Article by Ian Grande
Williston – The North Dakota Class B Boys Basketball Region 8 Tournament kicks off on March 6th at Williston State College.
Here is a complete breakdown of what you can expect to see if you go:
Stanley Blue Jays (D16 #1)
Watford City Wolves (D15 #4)
All-District Players: Logan Aadnes (sr.), Wyatt Hanson (jr.), Kaedyn Hanson (jr.)
How did they get here: Stanley defeated Kenmare in the District 16 Championship 64-62. (See article here)
Outlook: The Blue Jays avenged regular season losses against Powers Lake and Kenmare by beating both teams in the District 16 Tournament. Winning the District 16 Championship provided a confidence boost for the Blue Jays, it also made the road to the Region 8 Championship game much easier.
The Blue Jays are able to avoid both the Parshall Braves and Kenmare Honkers until the Championship game, two teams that defeated the Blue Jays in the regular season. New Town is also on the other side of the bracket, a team that has given the Blue Jays plenty of issues in recent years.
Junior Wyatt Hanson is playing as well as any player in Region 8, he leads a talented group that can fill up the score sheet.
Kaedyn Hanson will give the Blue Jays an advantage in the middle over most teams. Senior Logan Aadnes and junior Matt Patten are the primary ball handlers. Senior Ryan Nesheim gives the Blue Jays a steady inside-outside option as well to round out the starting five.
The Blue Jays crushed their first round opponent back in January, but the Wolves seemed to have turned the corner in the District 15 Tournament.
If the Blue Jays are firing on all cylinders they are the team to beat in Region 8.
How did they get here: Watford City beat North Shore 67-65 in the Region 8 qualifying game.
Outlook: The Wolves played their best basketball of the season in the District 15 Tournament. They suffered a narrow 82-80 loss to the New Town Eagle in the first round. The Wolves turned around and throttled Trenton 70-17 and then upset #3 seeded North Shore 67-65 to earn a spot in the Region 8 field.
The Wolves draw a Stanley Blue Jays team that beat them by 29 points on January 14th. If they play like they did in the District 15 Tournament, this could be interesting. If they don’t, it will be over quickly.
Trinity Christian Crusaders (D15 #2)
Powers Lake Ranchers (D16 #3)
How did they get here: The Crusaders lost to Parshall 66-58 in the District 15 Championship,
Outlook: The Crusaders don’t go very deep and as a result their starters rarely leave the floor. The Crusaders beat their first round opponent 54-39 on January 31st. The team will likely need to avoid foul trouble if they are going to make a deep run in the tournament.
Senior Austin Smith led the Crusaders with 21 points in the District 15 Championship game.
All-District Players: Logan Klitzke (sr.), Kyle Van Berkom (so.), Aiden Nordloef (so.)
How did they get here: The Ranchers beat the Ray Jays 63-41 in the Region 8 qualifying game.
Outlook: The Ranchers are tough group to go against, they aren’t going to overwhelm anyone with their talent but Powers Lake is well coached and they will make you earn a victory over them.
The Ranchers are led by senior Logan Klitzke, he was one of three Ranchers to be named to the All-District team. The other two were sophomores Aiden Nordloef and Kyle Van Berkom.
This team is scrappy, I expect this to be an excellent first round matchup.
Parshall Braves (D15 #1)
Burke County Titans (D16 #4)
How did they get here: Parshall beat the Trinity Christian in the District 15 Championship.
Outlook: The Parshall Braves are an exciting team to watch. They feature strong guard play from senior Jelani Foote and a strong inside game from Billy Moran. The Braves also have one of the top players in Region 8 in Deyondre Simpson, who can play inside and out.
The Braves will face a tough matchup in the second round against either Kenmare or New Town. Parshall beat New Town 108-105 in OT and lost 80-60 to Kenmare this season.
The Braves will be a favorite in the first round by a good margin, it will get more difficult for the Braves from then on.
All-District Players: Josh Kihle (jr.), Matthew Hinds (jr.)
How did they get here: Burke County beat the Tioga Pirates 59-51 in the Region 8 qualifying game.
Outlook: The Titans have a solid post in junior Josh Kihle and they can get some scoring from their guards as well. They will have an uphill climb in the first round against the Braves though, who like to play a bit faster than the Titans would like to.
Kenmare Honkers (D16 #2)
New Town Eagles (D15 #3)
All-District Players: Hunter Rodin (sr.), Kolton Jesz (sr.), Jacob Rodin (jr.)
How did they get here: The Honkers lost 64-62 to the Stanley Blue Jays in the District 16 Championship.
Outlook: The Honkers have only lost 3 games this season. One of those was to #10 Minot Bishop Ryan, another was to the Stanley Blue Jays in the District 16 Championship. The only other loss was a 80-66 defeat at the hands of the New Town Eagles, their first round opponent.
The Honkers will get really strong guard play from the Rodin brothers. Hunter Rodin was named the District 16 Senior Athlete of the Year, and for good reason.
The Honkers don’t have a ton of post size and they are forced to defend the inside by committee. Jacob Rodin can hang with anyone in the region down low but that probably isn’t his preferred position.
The Honkers have a really difficult path back to the Class B State Tournament, but they are certainly good enough to win the Region 8 Tournament for the second year in a row.
How did they get here: The Eagles beat Mandaree 94-75 in the Region 8 qualifying game.
Outlook: The Eagles can score in bunches. Junior Daniel LeBeau Jr. seems to lead the scoring more often than not, but the Eagles will get offensively contributions across the board.
An area of weakness for the Eagles is clearly their defense, they give up a ton of points. To be fair this can also be attributed to the pace that the Eagles play at, but it is certainly worth noting.
The Eagles are really exciting to watch, and they would prefer to turn ever game into a track meet. Kenmare is versatile, but a really high scoring game in the opening round would probably favor the Eagles.
This will be an excellent first round game.
For the complete Region 8 Bracket please check out: North Dakota Class B Boys Basketball Region 8 Tournament Bracket
What? North Dakota Class B Boys Basketball Region 8 Tournament
Where? Williston State College
When? First game tips off at 3pm on Monday, March 6th
*Ian Grande is the Editor of the Stanley Gazette. If you have any comments or concerns please email StanleyGazette@gmail.com
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