North Border Defeats Minot Bishop Ryan for Third
North Border's Mike Smith(11), shoots for two after grabbing a rebound in North Borders 58-56 win over Minot Bishop Ryan for third place in the North Dakota State Class B Basketball Tourney. Photo courtesy of NDHSAA
North Dakota Class B Tourney link with statistics from all North Border games, awards and hundreds of photos.
Class B Tourney Link
Nathaniel Packineau (unanimous)** Tournament MVP ** Parshall
Tanner Friesen (unanimous) Shiloh Christian
Jamie Mauch (unanimous) Hankinson
Austin Vetter (unanimous) Bishop Ryan
Tony Ironheart Four Winds
Beau Sizer Barnes County North
Michael Mathison North Border
Mark Keithley Trinity
Rudy Young Bird Parshall
Jordan Rising Trinity
Pep Rally Overall Award - North Border
North Border hangs on
By STEVETHOMAS BismarckTribune
With a 22-6 record and a third-place finish in the state Class Atournament, it's been a pretty good season for North Border.But junior guard Tanner Carpenter concedes the Eagles have made things harder on coach Dave Symington than need be."We've played like that a lot this year," Carpenter said after North Border edged Minot Ryan 58-56 in Saturday's third-place game at the state Class B boys basketball tournament. "We never really put teams away, but we keep working hard at the end and finish."
That, in a nutshell, is the story of the tournament's penultimate game at the Bismarck Civic Center.North Border took the lead for keeps at 29-28 on Carpenter's 3-pointer with a minute to go in the first half. Still, the final 17 minutes were anything but a day at the beach for the Eagles.
It appeared North Border might be ready to put the game away when 6-10 senior MichaelMathison scored on a nice inside move to make it 47-37 with 5:36 to play.
But Ryan was not about to go belly-up. The Lions promptly launched a 13-6 run, cutting the deficit to 53-50 on a nifty three-point play by Brooks Backes with 1:17 to play.Two free throws by Carpenter and a fast break basket by Dustyn Chale increased the North Border lead to 57-50 - temporarily. Baskets byBackes and 6-4 junior post Austin Vetter enabled Ryan to pull within three at 57-54 with :17 to go.
Ryan's last gasp came on a field goal by Blake Eggl with :06 left, but North Border managed to kill the clock, two missed free throws by Chale notwithstanding.With Backes scoring seven points and Matt Mueller adding six, Ryan outscored North Border 21-16 in the fourth quarter.
Minot Ryan coach Scott Medalen praised his team for continuing the fight when all appeared lost."With a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter and the shots not falling it would have been easy to mail it in ... but we hung in there," Medalen said.Backes took game scoring honors with 21. Vetter added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Mueller had 13 points.Carpenter's 14 paced North Border.
Mike Smith, a 6-4 sophomore, came off the bench to score 13 points and grab 12 rebounds. Mathison and Nick Chaput finished with 10 points each.Shooting woes doomed Ryan's hopes. The Lions connected at just a 24 percent pace from the floor in the second half and 28 percent for the game. North Border hit 43 percent of his shots."There were times this year where we did that - just struggled putting the ball in the hole. You've got to make shots,"Medalen said.
In consolation games there's always the danger of a team coming out flat, but Carpenter said that would have been out of character for the Eagles. "We knew we had to come out fast. We wanted to win going out," he said. "...Everyone was ready to go. We were ready to work hard. There's nothing better."Mostly, the game was about having fun, according to Carpenter."We wanted to go out and have a blast,"he said. "It would have been better to be in the title game, but this is a great way to go out."
North Border 12 18 12 16 58
Minot Ryan 13 15 7 21 56
North Border - Daniel Gunderson 2, Michael Mathison 10, Mike Smith 13, Nick Chaput 10, Dustyn Chale 6, Tanner Carpenter 14, Paul Meyer 3
Minot Ryan - Blake Eggl 2, Matt Mueller 13, Matt Burckhard 2, Brooks Backes 21, Austin Vetter 16, Donald Allard 2
Making a name for himself
By CINDY PETERSON Bismarck Tribune
The door to the hotel room was decorated with art work that showed support for the North Border boys basketball team.
A sign was made for each player who occupied the room - Nick Chaput, Byron Shablow and "Big Mike."That's what North Border's 6-foot-10, 255 pound center Michael Mathison is simply known as - "Big Mike."The senior from Walhalla made a splash during Thursday's quarterfinal round of the Class B state tournament with 15 points and 15 rebounds in a victory over Shiloh Christian. In a semifinal loss to Parshall, Mathison had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Playing in a state tournament is a new experience for Mathison. But being a full-time varsity starter is something Mathison needed to get accustomed to this year. He was a late bloomer in basketball."It took me awhile to get in the groove," Mathison said. "I didn't reach my height until a year ago. I didn't know what I should be working on."Mathison started playing basketball in third grade but never focused on developing his skills.
But through the years, Mathison grew, grew and grew some more.He stood 6-3 as a freshman, 6-5 as a sophomore and 6-7 as a junior. He believes his growth spurt is complete.As a sophomore, Mathison just wanted to get better at the game. He approached North Border coach Dave "Cooter" Symington about developing his skills. Symington found Mathison to be a quick learner."I was tickled pink he asked for help," Symington said. "I knew if he put time in, he could be a huge factor for our team."Symington saw a big, strong kid who held a lot of raw talent.
Mathison played on the C squad as a sophomore, and after working for a week on his skills, saw playing time on the B squad. He helped the C squad finish the season unbeaten.Last season he played primarily on the B squad and led it to an undefeated season.
This season, as a full-time varsity starter, he came into the tourney averaging 11.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks a game.Mathison continued to study the fundamentals of basketball, such as boxing out, shooting and improving his footwork."We couldn't believe how he showed a big improvement after all those drills within only a couple of days," Symington said. "The other team has to worry about his presence.
He directs some (attention on defense). If a team has to put one big guy on him, that helps out Paul Meyer."Since Mathison didn't focus on his game at an early age, he found himself lacking in fundamental skills that other players possessed. He agreed that his turnaround jump shot was an eyesore. After playing on a travel team this past summer, Mathison broke out of his shell."The travel team helped me a lot," Mathison said. "All summer I played against the top athletes from other states."
The fact that Mathison cracked the starting lineup on a team that qualified for the state tournament is the most thrilling part for him."Being one of the top eight teams in Class B is a goal itself," Mathison said. "Every game we win is just more icing on the cake."
Mathison hasn't decided where he will attend college, what he will major in or if he will continue his basketball career at the collegiate level.Symington said he has gotten some inquires about Mathison from colleges.If Mathison plays at the next level, Symington recommends a redshirt season and believes his best years are yet to come."He would have better equipment and drills," Symington said. "His coaches would know more than what we know, and that will help him."
Mathison isn't too hurried to make a decision. He's enjoying the spotlight of the Class B state tournament."Without the support of the community, fans and players this wouldn't have come true, this season," Mathison said.
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