The development of team chemistry took a leap forward Thursday for first-year co-op Griggs-Midkota boys basketball.
A strong fourth quarter and a pair of clutch 3-pointers by guard Hunter Gronneberg lifted the Titans over Medina/Pingree-Buchanan 47-38 in the opening round of the Stutsman County tournament at the Jamestown Civic Center.
Gronneberg finished with a game-high 14 points and four assists. The Titans will play ninth-ranked Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier in Friday's semifinals at 6 p.m.
"It feels pretty good," said Gronneberg, a senior at Griggs County Central High School in Cooperstown. "We're still getting to know each other, but we'll figure it out sooner or later."
The Titans (2-3) snapped a three-game skid after opening the season on Dec. 15 with a 22-point victory over Dakota Prairie, flustering the Thunder with full-court pressure in the final frame and eventually outrebounding MPB by six (32-26).
The Titans led 28-26 entering the fourth quarter after seeing four lead changes in the third. Two quick MPB turnovers -- one being a 10-second violation forced by the Titans -- led to buckets by Trae Kaelberer and Jaxon Gronneberg, Hunter's junior brother.
Hunter Gronneberg's first fourth-period trey splashed through with 4:40 remaining to push the Titans' advantage to eight at 37-29. MPB fought back to within two at 40-38 with two minutes to play when Gronneberg struck from long range again, kicking off seven straight points by the Titans to finish the game.
"We're left really disappointed because we thought we shoulda took that game," said MPB coach Bob Young, whose 2-1 Thunder lost their first game of the season. "We've gotta learn from this because we made mistakes tonight that showed our youth. We haven't done that so far this season."
Josh Moser and Sawyer Wanzek, both sophomores, led the Thunder offensively scoring 10 points each. The Thunder never led in the first half but only trailed by as many as six. Moser nailed a 3-pointer in the final 10 seconds of the second to cut the Titans' advantage to 18-16 going into quarter No. 3.
Gronneberg buried 54 3-pointers and averaged more than 15 points per game last season for the eight-win Griggs County Central Cougars. The senior converted 3 of 5 from distance against the Thunder
"When I get open, then I'm gonna let 'er fly," Gronneberg said. "We wanted to get running on them and get the game moving a little bit. They slowed us down in the first three quarters and in the fourth quarter we finally sped them up."
The Titans will look to do more of the same against the rolling Rebels, who cruised to 5-0 with a 62-26 win over South Border to open the tournament.
"I know they gotta tall guy, that's about it," said Gronneberg, who's still getting acquainted with Region 3 teams and players in the early going. "Just play our game and I think we'll be fine."
Griggs-Midkota 47, Medina/Pingree-Buchanan 38
GM 12 6 10 19 -- 47
MPB 8 8 10 12 -- 38
GM -- Hunter Gronneberg 14, Jaxon Gronneberg 9, Tanner Haguen 8, Tavon Stadler 6, Jayden Sherrard 5, Ashton Smith 3, Trae Kaelberer 2. Totals: 18-42 FG, 5-13 3-pointers (H. Gronneberg 3, Sherrard, J. Gronneberg), 6-12 FT, 32 Rebounds (Haugen 8), 12 Fouls (Stadler), 7 Assists (H. Gronneberg 4), 9 Turnovers, 1 Steals (H. Gronneberg).
MPG -- Sawyer Wanzek 10, Josh Moser 10, Josh Thomas 7, Gage Magstadt 5, Alec Horn 4, Rylen Wick 2. Totals: 16-45 FG, 3-17 3-pointers (Wanzek 2, Moser), 3-9 FT, 26 Rebounds (Moser 6), 14 Fouls, 4 Assists (Moser 3), 6 Turnovers, 1 Block (Magstadt), 4 Steals (Wick 2).
Records: Griggs-Midkota 2-3. Medina/PB 2-1.
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.