E/K-M, M/P-B head into Stutsman County tourney as top seeds
The Rebels are trying to be the first repeat champions in the girls tournament since Carrington won it in 2018-19.
JAMESTOWN — The 2021 Stutsman County Girls Basketball tournament was won by the Edgeley/Kulm-Montpelier Rebels, who head into the 2022 tournament as the No. 6-ranked team in the Class B polls with a 1-0 record.
The Rebels and District 6 representative Medina/Pingree-Buchanan are the two top seeds in the tournament. The Rebels open face No. 4-seed Warwick at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8.
The Rebels are coming off a 56-50 win over Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich on Dec. 2. In that game they were led by Mataeya Mathern’s 25 points. In the win, the Rebels were without senior Norah Entzi due to an injury. In the Rebels championship game last year, the Rebels were led by Mathern’s 18 points.
“We’re dealing with a little adversity, we’ve got a couple injuries,” Rebels head coach Rory Entzi said. “... We’re going to lean heavy on our leaders, Mataeya and Kiara (Jangula). They’ve been hauling a lot of minutes. Gracy Irey, Reagan Teske, we’re going to lean heavily on those to be our leaders. That senior leadership, the players who play the most need to step up.”
The Thunder head into the tournament as the No. 1-seed out of District 6 with a 2-0 record. The Thunder are coming off a 37-26 win over Standing Rock on Dec. 2.
“(I am) just hoping for the kids to come out and play well,” Thunder head coach Cory Mack said. “I know it’s early in the season so lots of things can happen. You’re just hoping to improve with each game and hoping at the end of the tournament that we’ve played well and did our very best and see what happens after that.”
The Thunder come into the tournament with eight upperclassmen, which is tied for the most in the tournament alongside the Rebels.
“The girls had a nice postseason last year,” Mack said. “You get those couple extra games at the regional tournament and that helps you going into the next season, confidence-wise. When you have a team that has a few starters back, it’s extremely helpful, for the rest of the kids too. So, I wouldn’t call us a veteran team by any means but we have the right kids in the right places that can lead us.”
The tournament serves as an early season test for the teams, allowing the coaches to see how their teams stack up against the other local teams.
“Obviously, people would want to play a little bit later in the year but it’s OK to get into that tournament right off the bat and see where you need to go from there," Mack said. "Obviously, we’re trying to improve throughout the season, working for the end game, the tournaments at the end of the season.”
One of the teams that could pull an upset in the first round is the No. 3 seed out of District 6 — South Border. The Mustangs start their tournament at 7:30 p.m. Thursday when they take on No. 2-seed Carrington.
“Hopefully we can go and compete each night, give ourselves a chance,” Mustangs head coach Jamie Bittner said.
Last year, the Mustangs finished in seventh after a 66-33 win over Warwick. The Mustangs head into this game with a 1-1 record after losing 86-56 to Standing Rock Community High School. In those two games, the Mustangs’ Emily Jochim has scored a combined 42 points. Bittner said he looks for Jochim and sophomore Macy Monson to help lead the team deep into the early season tournament.
In the first two games of the season, the Mustangs have only played six players per game. The Mustangs will play all three days of the tournament through Saturday, Dec. 10, and Bittner said that could highlight his team’s depth issues.
“The other night we had one girl get injured during the game so that impacts it right away there,” Bittner said. “ … So, yeah them playing three games in a row, too, that will definitely affect it, just by having legs and a lot of the girls haven’t played varsity minutes.”