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Region 3 thriller: Linton-HMB rallies late to beat Clippers in OT for trip to state

Linton-HMB’s Andrew Small (1) celebrates with teammate Jonathan Purintun after Small hit the game-winner in overtime to capture the Region 3 championship on Thursday at the Civic Center. (Chris Aarhus / The Sun)

They haven’t worn it in two years, but the Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock Lions found out on Thursday that the Region 3 boys basketball crown still fits.

Lions senior guard Andrew Small buried a running, fade-away jump shot from the left elbow with less than two seconds left on the clock, as Linton-HMB punched its ticket to state by defeating Strasburg-Zeeland 66-64 in overtime at the Jamestown Civic Center on Thursday night.

The state Class B boys basketball tournament starts next Thursday at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

“We wanted to get the last shot,” Small said. “I drove, saw there was an opening and took it.”

The play worked to perfection, according to veteran Linton-HMB coach Dan Carr. The Lions set it all up during a timeout with 14.9 seconds left in the overtime and the game tied at 64.

The win was career victory No. 663 for Carr.

“It was exactly how we drew it up. We wanted to give Andrew an opportunity to come off a jump shot,” Carr said. “It was a chip-shot for him, a 15-footer.

“There wasn’t any question that I didn’t think it was going to go in.”

Strasburg-Zeeland did have an opportunity to counter following Small’s dagger. The Clippers called a timeout with 1.5 seconds left on the clock, and the Linton-HMB crowd was given a delay-of-game technical foul for charging the court too early to celebrate.

Strasburg-Zeeland sophomore Brody Nieuwsma went to the line to shoot the pair of freebies, but he missed them both. Linton-HMB never led the entire game until 11 seconds into the 4-minute overtime.

“It feels awesome,” Small said. “It’s what we’ve worked for all year.”

The Clippers were playing inspired basketball after losing senior guard Scotti Scherr with 5 minutes, 8 second left to play in the first half.

Scherr suffered a severe blow to the head while taking a charge against Small under Linton-HMB’s basket with the Clippers leading 23-17. Small’s knee appeared to make contact with Scherr’s head as he jumped toward the hoop. Scherr then fell hard to the court and appeared to have been knocked unconscious.

Scherr was down for several minutes before paramedics arrived. He was placed on a backboard and transported to Jamestown Regional Medical Center, but Scherr was back at the Jamestown Civic Center following the game.

“Scotti’s a great defender in the fourth quarter. People don’t realize that, and we missed that,” Strasburg-Zeeland coach Brent Kleinsasser said. “He would have guarded Small. I don’t know if he would have stopped him, but he’d have guarded him.”

Scherr had a hot hand once again, draining a pair of 3-pointers in the first period. Scherr went 5-of-8 from 3-point range during the Clippers’ 59-54 victory over South Border in the semifinals.

Scherr’s six points led Strasburg-Zeeland at the half, as they led Linton-HMB 28-22.

“It was big,” Kleinsasser said. “He was one of our team leaders, but hey the rest of them really stepped up. That’s the way it is.”

Small posted all 19 of his points in the second half. The Lions were led by Jonathon Purintun with 20 points.

Purintun buried a trey to tie the score at 56-all with 17 seconds left in regulation. Small hit three treys in the second half, Purintun sank two and Ryan Schneider connected twice from long range.

Schneider finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, as Purintun fouled out of the game shortly after his game-changing trey.

“I didn’t think we handled the first half very well at all,” Carr said. “We were probably trying and pressing a little too hard. We preached to them to come out with some intensity, and maybe we overdid it a little bit in that first half.”

“They were all over us,” Small added. “They were more intense, and we just came out and had to play in the second half.”

Nieuwsma and Jacob Eberle each scored 13 points to lead the Clippers.

Thursday’s meeting was the fourth time this season the Lions and the Clippers have faced each other this season. The Region 3 title game was a rematch of the District 6 title game, which Linton-HMB won 64-51 on their home court.

“I was really surprised we answered when we did to keep it that close in overtime,” Kliensasser said. “I thought they did really well.”

The Lions return to state after winning back-to-back region titles in 2011 and 2012. They finished the state tournament seventh both those years.

The Lions won a state championship in 2009.

Ellendale 54, South Border 44

The Ellendale Cardinals capped their season with a 54-44 victory over South Border in the third-place game.

The Cardinals’ Adam White posted 17 points and nine rebounds, while Chase Durheim added 10 points. South Border’s Matt Kretschmar started the Mustangs’ scoring with three straight 3-pointers, and he finished with four treys and 16 points.

Hunter Pinke ended with 10 rebounds for the Mustangs, and Adam Jacobson recorded seven blocks and four steals.

South Border led 16-15 after the first period but was held to just two points in the second, as Ellendale took a 30-18 lead into the break. Ellendale scored 23 points off 14 South Border turnovers and went 9-of-10 from the foul line as a team.

Region 3 Boys Basketball Tournament

At Jamestown Civic Center


Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock 66,

Strasburg-Zeeland 64, OT

Strasburg-Zeeland  14 28 42 56 64

Linton-HMB            10 22 35 56 66

Strasburg-Zeeland — Brody Nieuwsma 13, Jacob Eberle 13, Darek Kramer 10, Nick Kramer 10, Jordan Nieuwsma 9, Scotti Scherr 6, Seth Aberle 3. Totals: 27-55 FG, 6-16 FT, 35 Rebounds (B. Nieuwsma 9), 22 Fouls (Eberle), 3 Assists (3 with 1), 22 Turnovers, 4 Blocks (B. Nieuwsma 4), 5 Steals (Kramer 2). 3-pointers: 4-14 (Scherr 2, Kramer 2).

Linton-HMB — Jonathon Purintun 20, Andrew Small 19, Ryan Schneider 14, Erik Holzer 7, Jordan Hulm 2, James Schmaltz 2, Austin Bernhardt 2. Totals: 24-53 FG, 11-19 FT, 24 Rebounds (Schneider 9), 22 Fouls (Purintun), 4 Assists (Flyberg 2), 13 Turnovers, 2 Blocks (2 with 1), 6 Steals (Brooks Flyberg 3). 3-pointers: 7-13 (Small 3, Purintun 2, Schneider 2).

Records: Linton-HMB 20-4; Strasburg-Zeeland 15-9.

Third place

Ellendale 54, South Border 44

South Border 16 18 30 44

Ellendale 15 30 43 54

South Border — Matt Kretschmar 16, Ross Knoll 10, Hunter Pinke 8, Adam Jacobson 4, Reed Eszlinger 4, Tristan Lippert 2. Totals: 15-46 FG, 9-12 FT, 33 Rebounds (Pinke 10), 10 Fouls, 4 Assists (Jacobson 2), 14 Turnovers, 7 Blocks (Jacobson 7), 8 Steals (Jacobson 4). 3-pointers: 5-13 (Kretschmar 4, Pinke 1.

Ellendale — Adam White 17, Chase Durheim 10, Hunter White 6, Zach Dathe 6, Kellemon Hinton 4, Brennen Vance 4, Tim Belmore 3, Logan Schumacher 2, Dahitin Pahl 2. Totals: 20-56 FG, 9-10 FT, 32 Rebounds (A. White 9), 11 Fouls, 3 Assists (3 with 1), 10 Turnovers, 2 Blocks (A. White 2), 6 Steals (Vance 2). 3-pointers: 5-18 (Dathe 2, Durheim 2, H. White 1).

Records: Ellendale 15-9; South Border 14-11.

Tournament Awards

Region 3 Athletic Director of the Year: Matt Herman, Ellendale.

Region 3 Coach of the Year: Darren Thielges, LaMoure-Litchville-Marion.

Region 3 Senior Athlete of the Year: Brady Thielges, LaMoure-Litchville-Marion.

Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached

at (701) 952-8461 or at