Des Lacs-Burlington picks up first state win in 25 years by knocking off Thompson
No. 4 seed Tommies can't overcome slow start, 33-18 halftime deficit
BISMARCK — For Thompson, like all teams facing Des Lacs-Burlington, the defensive focus was on 6-foot-9 senior center Carson Yale.
The only problem with that focus is the Lakers played last season without Yale because of an injury.
No. 5 seed Des Lacs-Burlington proved they can win with more than just Yale in a balanced effort in downing No. 4 Thompson 55-48 on Thursday night in the North Dakota Class B state quarterfinals at the Bismarck Event Center.
"It's always unfortunate when he was out all season but it threw some of these young guys to the wolves last season," Des Lacs-Burlington coach Chris Brown said. "It's made us who we are today."
The Lakers, making their first state tournament trip in 25 years, will play in a state semifinal against No. 1 seed Central Cass at 8:15 Friday night. DLB finished fourth at state in 1998.
DLB saw five players score at least seven points, led by Yale with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Braylon Fisher added 13 points and nine rebounds, while Paxton Ystaas was also in double figures with 12.
The Tommies struggled early, trailing by 15 at halftime. Leading scorer Drew Overby was 1-for-10 in the first half and 0-for-5 from 3-point range. He finished with 13 points.
"Our shot selection was not very good," Thompson coach Brandy George said. "Offensively, we weren't very good. They pushed us out of operating areas we wanted to be. They were the better team than we were tonight."
The Tommies, though, came out swinging in the second half.
Brayden Wolfgram and Overby drilled 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the third quarter.
Overby hit three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the third quarter as the Tommies pulled within 36-30.
The Lakers countered with an 8-2 run to steady the waters. Yale scored on a drive, Ystaas hit a drive and two free throws and Ty Hughes scored inside as the DLB advantage stretched back to 12 points with a minute to go in the third quarter.
Thompson made a few runs at the DLB lead in the fourth quarter but could never hit the big shot to get over the hump.
Jakob Starcevic, who finished with a team-high 15 points, scored on a drive and later hit a free throw as the Tommies trailed 44-40.
The Lakers answered with a 7-0 run, highlighted by offensive putbacks by Yale and Fisher.
The Tommies were out-rebounded 44-30.
"We locked down on defense," Fisher said. "Our whole game plan was to shut down (Overby) and (Starcevic). We started to execute at the end."
Overby finished 5-for-21 from the field, while Starcevic was 5-for-19.
The Tommies' final challenge of the Lakers came when Overby scored in transition to make it 53-48 with 1:07 to play.
DLB responded by turning the ball over while Thompson was trying to foul.
But Wolgram and Starcevic missed 3-pointers on the next two opportunities as the Lakers iced the game at the foul line.
"When you get down seven, eight points, and you don't get stops, it's hard to claw your way back in," George said. "They shot the ball well. It is what it is. You have to make plays, you have to hit shots and you have to rebound. It's a tough one."