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Loboes top Eagles in BCT championship game

L-L-M's Alex Klever (2) looks to make a play against Enderlin's Chance Bye during the championship game of the Barnes County Tournament on Saturday in Valley City. Michael Savaloja / The Sun1 / 2
L-L-M's Jamison Kramer (right) looks to the basket while being defended by Enderlin's Gus Hurlburt (10) during the championship game of the Barnes County Tournament on Saturday in Valley City. Michael Savaloja / The Sun2 / 2

VALLEY CITY—LaMoure-Litchville-Marion's Rory Gentzkow was 1 of 9 from 3-point range through the first two rounds of the annual Barnes County boys basketball tournament.

But make no mistake, the kid can shoot.

Gentzkow unleashed a first-half barrage from long range in his first career varsity start for L-L-M head coach Darren Thielges and the Loboes on Saturday, Jan. 12. The junior guard sent four of his five 3-pointers through the hoop in the first two quarters, and L-L-M wound up sailing past Enderlin 66-42 in the tournament championship held at Valley City State University's W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse.

L-L-M won the Barnes County tournament for a second time, first taking home the hardware in 2015.

"First two games were a struggle," said Gentzkow, as L-L-M picked up victories over Sargent Central and Milnor-North Sargent. "But tonight I had to kick it in gear to give ourselves a chance, and I'm just glad I came alive tonight."

Gentzkow was elevated into the starting lineup against the Eagles as a result of L-L-M senior forward Jacob Ulmer breaking his nose during Thursday's 68-49 semifinal victory against Milnor-North Sargent. Gentzkow promptly scored 14 of the Loboes' 24 first-half points on seven total shots, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.

Two of Gentzkow's 3s were daggers in the closing stages of the second quarter, handing L-L-M a 24-21 lead at the half. Gentzkow finished the game scoring 17.

"After he hit that first one, which was a big one (in the first quarter), we drew a couple up for him out of the out-of-bounds plays and they ended the quarter," said coach Thielges. "He stepped it up and it was an all-around team effort. Our guys set the right screens, they hit the right guys and they got (Gentzkow) open.

"And, they're OK with Rory making shots."

L-L-M went to its bread and butter in the second half. Seniors Jamison Kramer and Shay Ness were able to penetrate and find shots in the half-court against Enderlin's long and lanky frontcourt of twin brothers Joe Hulburt (6-foot-9) and Gus Hurlburt (6-7). Kramer scored 17 of his team-high 19 points in the second half, while Ness tallied 10 of his 14, and senior Alex Klever also got into the mix scoring 8 of his 10.

The Loboes extended the lead to 40-35 after three quarters. Gus Hurlburt kept the Eagles alive converting 8 of 9 at the foul line in the frame. He led the Eagles with 20 points, which included a 14-for-20 effort at the free-throw line.

"I thought we missed a bunch of layups, nice easy bunnies in the first half," Thielges said. "But that's because we're thinking of those longs arms coming over the top. Once we told the guys, you know, give them a couple head fakes, we had the ability to finish shots when we got to the lane."

Enderlin converted just four field goals in the second half, but things really went downhill in the fourth. The Eagles were outpaced 26-7 on the scoreboard over the final 8 minutes.

"It really came down to the fourth quarter," said Enderlin coach Calvin Kraft. "We did the right things for about 24 minutes or so, and then it was the snowball effect. If we're playing well, we're really good. If we're playing bad, we really bad."

The Loboes won the rebounding battle 37-30 and limited the Eagles to 11 of 45 from the field.

"There's no inbetween with us sometimes, so obviously we have to fix that," Kraft added. "But credit to (L-L-M), they outplayed us in that fourth quarter."

Enderlin senior guard Chance Bye, hampered during the tournament with a left foot contusion, finished with 10 points. Joe Hurlburt was held to just 5 points after averaging 18.5 in tournament wins over Griggs County Central and Finley-Sharon-Hope-Page.

Enderlin dropped to 7-3 after starting the season 5-0, but is 3-0 in Region 1 play. The Eagles continue region play next week with games against Northern Cass and Maple Valley.

"All of them now become big games," Kraft said. "We gotta get back to being ourselves a little bit."

L-L-M (6-3) should be in the thick of a wide-open battle for Region 3 supremacy this winter. The Loboes begin District 5 play on Tuesday in Kensal facing Midkota.

The Loboes and the Eagles will meet again on Jan. 26 in Enderlin.

"It's kinda like a pretest for districts," Thielges said. "I'm sure both teams' legs were a little bit weary playing three games in five days, so it's just a matter of resilience and that's what I like is our competitive attitude."

Championship

LaMoure-Litchville-Marion 66, Enderlin 42

LLM 10 15 16 26 -- 66

END 9 11 14 7 -- 42

LLM—Jamison Kramer 19, Rory Gentzkow 17, Shay Ness 14, Alex Klever 10, Caleb Hirschkorn 6. Totals: 24-56 FG, 6-10 3-pointers (Gentzkow 5, Kramer), 12-19 FT, 37 Rebounds (Ness 9), 18 Fouls, 6 Assists (Klever 4), 13 Turnovers, 2 Blocks, 12 Steals (Klever 3, Ness 3).

END—Gus Hurlburt 20, Chance Bye 10, Joe Hurlburt 5, Austin Glarum 5, Dawson Lemna 2. Totals: 11-45 FG, 3-15 3-pointers (Bye 2, Glarum), 17-24 FT, 30 Rebounds (J. Hurlburt 12), 16 Fouls, 3 Assists, 17 Turnovers, 3 Blocks, 1 Steal.

Records: LLM 6-3. END 7-3.

Third place

Griggs County Central 61, Milnor-North Sargent 58

MNS 16 12 13 17 -- 58

GCC 16 16 19 10 -- 61

MNS—Matt Asche 15, Ben Waswick 12, Reed Nelson 11, Josh Martinson 7, TJ Johnson 6, Mason Bogart 5, Dawson McKeever 2. Totals: 24 FG, 3-5 FT, 14 fouls (Waswick). 3-pointers: Waswick 2, Johnson 2, Bogart, Nelson, Asche.

GCC—Hunter Gronneberg 21, Tanner Haugen 17, Isaac Smith 11, Jonah Ringstad 9, Trevor Gravseth 2, Tavon Stadler 1. Totals: 24 FG, 8-11 FT, 11 fouls. 3-pointers: Gronneberg 3, Ringstad, Smith.

Records: GCC 61, MNS 5-4..

Fifth place

Barnes County North 47, Maple Valley 43

BCN 11 8 15 13 -- 47

MV 12 9 15 7 -- 43

BCN—Tristin Roaldson 15, Tanner Soupir 10, Mason Haugen 7, Colby Bruner 6, Max Fehr 6, Tucker Brown 3. Totals: 20 FG, 6-9 FT, 10 fouls. 3-pointers: Roaldson.

MV—Jacob Johnson 19, Grady Karges 9, Carson Hovelson 6, Cody Gille 4, Connor Drogen 3, Adam Punton 2. Totals: 18 FG, 5-8 FT, 12 fouls. 3-pointers: Johnson2.

Records: BCN 6-2. MV 4-4.

Seventh place

Sargent Central 44, Finley-Sharon-Hope-Page 42

SC 19 10 4 11 -- 44

FSHP 12 15 7 8 -- 42

SC—Dillon Schreiner 10, Logan Wyum 9, Austin Willprecht 8, Jayden Hajek 8, Tyler Wittich 4, Fletcher Willprecht 4, Tanner Peterson 1. Totals: 16 FG, 6-14 FT, 16 fouls (Wittich). 3-pointers: Wyum 3, Schreiner 2, A. Willprecht.

FSHP—Tate Zerface 18, Owen Zerface 9, Colby Dows 8, Xavier Jacobson 3, Logan Rayner 3, Blake Jacobsen 1. Totals: 14 FG, 9-14 FT, 19 fouls (Rayner). 3-pointers: T. Zerface 2, O. Zerface, Jacobson, Dows.

Records: SC 1-9. FSHP 0-10.

Tournament Awards

Free Throw Champion: Carson Hovelson, Maple Valley (22-25, 8-10 in tie-breaker).

Sportsmanship Award: Griggs County Central.

All-Tournament Team: Jacob Johnson, Maple Valley; Isaac Smith, Griggs County Central; Ben Waswick, Milnor/North Sargent; Tristin Roaldson, Barnes County North; Gus Hurlburt, Enderlin; Shay Ness, LaMoure/Litchville-Marion; Chance Bye, Enderlin; *Tanner Haugen, Griggs County Central; *Joe Hurlburt, Enderlin; *Jamison Kramer, LaMoure/Litchville-Marion.

*denotes a unanimous selection

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

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