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Hofer, Ellendale earn title shot

He isn't a guy who normally dazzles offensively, but Ellendale's Lucas Hofer can score the rock when needed. The junior guard capped seven straight points with a circus shot in transition at the Jamestown Civic Center on Tuesday night. The close-...

Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter's Jamison Fettig (right) tries to score against Luke Wertz of Ellendale during Tuesday night's Region 3 semifinal game at the Jamestown Civic Center. John M. Steiner / The Sun
Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter's Jamison Fettig (right) tries to score against Luke Wertz of Ellendale during Tuesday night's Region 3 semifinal game at the Jamestown Civic Center. John M. Steiner / The Sun

He isn't a guy who normally dazzles offensively, but Ellendale's Lucas Hofer can score the rock when needed.

The junior guard capped seven straight points with a circus shot in transition at the Jamestown Civic Center on Tuesday night. The close-range bucket at the buzzer put the Cardinals up 12 after three quarters against Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter in the semifinals of the Region 3 tournament.

Ellendale defeated the Imperials 61-49 and will look to end a 32-year state 'B' tournament drought in boys basketball on Thursday. The Cardinals will take on Carrington at 7:30 p.m. in the championship game.

"The quarter was winding down. I had to throw it up and I guess it went in," said Hofer, who finished with 14 points and four steals. "I'm more of a pass, get someone open kind of guy.

"But when I get my shot, I gotta take it."

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Ellendale missed just 13 shots from the field in the game, on its way to shooting nearly 62 percent. But turnovers-21 of them-were a problem for head coach Brian Vance.

"We haven't played smart basketball this tournament, and we gotta play smarter," Vance said. "But it's just survive and move on, survive and move on at this point.

"Hofer, he's been looking for that all year," Vance added. "He's had a great tournament and hopefully it continues on Thursday."

Ellendale clung to a 26-22 lead at the half, before Hofer's seven points opened up the game. Ellendale eventually led by as many as 22 in the final period, receiving a game-high 19 points from senior Luke Wertz.

N-G-S (11-11) struggled to knock down the 3-ball against the Cards, converting just 6-of-19. The Imperials drained 12 of them en route to getting past Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier in Monday's opening round.

Jamison Fettig and Bryce Fettig led the way for the Imperials with 15 and 14 points, respectively. N-G-S will face Linton-HMB for third place at 6 on Thursday.

"That's kinda been a storyline for us this year," N-G-S coach Brett Gross said. "When them shots fall it's a lot of fun, and last night that's the way it was.

"Tonight we never got those opportunities. Ellendale did a great job in that 1-3-1, and even in that 2-3 they took that outside game away from us and they were the better team tonight."

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Thursday's title game is a rematch of the District 5 championship game, which Ellendale won 56-53.

Ellendale's' last appearance at state ended with a consolation championship trophy in 1985. The team has qualified for the state tournament seven times, winning state championships in 1945 and 1967.

"We've got to take care of the ball better. We can't get riled up with pressure," Vance said. "Napoleon put some pressure on us and we panicked a little."

Region 3 Boys Basketball Tournament

At Jamestown Civic Center

Tuesday's semifinals

Ellendale 61, Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter 49

Napoleon-G-S 12 22 27 49

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Ellendale 14 26 39 61

Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter-William Kleppe 11, Jamison Fettig 15, Sam Bitz 2, Ethan Kleppe 7, Bryce Fettig 14. Totals: 16-38 FG, Three-pointers: 6-19 (W.Kleppe 3, E.Kleppe 2, J.Fettig), 11-15 FT, 15 Rebounds (B.Fettig 6), 23 Fouls (E.Kleppe 5), 11 Assists (J.Fettig 5), 18 Turnovers, 13 Steals (B.Fettig 4).

Ellendale-Lucas Hofer 14, Jacob Dewald 4, Brennen Vance 8, Nathan Peterson 2, Luke Wertz 19, Hunter White 7, Austin Molan 7. Totals: 21-34 FG, Three-pointers: 2-10 (Hofer, White), 17-23 FT, 21 Rebounds (Vance 7), 18 Fouls (Hofer 5), 7 Assists (Vance 2, Molan 2), 21 Turnovers, 11 Steals (Hofer 4, Wertz 4).

Records: Ellendale 19-5; Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter 11-11.

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
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