Mar. 2—Panic didn't set in for District 5's top seed following Saturday's upset loss to LaMoure/Litchville-Marion in overtime.
After all, Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier went through a regional qualifier last year en route to winning the Region 3 tournament championship. Still, a District 5 title would've been a feather in the cap for a program that isn't lacking any motivation this season.
EKM will forever be remembered as one of the eight teams that didn't get to participate in a state Class B tournament last March because of the ongoing pandemic.
"It was a tough one, but really just to survive and advance — get to the regionals — that was our main goal," said EKM senior standout Alex Huber. "Come in, play hard, and I think we did and it showed."
The Rebels defeated Griggs-Midkota 66-50 on Monday in one of two District 5 tournament region-qualifying games at the Jamestown Civic Center. Possibly repeating as region champs starts next Monday for EKM facing Kidder County back in Jamestown.
The Titans — the first-year co-op between Griggs County Central and Midkota — put their mark on the district tournament, avenging an earlier loss to Barnes County North by defeating the Bison in overtime of Saturday's loser-out contest, setting up a third tilt with the Rebels in 2020-21. This time, the Titans had Logan Topp back in uniform who was injured in the fourth game of the year and missed a majority of the season.
Topp posted eight points and three steals before fouling out with nearly five minutes to play in the fourth quarter and the Titans trailing 58-41. Topp, however, had scored 18 points two days earlier to help keep the Titans' season alive.
Griggs-Midkota (5-17) suffered an 0-12 stretch this winter but finished by winning three of its last five.
"These guys have been rock solid all year," said Griggs-Midkota coach Mike Monson. "We didn't have Logan for 12-13 games and we went through some tough times because everybody's roles switched and we didn't get it right right away. We were in a lot of games ... but they never quit.
"I just told the seniors in there, you take that with you in life and it'll take you a long ways."
First-half scoring runs by the Rebels of 9-0 and 9-2 had the No. 4-ranked team in the state leading 34-24 at the half. EKM (19-2) slipped from second to fourth in the latest statewide media rankings released Monday.
Another run by the Rebels in third, this one good for eight straight, pushed the advantage to 18 at 50-32 with 1:20 remaining before the fourth. The Rebels finished plus eight in rebounds and outscored the Titans by a combined 20 points on turnovers and second-chance points.
Huber led four Rebels in double-digit scoring with 16, while 6-foot-7 senior Chayse Entzi turned in 14 points and 10 rebounds.
"We knew they would go on runs ... they do that against everybody," Monson said. "We just wanted to make sure we could counter it a little bit and we did, and then right in that last quarter we missed a couple shots, missed some free throws, and that's part of the game."
The Titans were able to get back within 11 in the fourth before back-to-back buckets by Huber broke open yet another 8-0 EKM run to put the game away. Senior Hunter Gronneberg led the Titans in scoring with 14.
The Titans converted six 3-pointers, including three off the hand of senior Jayden Sherrard.
"They came together," Huber said of the Titans. "Logan Topp has gotten healthy and that was a big difference for them because he's quite the player. They were making their shots today and it got a little close, but we came away with a 'W' so that's all we can ask for."
The Rebels last saw Kidder County — Monday's opponent — on Dec. 18 in Steele. EKM was victorious that day without junior guard Dalton Madcke who missed the Rebels' first four games while healing a football injury from the fall.
"They've got three really good guards, but we were without our point guard, Buddy (Madcke)," Huber said. "We're just going to have to come out and play and see what happens. Hopefully, we can go to the next round."
(2) Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier 66, Griggs-Midkota 50
GM 9 15 13 13 — 50
EKM 16 18 18 14 — 66
GM — Hunter Gronneberg 14, Jayden Sherrard 9, Jaxon Gronneberg 9, Logan Topp 8, Tanner Haugen 6, Gabe Costello 2, Tavon Stadler 2. Totals: 16-40 FG, 6-19 3-pointers (Sherrard 3, J. Gronneberg 2, H. Gronneberg), 12-19 FT, 23 Rebounds (J. Gronneberg 4), 14 Fouls (Topp), 3 Assists (Topp 2), 15 Turnovers, 7 Steals (Topp 3).
EKM — Alex Huber 16, Chayse Entzi 14, Jorgen Paulson 12, Adam Nitschke 11, Dalton Madcke 7, Paxton Mathern 4, Lucas Rich 2. Totals: 28-53 FG, 3-8 3-pointers (Paulson, Madcke, Nitschke), 7-9 FT, 31 Rebounds (Entzi 10), 16 Fouls, 11 Assists (Madcke 5), 11 Turnovers, 1 Block (Entzi), 11 Steals (Huber 5).
Records: Edgeley/KM 19-2. Griggs-Midkota 5-17.
District 5 Awards
Ashton Biesterfeld, Oakes
Garret Meehl, Oakes
Steele Hansen, Oakes
Corban Potts, LaMoure/LM
Riley Thorpe, Ellendale
Scott Wagner, Ellendale
Alex Huber, Edgeley/KM
Paxton Mathern, Edgeley/KM
Tanner Haugen, Griggs-Midkota
Lucas Henderickson, Carrington
Max Fehr, BCN
Coach of the Year: Brian Vance, Ellendale
Senior Athlete of Year: Alex Huber, EKM
Region 3 Boys Basketball Tournament
At Jamestown Civic Center
G1: (D6-1) Linton/HMB vs. (D5-4) Ellendale, 3 p.m.
G2: (D5-2) LaMoure/LM vs. (D6-3) Strasburg/Zeeland, 4:30 p.m.
G3: (D5-1) Oakes vs. (D6-4) Napoleon/GS, 6 p.m.
G4: (D6-2) Kidder Co. vs. (D5-3) Edgeley/KM, 7:30 p.m.
G5: G1 winner vs. G2 winner, 6 p.m.
G6: G3 winner vs. G4 winner, 7:30 p.m.
Championship: G5 winner vs. G6 winner, 7 p.m.
District 5 Tournament
(Tournament seeding in parentheses)
At Jamestown Civic Center
G1: (4) LaMoure/LM 56, (5) Carrington 33
G2: (2) Ellendale 59, (7) Griggs/Midkota 39
G3: (3) Oakes 56, (6) BCN 38
G4: Griggs/Midkota 67, BCN 63 (OT)
G5: LaMoure/LM 49, (1) Edgeley/KM 46 (OT)
G6: Oakes 65, Ellendale 63 (OT)
Region 3 qualifier: Ellendale 70, Carrington 46
Region 3 qualifier: Edgeley/KM 66, Griggs-Midkota 50
Championship: Oakes 59, LaMoure/LM 49
District 6 Boys Basketball Tournament
At Wishek High School
(Tournament seeds in parentheses)
G1: (5) Napoleon/GS 56, (4) Medina/PB 47
G2: (3) Kidder Co. 58 (6) South Border 33
G3: (1) Linton/HMB 73, Napoleon/GS 35
G4: Kidder Co. 66, (2) Strasburg/Zeeland 57
Region 3 qualifier: Strasburg/Zeeland 60, Medina/PB 55
Region 3 qualifier: Napoleon/GS 54, South Border 40
Championship: Linton/HMB 55, Kidder Co. 41