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North Star crowns arch rival CJI


February 15, 2018

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

North Star's Dylan Miller, right, makes a move during a District 9C boys tournament game against Chester-Joplin-Inverness Wednesday night at the HHS gymnasium. The Knights won, advancing to tonight's semifinal against Hays-Lodge Pole.

During the past few seasons, the North Star Knights have gotten closer and closer to their goal of reaching the Northern C Divisional Tournament and Wednesday, on the opening night of the District 9C boys basketball tournament, the Knights got themselves one win away from getting there.

After a 15-3 regular season and an 11-3 mark in 9C play, the Knights took on Chester-Joplin-Inverness in the quarterfinals of the 9C Tournament Thursday inside the HHS gymnasium and had their way with the Hawks. The Knights led 25-7 at the half and went on to win the game by a final score of 50-32.

If CJI was hoping it could pull an upset, the Knights were having none of it early and thanks to some suffocating defense, North Star was able to build a double-digit lead just minutes into the game. Dylan Miller got the Knights going early in the game with a couple of easy buckets, then a 3-pointer by Caden Rettig made the score 11-3, which helped North Star grab a 13-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

"They are pretty focused on their one goal and what they are shooting for, and they knew they had to play defense all the way through," North Star head coach Walynn Burgess said of his players. "Ever since that game in Chinook, we have been working on defense in practice. I told them we needed to lock in and we can't get easy going. And from the first quarter until the third quarter, we were pretty locked in I thought. When you only give up 14 through three and a half (quarters) that's pretty good."

In the second quarter, North Star continued to dominate defensively. After allowing just one bucket in the first quarter, the Knights allowed two hoops to CJI in the second for a total of four points. And when Devon Miller scored off the glass with just a few seconds remaining in the half, it put the Knights in front 25-7 at intermission.

In the third quarter, North Star continued to dominate inside. Dylan Miller, who scored eight points in the first half continued to attack the basket and scored two more times in the third. Devon Miller also added a couple more buckets inside and with a few minutes left in the third quarter, North Star was in front, 34-14.

"We knew that each team usually guards me with a bigger guy," Devon Miller said. "We also knew that Dylan would have a smaller guy on him and we needed to get him the ball. "

CJI was able to keep the game competitive in the fourth quarter, but never got much closer than 16 points. The Hawks, who are 2-17 on the year, will play Box Elder this morning in loser-out action.

Dylan Miller led all scorers in the win and finished with a game-high 14 points. He also had four rebounds and three assists. Devon Miller also had a solid night with 12 points, six rebounds and three assists of his own. Tyler Wanken led the Hawks with nine points. Jackson Diemert also contributed with eight.

"We knew we had to come out and get this one," Devon Miller said. "Because (Thursday) night is a big game for us and we wanted to plug in and kind of set the tone for the whole weekend. We have a divisional banner in our gym that says 06-07 and we have been wanting to change that for a while now."

The Knights will get that banner updated with a win over Hays-Lodge Pole tonight in the semifinals. North Star will play The Thunderbirds tonight inside the HHS gymnasium at 8:30.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Chester-Joplin-Inverness' Spencer Richter, left, looks for room during the Hawks' game with North Star Wednesday night.

North Star 50, Chester-Joplin-Inverness 32

North Star 13 12 17 8 - 50

CJI 3 4 13 12 - 32

North Star - Dylan Miller 14, Caden Rettig 7, Brody Wendland 3, Hayden Massar 5, Devon Miller 13, Thomas Nerat 9. Totals: 15-36 18-24 50.

CJI - Jackson Diemert 8, Noah Bender 2, Spencer Richter 7, Evan Dahinden 4, Gunnar Wickum 2, Tyler Wanken 9. Totals: 13-42 5-7 32

3-pointers - C. Rettig 1, B. Wendland 3, T. Wanken. Fouls: CJI 19, North Star 13. Fouled out -- none.


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