Ellendale, Carrington enter District 5 boys hoops tourney as top seeds

If the teams play each other in the championship game, it will be the first team the teams have faced off in the district title game since 2017.

bbbb ellendale 23 signal from 010523.jpg
Ellendale's Mason Molan sends a signal to set up a play during the District 5 boys' basketball tournament at the Jamestown Civic Center.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN — For the second consecutive year, the Ellendale Cardinals are the top seed heading into the District 5 Tournament. The Cardinals enter into the tournament with an identical 11-8 overall record to the No. 2-seeded Carrington Cardinals but they are the top seed thanks to a better record in district play.

The Cardinals were expected to be heading into the tournament with an 18-1 overall record but seven of those wins were overturned thanks to playing an ineligible player.

“Yeah they’re a little hurt by it and we just gotta play it and go on,” Ellendale head coach Brian Vance said.

Ellendale is going for its first district championship since 2020, while Carrington is vying for their first district crown since 2018.

The Ellendale Cardinals have a first-round bye before they face the winner of the game between No. 4-seeded LaMoure/Litchville-Marion and No. 5-seeded Barnes County North at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27. Vance said his team will be in attendance scouting the Loboes-Bison game. This season, the Cardinals beat the Loboes 73-55 on Jan. 20 and they beat the Bison 74-62 on Jan. 27.


The weather has forced the tournament to be pushed back to avoid being in direct conflict with the Region 3 girls' basketball tournament also taking place at the Jamestown Civic Center. The tournament now runs from Saturday, Feb. 25 through Tuesday, Feb. 28.

The Carrington Cardinals open their tournament at 6 p.m. on Feb. 25, when they take on No. 7-seeded Oakes. Carrington head coach Tim Ranum said his team’s keys to the tournament are to stick to the basics. Ranum said they have to get the most out of every possible possession and score close to 60 points per game.

“It’s pretty simple, we have to do a good job of rebounding but I think if we score a certain amount of points I think we have a great shot to win,” Ranum said.

This season, Carrington is 4-0 when scoring 60 points or more and 7-8 when scoring less than 60 points. One of those wins where they reached the 60-point plateau was against the Tornadoes when they got a 60-44 win on Feb. 7.

“There’s going to be a lot of upsets I think in this year’s tournament because everyone is so even and we’re coming in, we’re expecting Oakes to give us a dogfight and I’m sure they’re expecting the same,” Ranum said. “That was two weeks ago, they might have some different kids coming back, it could be a whole different ball game.”

This season, Ellendale’s top two leading scorers are Anton Geller with 17.5 points per game and Riley Thorpe with 13.8 points per game. Vance said he is looking for production out of those two and senior Cole Sayler who is averaging 4.9 points per game.

“Anton’s been pretty consistent all year, Riley’s been pretty consistent all year,” Vance said. “The guy that I think could surprise some people is Cole Sayler, he’s got potential to score quite a bit of points but he’s gun shy a little bit. We’ve got six or seven guys that can put the ball in the hoop so any given night any one of those guys could step up for us.”

Last season, Ellendale was the top seed in the district tournament and made it all the way to the championship game where they fell to the Loboes. Ellendale’s season ended in the Region 3 championship game with another loss to the Loboes. Vance said he sees some parallels between this year’s team and last year’s squad as they head into the district tournament.


“We’re kind of in the same boat as last year, we don’t have Scotty (Wagner) but both teams were sitting on top and everybody is shooting for us right now,” Vance said. “So, we gotta come ready to play every single night because nobody is going to give us anything.”

In last year’s District 5 tournament, Carrington qualified for the regional tournament thanks to a fourth-place finish. Heading into this year’s tournament, Ranum said he expects is hoping for big performances out of Josh Bickett, Grady Shipman, Hudson Schmitz and Jack Erickson. The Cardinals' leading scorer this year is Schmitz who is averaging 15.1 points per game. Ranum said he expects the tournament to be a competitive one with everybody trying to knock off the top-seeded Cardinals. This season, three teams finished with winning records in the district, Ellendale, Carrington and the Loboes. The Edgeley/Kulm-Montpelier Rebels finished the season with a 9-9 overall record as the last team in the district to finish at .500 or above.

“There’s a lot of stylistic matchups that are going to present some difficulty for different teams or one team will match up in this way and not so much another,” Ranum said. “So, I think it’s going to be an exciting district tournament in that regard. But, I think Ellendale’s the team that everybody is shooting for whether that be here in the district tournament or whoever is lucky enough to get to the region tournament, looking to take them down.”

2023 District 5 Boys Basketball Tournament:

Full Bracket Below:

First Round:

No. 1 Ellendale-bye

No. 4 LaMoure/Litchville-Marion vs. No. 5 Barnes County North, 4:30 p.m.


No. 2 Carrington vs. No. 7 Oakes, 6 p.m.

No. 3 Edgeley/Kulm-Montpelier vs. No. 6 Griggs-Midkota, 7:30 p.m.

My name is Max O'Neill. I am a Sports Reporter at The Jamestown Sun. I am a native New Yorker, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2020 with a degree in Television-Radio.
What To Read Next
Get Local