The Turner Tornados were hoping to surprise the Box Elder Bears in the opening round of the District 9C boys tournament, but the Tornadoes will have to wait until next time.
Wednesday night at the Hav
re High gymnasium, the Tornados and Bears tipped off. And it was the No. 3 Bears who defeated the No. 6 Tornados 66-45 in first-round action. With the win the Bears advance to take on the No. 2 Chinook Sugarbeeters tonight at 7:30 p.m., and with the loss, the Tornadoes will have to wait and see who they will play Friday night at 6 p.m.
The Bears were heavily favored in the contest, but Turner showed they can’t be overlooked, with solid defensive play and solid start on offense.
“That was an important step,” Box Elder head coach Jeremy MacDonald said. “To get that first round win. We were able to do that, though Turner played a tough game. Those boys play with a lot of heart and they gave us a battle tonight (Wednesday).”
The game got off to a very tight start, looking like it could be anybody’s game down the stretch. But the Bears prevailed and eventually separated the gap on the Tornadoes with a lot of pressure and transition basketball.
Box Elder held just a 14-13 lead after the first quarter. Both teams got off to a solid start, but it was obvious that turner was hunger for their first district win in a while. But as the game progressed, the Turner offense slowed down, while the Box Elder offense was just heating up. The Bears led 33-20 at the half and 49-32 heading into the fourth quarter. The Bears also outscored the Tornadoes 17-13 in the final frame.
“It was good to win,” Box Elder’s Randall Gardipee said. “We just needed to get the jitters out of the way, that was the most important.”
Gardipee led the Bears with 19 points and was curcial to the win. He scored 10 points in the second quarter, all in the first six minutes, to help the Bears outscore the Tornados 19-7 and gain some ground. Jesse Ramos also finished with 13 for the Bears.
“It was important for us to keep attacking and keep the pressure on,” MacDonald said. “Hopefully that way we can wear teams down. We were able to build a good lead, and Randall (Gardipee) got hot so we just kept feeding him the ball and kept feeding off of each other.”
Turner played well, at the beginning especially. But with all of their youth and inexperience, they just couldn’t keep pace. Their 35 turnovers didn’t help matters any. But Bret VanValkenburg led with 12 points, while Lucas Reed finished with 11 and Levi Humphreys finished with 10. Valkenburg also had a game high nine rebounds.
Now the Tornados sit and wait for their next opponent. But the Bears know they have a rough game ahead of them with Chinook.
“We know that we are right there with Chinook,” MacDonald said. “It is a matter of making shots, if we make shots, take care of the ball, rebound and play solid defense, we have a chance to win. It will be a fun game. But if our shots aren’t falling, we better be playing tough defense and not turning the ball over.”
Box Elder and Chinook tip off tonight at 7:30 p.m. The Tornados take the floor again on Friday at 6 p.m.
Box Elder 66, Turner 45
Turner 13 7 12 13 — 45
Box Elder 14 19 16 17 — 66
Turner — Dylan Walsh 3, Bret Van Valkenburg 12, Levi Humphreys 10, Aaron Van Valkenburg 11, Dusty Mohar 9. Totals: 15 12-19.
Box Elder — Jesse Ramos 13, Lee Webster 5, Brandon Belgarde 4, Randall Gardipee 19, Clyton Morsette 4, Dakota Standing Rock 8, Thomas Parisian 4, Lonnie Plain Bull 2, Slayte Duran 7. Totals: 28 11-20.
Total fouls — Turner 17, BE 19. Fouled out — Alton Mathews (TUR), L. Humphreys. 3-pointers — Walsh, L. Humphreys 2, Ramos, Webster, Morsette.