-45 in the quarterfinals. That game was tied 37-37 at the end of three periods, and the Lions struggled to find a rhythm all night.

That was not the case against Ellendale, a team that beat the Lions 74-72 earlier in the season.

Linton-HMB hit the ground running with an aggressive full-court press and forced Ellendale into seven first-period turnovers. The Lions were also successful shooting over Ellendale’s season-long trademark 1-3-1 zone, burying 7-of-11 shots from downtown in the first half.

The Lions led 19-10 after one and 41-22 at the half.

“They were hot and didn’t miss a whole lot of shots,” Ellendale coach Brian Vance said. “Hand it to them, they outworked us in every aspect of the game.”

Linton-HMB opened the second half with six straight points, punting its lead to 25 points at 47-22 with six minutes left in the third, and they cruised from there. The Lions led by as many as 33 points in the second half.

The Lions finished shooting 50 percent, including 9-of-15 from downtown to outscore the Cardinals 27-3 off 3-pointers. Linton-HMB also scored 24 points off of 18 Ellendale turnovers.

Andrew Small led four Lions in double-digit scoring with 17 points. Both he and Brooks Flyberg drained three treys in the game.

“We do have some excellent 3-point shooters, and we give them the green light as long as they’re open,” Carr said. “I thought we had real good looks.”

Ellendale’s Adam White finished with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Cardinals will face South Border on Thursday at 6 p.m. for third place.

“We’ve got five seniors on our team, and not too many teams can say they won their last game,” Vance said. “It should be a fun one, with not a lot of pressure on either team, so we’re going to go out there and have some fun.”

The Lions split a pair of games with Strasburg-Zeeland in the regular season, but just defeated them 64-51 in the District 6 title game last week. Linton-HMB last went to the state Class B tourney in 2012, finishing seventh.

“They’re a very good team and they come to play,” Carr said of the Clippers. “It should be a great game.”

Region 3 Boys Basketball Tournament

At Jamestown Civic Center

Tuesday’s semifinals

Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock 77,                        Ellendale 52

Linton-HMB  19 41 60 77

Ellendale  10 22 34 52

Linton-HMB — Andrew Small 17, Jonathon Purintun 16, Brooks Flyberg 13, Ryan Schneider 11, Erik Holzer 6, Jordan Hulm 6, Tanner Sehn 3, Cole Vanderlaan 3, Jayden Benz 2. Totals: 32-64 FG, 4-10 FT, 27 Rebounds (Schneider 7), 15 Fouls, 6 Assists (Small 3, Purintun 3), 6 Turnovers, 9 Steals (Flyberg 3). 3-pointers: 9-15 (Small 3, Flyberg 3, Purintun 1, Hulm 1, Sehn 1).

Ellendale — Adam White 20, Brennen Vance 9, Remington Thurber 4, Timothy Belmore 4, Chase Durheim 3, Alex Dathe 2, Zach Dathe 2, Luke Wertz 2, Logan Schumacher 2, Logan Wang 2, Dahltin Pahl 1, Kellemon Hinton 1. Totals: 22-50 FG, 7-13 FT, 36 Rebounds (White 10), 13 Fouls, 2 Assists (2 with 1), 18 Turnovers, 5 Blocks (White 4), 3 Steals (3 with 1). 3-pointers: 1-6 (Vance 1.

Records: Linton-HMB 19-4; Ellendale 14-9.

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