Walking back into the Jamestown Civic Center for the first time since last March was part of the healing process for Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier senior forward Alex Huber on Thursday.
His last game here? Huber poured in a game-high 25 points and led the Rebels to an eight-point victory over Strasburg/Zeeland in the championship game of the Region 3 tournament.
Shocking at the time, the shuttering of North Dakota high schools and their ensuing activities in response to COVID-19 began to unfold the very next day, robbing the Rebels of their first appearance at the state Class B boys basketball tournament since 1990.
"Came through the doors (and) it was kinda like, "Wow, that was a lot of memories," Huber said. "But it was kinda fun because right away when they put the scoreboard on, it still had Edgeley/Kulm (vs.) Strasburg on there."
Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier, ranked No. 9 in this week's Class B media ranking, improved to 5-0 with a 62-26 victory over South Border (0-5) to open the annual Stutsman County tournament. Huber scored 24 points on 12 of 14 shots from the field, while 6-foot-7 senior center Chayse Entzi turned in a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The Rebels shot 54% and won the rebounding battle 38-17, jumping out to a 21-0 lead after the opening quarter.
Huber was happy to see junior guard Dalton Madcke back on the court Thursday. Madcke played 20 minutes in his first action since breaking an ankle during the high school football season.
"We have our point guard back in Dalton, and we're happy to have him back," Huber said. "This was kinda just, get out on the civic center floor where the postseason play is and get up and down the court."
A pair of 3-pointers and six points from Kaden Bader led the Mustangs. South Border will be looking for its first win Friday facing Medina/Pingree-Buchanan in consolation play at 2 p.m.
Huber didn't play in the third quarter, as EKM coach Kevin Strobel was able to get his bench a few running-clock minutes. The Rebels last played Dec. 22, defeating Strasburg-Zeeland by 12 in Edgeley.
The Rebels -- the defending Stutsman County tourney champions -- will play Griggs-Midkota in Friday's semifinals at 6 p.m.
"We had a two-week break from games; a lot of practice," Huber said. "This was a good game to get out and play, and we just gotta keep playing."
The senior said he wishes the country still wasn't grappling with the coronavirus -- which seems like a lifetime ago last March -- but is glad his unbeaten Rebels are back playing basketball at the Jamestown Civic Center.
"No, I wish we weren't. But we gotta do what we gotta do," Huber said. "I'm glad that we can get out there and play."
(9) Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier 62, South Border 26
SB 0 13 7 6 -- 26
EKM 23 16 16 7 -- 62
SB -- Kaden Bader 6, Trevor Schmidt 4, Kaleb Thiery 4, Jackson Meidinger 4, Luke Scherbenske 2, Conner Kosiak 2, Colton Martz 2, Zach St. Aubin 2. Totals: 10-36 FG, 3-11 3-pointers (Bader 2, Meidinger), 3-9 FT, 17 Rebounds (Schmidt 5), 12 Fouls, 1 Assist (Kosiak), 12 Turnovers, 3 Steals (Nelson Meidinger 2).
EKM -- Alex Huber 24, Chayse Entzi 17, Adam Nitschke 8, Jorgen Paulson 6, Ezekiel Barnick 3, Dalton Madcke 2, Paxton Mathern 2. Totals: 20-56 FG, 1-4 3-pointers (Barnick), 1-7 FT, 38 Rebounds (Entzi 12), 14 Fouls, 16 Assists (Nitschke 4), 5 Turnovers, 2 Blocks (Paulson, Huber), 6 Steals (Mathern 2, Huber 2).
Records: Edgeley/KM 5-0. South Border 0-5.
Class B Boys Basketball
Stutsman County Tournament
Thursday, Jan. 7
G1: Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier 62, South Border 26.
G2: Griggs-Midkota 47, Medina/Pingree-Buchanan 38.
G3:Carrington 63, Kidder County 58 (OT)
G4: Ellendale 60, Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter 36
Friday, Jan. 8
G5: South Border (0-5) vs. Medina/PB (2-1), 2 p.m.
G6: Kidder Co. (2-3) vs. Napoleon/GS (2-6), 4 p.m.
G7: Edgeley/KM (5-0) vs. Giggs-Midkota (2-2), 6 p.m.
G8: Carrington (1-4) vs. Ellendale (3-1), 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 9
Seventh place: Loser G5 vs. Loser G6, 2 p.m.
Fifth place: Winner G5 vs. Winner G6: 4 p.m.
Third place: Loser G7 vs. Loser G8, 6 p.m.
Championship: Winner G7 vs. Winner G8, 8 p.m.