Thunder hold off Cardinals in Pingree

Josh Moser and the Thunder controlled Wednesday's tempo hosting Carrington just enough to improve to 2-0 on the season.

BBBB MPB Wanzek vs Carrington Shipman 123020
Medina-Pingree-Buchanan's Sawyer Wanzek, bottom, wrestles for the ball with Grady Shipman of Carrington Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Pingree. John M. Steiner / The Sun

PINGREE, N.D. -- Medina/Pingree-Buchanan boys basketball coach Bob Young has a sophomore captain who does two things well: lead and follow instruction.

Josh Moser and the Thunder controlled Wednesday's tempo hosting Carrington just enough to improve to 2-0 on the season. Moser did a little bit of everything, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight steals, and also blocked a Carrington desperation 3-pointer at the final buzzer in a 53-50 barn-burner in Pingree.

"We tried to mainly get it into our bigs and just stick to coach's game plan, and you gotta outhustle them," Moser said. "It's a group effort and we did a good job."

Carrington never held the lead but whittled a 12-point first-half deficit down to zero in the fourth quarter, mainly fueled by a spectacular offensive second half by Hudson Topp. The sophomore guard buried five 3-pointers after the break and poured in a game-high 21 points.

But a pair of missed foul shots by Topp with three minutes to play left the scoreboard knotted at 42-42, and the Thunder's Rylen Wick scored on a putback and nailed a massive 3-pointer for the home team to shoot MPB back out by five with 1 minute, 12 seconds remaining.


The free-throw line was ghostly quiet for the Cardinals all afternoon, converting just one of four total attempts. Combined with 21 turnovers, it wasn't Carrington's day.

"We turned the ball over too much," said Carrington coach Tim Ranum. "We had an inbounds play down here on a crucial time and we turned the ball over, and had (another) turnover at the end. We want to get to the basket, we want to get to the free-throw line, but we're a little young yet and we sometimes end up forcing a tough shot."

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Medina-Pingree-Buchanan's Josh Moser (21) drives the ball around Lucas Hendrickson of Carrington Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Pingree. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Attempting to get the ball to the hot-handed Topp in the final 10 seconds and trailing 51-50, Wick stole the basketball in the corner, converted two bonus shots at the other end, and Moser blocked a Lucas Hendrickson attempt from about 30 feet to end the game. Both MPB and Carrington are starting three sophomores and a freshman, but the potential in both camps appears to have a high floor early.

"We executed when we had to," said MPB coach Bob Young. "There were many moments we made mistakes that we're probably gonna talk about in practice and work on so we keep growing and learn. But when we had to, we made the right play tonight."

Content to possess the basketball and limit Carrington offensive opportunities in transition, the Thunder didn't need to flow through 6-foot-3 Josh Thomas and senior Alec Horn in the post to start the game, nailing 3 of 4 shots from beyond the arc and leading 20-9 after one quarter.

But a 9-2 Carrington run to close the half slashed a 25-13 Thunder advantage to 27-22 at the break. Carrington's Hudson Schmitz -- another sophomore -- scored nine of his 14 points before the half and hauled in a team-leading nine boards.


The Thunder outscored Carrington 8-0 at the free-throw line over the final two quarters, with Moser dropping in 3 of 4 and scoring 10 of his 17.

Moser, the Thunder's main ball handler, will more times than not be asked to make clutch shots while drawing the most difficult defensive assignments this season.

"He carries a lot of weight for our team ... and he doesn't get many breaks, either," Young said. "We look for him to make the biggest play in the game."

BBBB MPB Thomas vs Carrington Topp 123020
Carrington's Hudson Topp goes up for two over Josh Thomas of Medina-Pingree-Buchanan Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Pingree. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Minus Topp's prowess from the perimeter, the Thunder played a fairly sound defensive game and beat Carrington on the boards.

"We kinda got mixed up as to who we were guarding a couple possessions and that got them some open shots," Young said. "But I think, we're such a young team, we learn every time that happens."

The more deliberate offensive approach also worked in the Thunder's favor.


"We thought we had the advantage inside, so that's where we wanted the basketball to go," Young said. "We had moments where it was tough to get it in there, or even make plays in there, but at least it slowed down the game and made them have to guard us down on the block, and I think it kinda took them out of their game."

Carrington went into rebuild mode last winter following three consecutive trips to the Region 3 tournament championship game, garnering a title in 2018. But last year's three-win season appears to be the low for the red birds.

The Cardinals (1-3) lost by two points to Dakota Prairie on Dec. 22 and travel to Thompson (2-1) this Saturday.

"We've got some nice things we can do, we just don't know how to win yet. We don't know how to do those things in the margins to come away with a W," Ranum said. "You could see nice stretches; I'm optimistic. It's just still frustrating to not come away with a win."

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Carrington's Hudson Schmitz, left, applies some pressure to Rylen Wick of Medina-Pingree-Buchanan Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Pingree. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The Thunder won six games last season, a large improvement over the previous two-year span of 2-39 basketball. MPB's goal is to get back to the regional this winter for the first time in six seasons.

"We're still young, but I still think we can beat some teams," Moser said. "I think we're underrated and we can go out there and win some games."


Medina/Pingree-Buchanan 53, Carrington 50

CAR 9 13 11 17 -- 50

MPB 20 7 9 17 -- 53

CAR -- Hudson Topp 21, Hudson Schmitz 14, Grady Shipman 6, Lucas Hendrickson 4, Tate Larsen 3, Ethan Buskness 2. Totals: 21-53 FG, 7-17 3-pointers (Topp 5, Schmitz 2), 1-4 FT, 18 Fouls, 21 Turnovers, 33 Rebounds, (Schmitz 9, Topp 5, Shipman 5), 12 Steals (Shipman 3).

MPB -- Josh Moser 17, Sawyer Wanzek 10, Rylen Wick 10, Alec Horn 7, Josh Thomas 6, Gage Magstadt 3. Totals: 17-47 FG, 5-17 3-pointers (Moser 2, Wick, Magstadt, Wanzek), 14-24 FT, 10 Fouls, 19 Turnovers, 37 Rebounds (Moser 8, Thomas 6, Horn 5, Magstadt 5), 16 Steals (Moser 8, Wick 5).

Records: Medina/PB 2-0. Carrington 1-3.

Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
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