The mission for every team entering tournament play is to get off to a good start. To get that first won under the belt.
After Thursday night’s opening game of the District 9C boys basketball tournament, the Box Elder Bears can say, mission accomplished. Box Elder rode the inside play of Warren Parisian and a stingy defense to a dominating 74-56 win over Hays-Lodge Pole Thursday night at the Havre High gymnasium. The win pushed the upstart Bears into today’s semifinal where they’ll face Chinook at 2:30 p.m.
“It was very important,” Box Elder head coach Zane Rossette said of the Bears’ start to Thursday night’s game. “And I think playing defense the way we did in the first two quarters was huge. We harped on the kids all week about the fact you have to play good defense at tournament time, and I think they are starting to realize how important defense is, because we played good defense tonight, and our offense came after that fact.”
Good defense, and a dominating post presence from Parisian was too much for the Thunderbirds to handle. Parisian scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed a monstrous 20 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive glass. And with his inside play, and the shooting of Jesse Ramos and Chris Lamere, the Bears were off and running.
“It was good, we played good,” Parisian said. “We just came out and stayed aggressive, and we played good, hard defense.”
Ramos and Lamere combined to hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter, but the T-Birds kept things close, trailing by just two points at the end of the period. But Lamere banged in another three to start the second quarter and the Bears started to chip away on the inside, and eventually led 38-28 at the half.
Box Elder’s big run came in the third, where Parisian scored nine straight points, and the Bears held HLP without a field goal for almost five minutes. By the time the third quarter was over, Box Elder had upped the lead to 60-39 and the game was all but over.
“We just kept our heads up the whole game,” Parisian said. “We just kept playing. It was a really good start.”
Parisian was the catalyst, but the Bears did plenty of damage from all over the floor. Ramos and Lamere each scored 14 points and combined for all six of Box Elder’s three’s, while Dakota Standing Rock chipped in with 10 points. The Bears grabbed a ridiculous 60 rebounds and also forced HLP into 13 turnovers. The Thunderbirds were led by Scotty Bradley with 17 points and Ty Racine who had 11.
Thursday’s loss dropped the T-Birds (8-11) into loser-out play Saturday at 11 a.m., while Box Elder, which has just a handful of players with tournament experience, will now face top-seeded Chinook with a berth in the championship game on the line.
The Bears and Beeters tip off at 2:30 p.m. today.
“It’s a confidence builder,” Rossette said. “Especially for a team with very little tournament experience. We have some juniors and seniors but they don’t have a lot of tournament experience, so this game was big for them. We told them to approach it like any other game, to go out and have fun, and that’s what they did, and that’s what we’ll try and do again tomorrow (Friday).”
Box Elder Roars
Box Elder 76, Hays-Lodge Pole 56
Box Elder 17 21 20 20 — 76
HLP 15 13 11 17 — 56
Box Elder — Jesse Ramos 5-27 6-6 16, Dakota Standing Rock 6-13 0-2 10, Chris LaMere 7-11 2-2 14, Jacob Burns 0-8 0-2 0, Jacob Pakor 4-10 1-2 9, Warren Parisian 8-20 9-14 27. Totals: 32-90 1-28.
HLP — Ty Racine 7-15 0-0 11, Andrew Cole 2-4 0-0 3, Cotty Bradley 8-23 4-4 17, Jeff Sorrell 1-4 0-0 2, Derek Doney 0-2 1-2 1, Clifford BlackElk 2-5 0-0 3, Kyle Stanley 2-5 1-1 5, Bruce Denny 0-2 1-4 1, Nolan Werk 4-12 1-2 9, Floyd McConnell 0-1 0-0 0, Tyler Roberts 2-13 1-2 4, Trenton Kirkaldie 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 28-86 9-16.
Fouls: Box Elder 13, Hays-Lodgepole 21. Fouled out: Racine (H). 3-pointers: Ramos 2, Standing Rock 2, LaMere 2, Pakor 1, Racine 3, Cole 1, Bradley 3, BlackElk 1, Roberts 1.