March 7, 2017

by Jeffrey Giuliani


Logan Larsen

Logan Larsen drives past Parshall’s Just Hart in a regular season game at WTCS.

Two weather postponements have left the eight teams vying for the Region 8 championship itching to play basketball.

Originally slated to begin Monday, a late winter storm smashed Williston, dropping upwards of 8 inches of snow.

The tournament opener was rescheduled to Tuesday, which was postponed once again as the roads leading to Williston were still dangerous.

Now, the opening round is scheduled to begin today at 3 p.m. in the Well at Williston State Colllege.

Here is a quick refresher on the four quarterfinal matchups.

Game 1: (1) Stanley vs. (4) Watford City

Watford City, a young team with few seniors, pulled an upset over North Shore in the district tournament to secure their spot in Region 8.

Meanwhile, Stanley shocked everyone at their district tournament when they knocked off perennial champion Kenmare in the title game to earn the first seed at regions.

Stanley and Watford City battled earlier this season, with the former taking a 74-45 win on Super Saturday in Ray.

Watch for a battle in the post between talented centers in Watford City’s Jadyn Ewing and Stanley’s Kaedyn Hanson.

Game 2: (2) Williston Trinity Christian School vs. (3) Powers Lake

 Two familiar foes battle once again in the second game of the tournament when the Crusaders take on the Ranchers.

Trinity Christian defeated Powers Lake in the quarterfinals of last year’s region tournament, and grabbed a 15 point win in the regular season this year.

But that has Crusaders head coach Jacob Braaten concerned his team might overlook the Ranchers. His goal is to ensure his squad doesn’t take anything for granted against the rival.

Forward Bremen Abuhl said Powers Lake brings a difficult offense to the table with five starters that can all shoot the three ball.

“They don’t want to lose to us again,” he said. 

Watch for the Ranchers to spread the court and force Trinity Christian’s star center Beau Skurdal to defend the perimeter.

Game 3: (1) Parshall vs. (4) Burke County

 The Titans face a tall task with the District 15 champion Braves, who boast a talented and deep roster.

They will have to find a way to contain star forward Deyondre Simpson, who can shoot the three and cause problems in the post.

Jelani Foote can also punish teams from behind the arc, as the Williston Trinity Christian Crusaders learned in the district title game when he hit 5 threes in the first half.

The Titans will have to avoid falling behind against the Braves, as playing catchup could be disastrous. 

Burke County won their district opener over Ray, lost in the semifinal to Kenmare, then took down Tioga 59-51 to advance.

Parshall stormed past the competition to win their district, taking down Trenton and New Town before holding off the Crusaders for the title.

Game 4: (2) Kenmare vs. (3) New Town

After being upset by Stanley in the District 16 final, the Honkers are now slotted against the high-flying Eagles in the region opening round.

New Town loves to shoot the three-pointer and push the ball up the court at a frantic pace. The Honkers will have to play tight defense against Chace Hale and Daniel LeBeau Jr., who punish teams when they get a chance behind the arc.

The Eagles narrowly beat feisty Watford City in their district opener, then lost to Parshall before winning fairly comfortably over Mandaree to advance.

The Honkers sport a pair of brothers who New Town will have to keep in check in Hunter and Jacob Rodin.

Hunter, a senior, is an all-around athlete that can shoot and drive. Jacob, a junior, is the taller of the two and can distribute the basketball from the post.