Both the Hays-Lodge Pole Thunderbirds and Box Elder Bears knew they could be threat come tournament time as the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds. And as they faced off in the consolation game, they proved their point.
Saturday in the District 9C boys consolation game in Havre, the Bears defeated the Thunderbirds 65-37 to grab the third place finish and earn a challenge game tonight against Big Sandy.
The Bears and Thunderbirds met in first round action as well. That time around the Bears grabbed a 76-56 victory. And the Bears looked even better the second time around.
“This was a good win,” Box Elder head coach Zane Rosette said. “Because Charlie Ereaux (Hays-Lodge Pole head coach) is a great coach and I have always respected him and his system. The last couple years it has been Hays-Lodge Pole who put the Bears out of the tournament.”
Foul trouble was the biggest difference maker. Both teams were knotted at 4-4 to start the first quarter, but the Bears managed a 12-9 lead after the first eight minutes. But with the Thunderbirds already putting the Bears on the line in bonus situations, the Bears jumped out to a 20-11 start in the first three minutes of the second quarter. In the opening minutes the Bears went 4-of-6 from the line and the Thunderbirds’ Clifford Blackelk, a key component to the HLP offense was already on the bench with his fourth foul.
Blackelk sat for the remainder of the second quarter and the third as well. But the Thunderbirds were able to climb within four of the Bears at the end of the first half, trailing 24-20. But in a 15-10 third quarter led by Jesse Ramos and Warren Parisian combining for 13 points, the Bears were back on top 41-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
“Our keys to the game were to stop them on defense and be aggressive on offense so we could get them into foul trouble,” Rosette said. “And I think our guards and post players did a nice job of attacking the basket.
“I think our defense was key,” Box Elder’s Jacob Parker added. “Coach always tells us that defense always turns in offense and it did. But coach also tells us we need to attack and get them into foul trouble so we can go to the line.”
In the fourth quarter the Thunderbirds settled for deep 3-pointer attempts early on. And Both Blackelk and Tyler Roberts fouled out for the Thunderbirds. In the final frame Box Elder outscored the Thunderbirds 26-7 on route to nearly a 30 point victory.
In the game the Bears were 22-of-34 from the free-throw-line while the Thunderbirds were 10-of-17. The Bears also shot over 38 percent from the field and 3-of-12 from behind three range. HLP shot just 21 percent from the field and knocked down only three treys in 21 attempts.
Ty Racine led the Thunderbirds with 13 points and Derek Doney followed with six. Parisian led the Bears with 22 and Parker grabbed 17. Parisian also had 11 rebounds while Parker had five. Parker also had two blocked shots and three steals. Ramos also had eight points for the Bears while Dakota Standing Rock finished with seven points.
“Parker and Parisian have been great,” Rosette said. “The leadership that comes from Parker is great and Parisian is just a high energy guy and you could see that on the court. They have both been good for us and they compliment our guards really well.”
But the season isn’t over for the Bears quite yet.
The Bears put themselves in a position to challenge the second-place winner of the 9C tournament. And since the Chinook Sugarbeeters defeated the Big Sandy Pioneers 63-35, the Bears and Pioneers will now meet.
Tonight at 6 p.m. at the HHS gymnasium the Bears will challenge the Pioneers for a trip to the Northern C tournament.
The last time these two teams met the Bears were able to come from behind to defeat the Pioneers by a bucket. Big Sandy gave up a five point lead in the loss with just about a minute to go in the fourth quarter.
Box Elder is going to look to stop both Trevor Lackner and Justin Stevens. Lackner runs the show from the point guard position and his outside shooting. And Steven does a nice job for the Pioneers in the post. But Parker will give the Bears a size advantage down low.
“We just can’t let Trevor Lackner dictate the offense for them,” Rosette said. “And we can’t allow Justin Stevens to get post position on us, he did a nice job of that during the season. If we can key on those two guys on defense, I think our offense will come through our defense.”
The Box Elder Bears and Big Sandy Pioneers will meet tonight at the Havre High gymnasium at 6 p.m. for the District 9C challenge game.
Box Elder gets third,
Box Elder 65, , HLP 37 (3rd)
Box Elder 12 12 15 26 — 65
HLP 9 11 10 7 — 37
Box Elder — Lance Young 2-6 0-0 4, Thomas Parisian 0-0 1-2 1, Randall Gardipee 0-0 2-4 2, Jesse Ramos 2-10 2-4 8, Dakota Standing Rock 2-5 2-2 7, Jacob Burns 0-1 2-3 2, Jacob Parker 7-13 3-3 17, Warren Parisian 6-12 10-14 22, Slayte Duran 1-2 0-2 2. Totals: 20-52 22-34.
HLP — Ty Racine 3-11 5-5 13, Scotty Bradley 0-4 0-3 0, Jeff Sorrell 1-3 2-4 4, Derek Doney 3-6 0-0 6, Clifford Blackelk 2-4 1-2 5, Nolan Werk 2-9 0-0 4, Tyler Roberts 1-5 1-2 3, Trenton Kirkaldie 0-7 2-6 2. Totals: 12-57 10-17.
3-pointers Racine 2, Blackelk 1, Ramos 2, Standing Rock 1. Fouls: Box Elder 13, HLP 25.