Crosby – The North Dakota District 16 Boys Basketball Tournament kicks off on February 24th in Crosby.
Here is a full preview of the opening round action:
#1 Kenmare Honkers
Outlook: The Honkers open with a bye, thanks to their regular season championship. Kenmare only has two losses this season (New Town and Minot Ryan). The Honkers easily dispatched every team in District 16 except for the Stanley Blue Jays (see article here) The Honkers should cruise easily to the championship game where another matchup with the Blue Jays could be awaiting them. The Rodin brothers are the real deal and are going to give plenty of fits to their opponents. The Honkers are the defending District 16 and Region 8 Champions, they are the going to be tough to beat.
#4 Burke County Titans
#5 Ray Jays
Outlook: Burke County is a tough team to forecast. They have two wins over #2 seed Powers Lake, but they also have a 45 point loss against #1 Kenmare. This first round matchup against the Jays should be a good one, the teams split their two meeting in the regular season.
Outlook: The Jays won five of their final 7 games to close out the season, after starting the season 3-12. The Jays beat Burke County 57-49 on February 3rd. The winner of this game will likely have a much easier road to the Region 8 Tournament.
#2 Powers Lake Ranchers
#7 Divide County Maroons
Outlook: The Ranchers should advance past the first round with relative ease. Their road will get much more difficult in the semifinals where they will likely face the Stanley Blue Jays. The Ranchers were victorious in their early season meeting with Blue Jays, but the Blue Jays were without standout Wyatt Hanson.
The Ranchers are well coached and probably overachieved a bit this season to get the #2 seed. The Ranchers started out red hot, going 8-1 in their first 9 games but they have faded a bit lately losing 5 of their last 9.
A semifinal matchup with the Blue Jays should be an excellent show, the Ranchers play hard and are disciplined which will give them a chance to knock off more talented teams.
Senior Jordan Klitzke recently went over the 1000pt mark (see article).
Outlook: The young Maroons have had a rough year. They have some nice young players but they are multiple years away from being able to compete for District Championship.
#2 Stanley Blue Jays
#7 Tioga Pirates
Outlook: Junior Wyatt Hanson has had an incredible season thus far for the Blue Jays. Seniors Logan Aadnes and Ryan Nesheim, Kaedyn Hanson, and Matt Patten round out the talented starting five. Sophomore Seth Hetzel figures to be first off the bench during the playoffs, if he can find his stroke from deep, he could be just what the Blue Jays need to get over the hump.
The Blue Jays are arguably the most talented group in Region 8. When they are firing on all cylinders, no one in the region can hang with them.
Stanley has been excellent most of the time, unfortunately they have had spells where they sleep walk through a quarter. The Blue Jays might be able to get away with that for a round or two in districts but they will need string together some complete game efforts if they are going to make a run to the State Tournament.
Outlook: Tioga will have an uphill climb in the first round. The Pirates lost to the Blue Jays by 32 points on December 19th. Things haven’t gotten a whole lot better for the Pirates since then.
An upset over the Blue Jays in the first round seems very unlikely.
What: North Dakota District 16 Boys Basketball Tournament
Where: Divide County High School (Crosby)
When: First game tips at 4:30pm on February 24th
– Ian Grande is the Editor of the Stanley Gazette, feel free to contact him at StanleyGazette@gmail.com with any comments or concerns.
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