Burros Bury FW-M at the Buzzer

When I was in sixth grade I hit a game-winning 3-pointer from the same spot on the court that Kyle Henningsgard nailed his from.

The difference between the two was that his game-winner was for Hillsboro-Central Valley’s first ever Class B state title. Mine was for a first-place finish at a Grand Am tournament.

The senior guard ran off a Jack Camrud screen to the right side with under 10 seconds to play but had the basketball poked out of his right hand from behind.

Luckily, the basketball ended up in Austin Reed’s hand on the right wing.

As three Four Winds-Minnewaukan players surrounded Reed and the ball, Henningsgard stood in the corner all alone.

Reed found him and Henningsgard’s shot left his hands with 2.5 seconds left on the game clock, and with 0.9 seconds it swished through the net lifting H-CV over the Indians 63-60 in Saturday’s 2017 North Dakota Class B state tournament in Minot, N.D.

“It felt like slow motion just sitting there with that ball,” Henningsgard said about the final possession. “I knew there wasn’t much time so I had to put it up and it went down and just a roller coaster of emotions after that.”

The No. 1 seed and defending Class B champions led for most of the game and had a seven-point lead with 6:08 left in regulation but couldn’t cage the Henningsgard monster in the fourth quarter.

The senior guard finished with 15 points as 11 of them came in the fourth quarter.

He started the game 1 for 13 but connected on 4 of his final 6 baskets.

“Obviously you don’t want to give up,” Henningsgard said about his performance. “They (FW-M) are a great basketball team but I don’t know, I guess I flipped a switch or something because it was going down and I was confident.”

“Everything you dream about as a kid,” he added. “I’m just living the dream right now, it’s unreal, it doesn’t even feel real right now.”

Two days later and I still don’t believe that’s how the game ended.

It was my first time covering the Class B state tournament and I was treated like a king.

There are millions of journalists out there that would do almost anything to cover a championship game that ends on a buzzer-beater.

Big games like the Class B state tournament one can be career moving.

In the last few year’s I’ve covered two FCS championship games, two Summit League title contests and a Class B state tournament.

As my roommate said, “Pace, you are one lucky bastard.”

 

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First Day at the “B”

Yesterday was my first time covering the North Dakota Class B state tournament and it didn’t disappoint.

I witnessed a buzzer beater, a blowout and two fairly close games in four quarterfinal games at the Minot State Dome.

Ellendale knocked off No. 2 seed Dickinson Trinity, 41-39 after a Brennen Vance 3-pointer from the right wing and will face a No. 3 seed Hillsboro-Central Valley team that torched Turtle Lake-Mercer/McClusky 57-32 Thursday afternoon.

H-CV walking back to its bench after the starters were announced Thursday afternoon.

I ‘d rank the night games 6 out of 10 on the excitement scale.

The reigning champions Four Winds-Minnewaukan looked like they were going to blowout Stanley after taking a 29-14 first quarter lead but the Blue Jays weren’t going to let that happen.

Stanley outscored the Indians 50-41 in the final three quarters and if they hadn’t let FW-M score the first 11 points of the contest, a different team would’ve advanced to the semifinals.

The late game was between No. 4 seed Oak Grove and No. 5 seed Bishop Ryan.

The Grovers outscored the Lions 36-17 in the middle quarters and shot 70 percent from beyond the arc in their 66-60 win.

The MSU Dome looks old on the inside but I like it.

It’s not so bright and I like that even though the Banner’s photo editor hates it. Tough to take pictures when the lighting isn’t perfect.

Weird things I saw at the “B”

– A guy (not sure if he was an assistant coach or just a big fan) on the TLMM bench was wearing zumba’s and Z-coil shoes.

– I saw a player almost finish at the rim with a dunk and that’s weird because I don’t see a lot of kids from Class B schools throw it down.

– I saw three players that were under 5-foot-8 and if I wouldn’t have looked at TLMM’s roster I would’ve guessed they were under 5-foot-2.

The Winning Charm

I’ve been working at the Hillsboro Banner as the sports editor for just over two months.

Its been wonderful and the Banner staff is the best I’ve ever worked with.

Alyssa, our account manager makes the best chili I’ve ever had; sorry mom, just too many beans.

Cole, the boss man, is awesome. Even when I don’t ask for chocolate milk and Cheez-It Grooves he’ll bring me some back from Dale’s anyway.

Thank you for hiring me at a sushi restaurant.

Cory is a hoot and a great photographer. However, he is always blaming other people for misplacing his Mountain Dew.

My buddies call me weird for watching Twitch but Cory and Cole understand why it’s so fun and weird to watch someone else play a video game.

Working for the Banner is my first job out of college even though I graduated last May and I wouldn’t want to work for anyone else right out of college.

Sometimes, they joke that I haven’t quit or maybe they are being serious but I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

Heck, in the two months that I’ve been here the Hillsboro-Central Valley boys and girls basketball team’s are a combined 26-3.

Yes, the girls got knocked out in the quarterfinal round against Grafton in the Region 2 tournament but after starting the season 1-5 with a new coach, they won 14 of their final 17.

It was a successful season after winning just five games in 2015-16.

The boys are headed to the 2017 North Dakota Class B state tournament for the first time in 18 years and the first time ever as the H-CV co-op.

I’m a lucky man. Wherever I go it seems that teams win.

Rewind the clock a year or two back. My senior year at North Dakota State, I covered the Bison win their fifth FCS championship in Frisco, Tx., and I covered NDSU men’s basketball team win a Summit League tournament title.

My first year out of college the Bison fail to make it to the FCS title game and the men’s basketball team couldn’t even make it out of the quarterfinal round in Sioux Falls, S.D.

I must be the good luck charm because in a day I’ll be covering the Burros at the state tournament.

I’ve heard that the Class B tournament is North Dakota’s most impressive high school sporting event but never actually experienced it.

Three days in Minot sounds gross but sounds a lot better when you throw in three full days of basketball inside the Minot State Dome.

The Burros received the No. 3 seed and will play Turtle Lake-Mercer/McClusky (17-7) at 2:45 p.m., Thursday.

“This year the stats show that we’ve got so many guys averaging so many points and so many guys can score at any different time,” senior guard Austin Reed said after Monday’s practice. “Jack (Camrud) is a beast on the boards, I’ve always tried to be aggressive on them and we board the ball well offensively and defensively.”

“Just to cap it off with a trip to the (Class) B (tournament) and have a chance to win it, that’s awesome.”