Mar. 2—The Jamestown Civic Center became Garret Meehl's home away from home during this season's District 5 boys basketball tournament.
Two nights after scoring the game-winning jumper at the buzzer in overtime on semifinal night, the Oakes senior put away Monday's championship facing LaMoure/Litchville-Marion with a fourth-quarter 3-pointer that splashed home from left of the circle with 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining.
The shot highlighted a 25-point night for Meehl, as Oakes defeated LLM 59-49 to win its first district tournament title since defeating the same Loboes in 2015.
"There's nothing quite like playing at home," Meehl said in comparison to the civic center. "But it's nice to get into some big games and take some shots that mean something."
Next Monday's Region 3 tournament back at the civic center will begin with District 6 champion Linton/HMB playing Ellendale at 3 p.m., with LLM facing Strasburg/Zeeland, Oakes facing Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter and Kidder County facing Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier to follow.
Oakes looked as if it would run away with the District 5 title in the first quarter. Meehl buried three consecutive 3-pointers to help the Tornadoes lead 15-9 after the opening eight minutes.
But after pulling ahead by eight at 19-11 early in the second, the Loboes got rolling. Sophomore Colten Ness worked around Oakes' 6-foot-4 Ashton Biesterfeld in the post to score four of his 11 and a Landon Piehl 3-pointer highlighted a Loboes' 10-2 run that tied the score at 21-21 with 2:30 to play in the half.
Oakes clung to a 26-24 lead at the break and a 39-38 advantage through three quarters. Piehl got loose for four 3-pointers in the game, including two in the third, part of an issue on the perimeter that kept Oakes from separating the score.
"When they tried to go inside on us, we tried to double on that and we should've let Beast (Biesterfeld) do his thing down there," explained Oakes coach Rod Kramer, a former assistant under LLM head coach Darren Thielges. "We were helping too much on that and let them get back in the game. But that's a great team. They play a good defense, they shoot the ball well and do all the little fundamentals right."
But overall, the Loboes were unable to muster enough offense. LLM converted 19 of 53 shots from the field for 36% and was led by Piehl's 15 and 14 more from Corban Potts.
A Potts triple with two minutes to play got the Loboes to within three at 52-49, but 33 seconds later came Meehl's dagger. A couple of key misses earlier down the stretch by the Loboes in the fourth were difference makers.
"I thought there were a couple that were almost down, too. Max (Musland) had a couple, Carter (Bowman) had a couple," said coach Thielges. "You hit two more of those and it changes the complexion of the game. Then Meehl hit a big one, and that's the way it goes."
Meehl, an all-state quarterback for Oakes who's committed to play football at MSU-Moorhead, stuffed the stat sheet with seven rebounds, seven assists, and four steals, to go along with his 25 points.
"He is the quarterback for our team," Kramer said. "When he goes, we go."
The Loboes (15-7), who start three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman, are as physical as any team in the region and are far from finished. They remember the last time Oakes beat them for the district title.
"Oakes beat us in the championship and we got to meet them again in the regional championship and we ended up winning that one," Thielges said. "I think our guys are trending in the right direction. We're here now and we gotta take that one next step, and we have time. We get a week to prepare.
"We've got a carrot out in front of us, I guess, and we're gonna chase it."
Oakes cruised past Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter — Monday's opponent — by 38 back in January. But that was then.
"You can't overlook anybody in the region tournament. Obviously, anybody can win on any night," Meehl said. "Just move the ball as a team. Find the open man, like we always do. Work the ball around, get a good shot."
That's when coach Kramer said Oakes is at its best.
"When we try to shoot with teams on the outside, that's when we struggle," Kramer said. "When teams make a run on us we just gotta focus on what we do best ... working the ball around and getting good shots."
Oakes 59, LaMoure/Litchville-Marion 49
OAK 15 11 13 20 — 59
LLM 9 15 14 11 — 49
OAK — Garret Meehl 25, Ashton Bieterfeld 14, Dalton Schmit 11, Steele Hansen 9. Totals: 22-41 FG, 5-13 3-pointers (Meehl 4, Schmit), 10-17 FT, 27 Rebounds (Hansen 8, Biesterfeld 8, Meehl 7), 11 Fouls, 13 Assists (Meehl 7), 12 Turnovers, 2 Blocks (Biesterfeld 2), 5 Steals (Meehl 4).
LLM — Landon Piehl 15, Corban Potts 14, Colton Ness 11, Carter Bowman 9. Totals: 15-53 FG, 7-23 3-pointers (Piehl 4, Potts, Bowman), 4-5 FT, 26 Rebounds (Ness 7), 16 Fouls, 4 Assists (Potts 3), 12 Turnovers, 5 Steals (Charlie Bowman 2, Potts 2).
Records: Oakes 16-6. LaMoure/LM 15-7.
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