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Ellendale rallies past Kidder County

Kidder County was better than Ellendale for three quarters of basketball in quarterfinal action of the Region 3 tournament at the Jamestown Civic Center on Monday night.

Ellendale's Luke Wertz reaches for the ball in front of Kamen Schmidt of Kidder County during Monday night's Region 3 tournament game at the Jamestown Civic Center. John M. Steiner / The Sun
Ellendale's Luke Wertz reaches for the ball in front of Kamen Schmidt of Kidder County during Monday night's Region 3 tournament game at the Jamestown Civic Center. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Kidder County was better than Ellendale for three quarters of basketball in quarterfinal action of the Region 3 tournament at the Jamestown Civic Center on Monday night.

But Ellendale's defense flexed its muscle in the fourth quarter, sparking a game-changing 17-0 en route to a 58-50 comeback win.

Ellendale coach Brian Vance said his team struggled in the lead up to Monday's game and it showed.

"We had a terrible week of practice," he said. "We always tell our guys you can't practice soft, and then come out and play hard."

Kidder County jumped out to a 16-9 lead after the first quarter with a solid defensive effort to open the game. The Pirates used their length on defense in a 2-3 zone that gave the Cardinals' offense fits in the first half.

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"We took care of the basketball well, defended well, and rebounded the ball, and those were some of our goals for the game," Kidder County coach Michael Wachter said.

Senior Brighton Fallgatter led the Pirates in the first half, scoring 11 points as they went into the locker room with a two-point lead (28-26).

Wachter knew Fallgatter would be ready for the game against Ellendale.

"He's just a battler, gives you 100 percent all the time," Wachter said. "He crashes the boards on every play. I knew what I was going to get it out of him since he is a senior, and he is just one heckuva player."

Kidder County's strong play continued into the third quarter as they outscored Ellendale 17-8.

Trailing 45-34 going into the fourth quarter, Ellendale decided to go to its trap defense.

A jumper by Luke Wertz put the Cardinals up 46-45. The Cardinals forced a turnover on the ensuing Kidder County possession. Senior Brennen Vance capitalized on the turnover with a three-point play after getting fouled while attempting a layup.

Vance's three-point play put the Cardinals up 49-45 with 2 minutes, 34 seconds left in the game.

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Senior Alec Stroh ended the Cardinal run with a jumper with just under a minute remaining.

Four free throws by Vance put the game on ice for the Cardinals. Vance was the game's leading scorer with 21 points. Wertz and Hunter White were also in double figures for Ellendale with 16 points and 11, respectively.

Fallgatter posted a double-double with 20 points and 11 boards for Kidder County. Stroh scored 16 points to go along with four blocks.

"We weren't as aggressive, and we just flat out let a 1-3-1 half-court trap just smoke us. It was turnover after turnover, and that's a team you can't turn the ball over against, because they score layups off turnovers," Wachter said. "Ellendale is a heck of a defensive team and you just can't turn the ball over against them."

Ellendale plays Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter in the second semifinal game tonight.

Vance said getting stops will be key against the Imperials.

"Our defense sets the tone for our offense," he said. "We just have to come out tomorrow ready to play."

Ellendale 58, Kidder County 50

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KC 16 28 45 50

ELL 9 26 34 58

Kidder County: Alec Stroh 16, Gage Pfaff 5, Kamen Schmidt 2, Austin Schmidt 5, Elijah Fallgatter 2, Brighton Fallgatter 20. Totals: 19-36 FG, 9-13 FT, 3-9 3-pointers (3 with 1), 27 Rebounds (B. Fallgatter 11), 17 Fouls, 5 Assists (2 with 2), 18 Turnovers, Blocks 4 (Stroh 4), 3 Steals (3 with 1).

Ellendale: Lucas Hofer 6, Brennen Vance 21, Luke Wertz 16, Hunter White 11, Austin Molan 4. Totals: 19-55 FG, 14-17 FT, 6-23 3-pointers (White 3, Vance 2), 24 Rebounds (Wertz 8), 13 Fouls, 7 Assists (Hofer 3, Vance 3, Wertz), 6 Turnovers, 1 Block (Vance), 16 Steals (Molan 4, Wertz 4, White 3, Vance 3, Hofer 2).

Records: Kidder County 11-12, Ellendale 17-5.

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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