Unfinished Business: Blue Jays heading back to State

Article by Ian Grande

Williston – For the second straight season the Stanley Blue Jays will be headed to the North Dakota Class B State Tournament.

The Blue Jays held a ten-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter but would have to hold off a late charge from the Eagles to move on. The lead had slipped to six points with under a minute left before New Town senior Daniel Lebeau hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 3 points with 35 seconds left.

Click photo to enlarge:

Wyatt Hanson (Photo by Kayla Grande)
Wyatt Hanson (Photo by Kayla Grande)

Wyatt Hanson would hit a pair of clutch free-throws on the Blue Jays next possession to put the Blue Jays up 54-49 with 20 seconds left. The Eagles would misfire on their next possession, giving Roderick McIntosh an opportunity to seal the game, which he did by calmly swishing both free-throws.

The Blue Jays received contributions from a variety of players today:

Kaedyn Hanson picked an excellent time to put together his best game of the season. The senior was lights out on both ends of the court, picking up 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. “We tried to get him as many touches as we could,” said Stanley coach Kory Anderson. “We knew he was going to have to step up in one of the games this tournament for us to advance, and he did tonight.”

Kaedyn Hanson (Photo by Kayla Grande)

Rhett Hanson was a definite bright spot for the Blue Jays during the entire tournament, the sophomore earned a well-deserved spot on the Region 8 All-Tournament team. The sophomore knocked down two big three pointers to swing the momentum back in favor of the Blue Jays. “Rhett really stepped up this tournament,” said Anderson. “He is a player we have been challenging all season to look for his shot, because he has the skills.”

Mikey Gunderson was another player that played excellent for the Blue Jays throughout the tournament. “Mikey and Rhett were the players that brought the energy that made the difference for our team in this tournament.”

Matt Patten was steady once again for the Blue Jays, scoring ten points and grabbing 7 rebounds.

Stanley Blue Jays Region 8 Tournament Champions (Photo by Ian Grande)
Stanley Blue Jays Region 8 Tournament Champions (Photo by Ian Grande)

“It’s not easy, but it sure is exciting and worth all of the time we put in,” said Anderson. “This is great for the community, and it is especially fun for the kids.”

The Blue Jays will have a slightly different perspective this year at the State Tournament. “We are just going to enjoy it, said Anderson. “I’m not sure that we allowed the kids to enjoy it as much last year. We know how to prepare for it. We are going to get everybody in the right spot to give us the best chance.”

Wyatt Hanson was named Region 8 Senior Athlete of the Year. He should be one of the Mr. Basketball finalists (will be announced on Wednesday).

The State B bracket will be released later tonight during the Class A State Basketball Tournament. I expect the Blue Jays to get the #3 seed.

**State Qualifiers**: North Dakota Boys Basketball Region Championship Scoreboard (All Regions)

Stanley: 14 5 19 18 (56)

New Town: 11 13 11 14 (49)

Stanley: K. Hanson 21, W. Hanson 12, Patten 10, McIntosh 7, R. Hanson 6

New Town: Baker 17, D. Lebeau 15, J. Lebeau 6, Headdress 6, Martin 3, Overlie 2

*Please contact our Editor in chief – Ian Grande with any questions or concerns. Email: StanleyGazette@gmail.com

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