Corban Potts, Loboes looking for another state championship
Corban Potts, a senior for the LaMoure/Litchville-Marion basketball team, has helped to lead the Loboes to its first state tournament since 2015.
Corban Potts' senior year is going just as well as any senior student-athlete could hope for.
"LLM has given me an amazing high school career," Potts said. "The fans and coaches have all been top tier in all sports."
Potts, the quarterback for the LaMoure/Litchville-Marion 9-man football team, helped lead the Loboes to its first state title since 1991. LLM bested Cavalier 42-14 in the state finals.
After claiming the state football trophy back in late November, Potts went on to start for the LLM boys basketball team which will be making its first appearance at the Class B State Basketball Tournament since 2015.
The tournament is slated to run March 17-19 at the Minot State Dome. LaMoure/LM, the No. 4 seed headed in, will face off against fifth-seeded Grafton in the quarterfinal round.
"It feels amazing," Potts said of playing in two state-level contests. "Most people never get the opportunity to play in a state tournament their whole life (so) playing in two in the same year just seems crazy to me.
"At the same time, I feel like we’re right where we belong, and I didn’t see the season going any other way. (This weekend) fans should expect to see some things a lot of people aren’t expecting."
The road to the second state-level contest of his final prep season seemed to come naturally for Potts and the Loboes, who most of whom, three months before, rattled off 12 straight games to go undefeated in the football realm.
"Just about everyone on the basketball team was also on the football team so we were already all in pretty good shape," Potts said. "All we really had to do was get in the right mindset to play ball.
"We knew that we had a good shot to be in the top percent of the teams in the state and everyone was feeling even more confident after winning the (football) state title."
LLM started out their year with a perfect 3-0 record before dropping 70-49 to Enderlin on Jan. 11. The Loboes suffered another tough one on Jan. 21, when Ellendale topped them 42-40.
Since just missing the Cardinals, the Loboes have put together an impressive 18-1 run which was capped off with a dominant win over Ellendale in the Region 3 Tournament championship game.
"We came into that game ready," Potts said of the state qualifier. "We knew we had to take away post touches and offensive rebounds and we did that very well. Our defense played really well all around and our shots were falling."
LLM also topped Ellendale in the District 5 tournament title tilt to claim the No. 1 seed heading into regionals. Overall the Loboes went 22-3 and 5-1 in the District 5 standings.
"I think that our unpredictability makes us very dangerous. you don’t know where we’re gonna hurt you on any given night," Potts said. "We have four or five guys who can put up 20 points on different occasions. We’re also really balanced which makes us dangerous.
"The ultimate goal of this year is to win a state title," Potts said. "That’s what it has been since Day No. 1. We’ve all been working hard and I think this tournament is wide open for us to take."
Potts said what else makes the Region 3 representative a threat to the state championship, is the brotherhood that is displayed on the boards during any given game.
"We’ve all been friends and playing sports together since first and second grade," Potts said. "We’ve grown closer over the years and have always had high hopes of state championships in every sport.
"I’m proud of myself and my teammates for working through many difficult times. We’ve faced a lot of adversity and we were all able to push through together."
Potts has helped his team push through tough games with his innate leadership qualities, the unselfish ball handling and the impressive stat lines he was been turning in since the season began.
The senior is currently leading the Loboes in total scoring with 352 points and is averaging 14.1 points per game. Potts is shooting almost 62% from two-point range while from behind the arc, 28.9% of the senior's shots are landing.
The three-year starter is also leading his team in total rebounding (158), assists (87) and blocks (35).
LLM head coach Darren Thielges said the Loboes most often initiate their offense through the 6-foot-4 senior who is operating out on the wing. Thielges said the senior has been a rebounding and defensive force for the Loboes this entire season.
"Corban is a standout football player, he's a standout shortstop and pitcher in baseball and that just kind of carries on into basketball. He's a good competitor and he has found ways to excel," Thielges said.
"I think the biggest thing that Corban has done is that he's bought into that competing is more important than his individual stats or accolades. He's given up some of that scoring because he knows that there are other guys around him who can do the same thing. (He's) always looking for the best shot — not just his shot."
No matter how many shots Potts ends up taking or how the Loboes do in the state tournament, the LaMoure/LM standout said he is grateful for the opportunities he's been given at LaMoure/LM and in the Class B sports scene.
"Being a Class B athlete is a feeling like no other," Potts said. "I don’t know if there is another group of athletes that compare to Class B athletes.
"My teammates have all been amazing. The feelings that come from the Friday Night Lights and those home basketball games will never be matched."