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Flasher takes home Mandan tourney title

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Flasher forward Jace Friesz, right, shoots over a Glen Ullin-Hebron player during the first half of Wednesday night's championship game at the Mandan Holiday Tournament.

Three decades of persistence finally paid off for the Flasher Bulldogs on Dec. 29 at the Mandan High School gym as the eighth-ranked Class B team in the state claimed what is believed to be its first Mandan Holiday Tournament championship with a 64-45 win over Glen Ullin-Hebron.

Former coach Clyde Heinle said the team has been to every tournament since its inception in 1985 and said neither he nor current coach Brian Nieuwsma had ever won the tournament before.

“Not that … officially … we know,” Niuewsma said. “Since I’ve been coaching and Mr. Heinle’s been coaching, a lot of years, we haven’t.”

The Bulldogs improved to 7-0 on the season thanks to the three hot hands that carried them throughout the tournament. Sophomore Javin Friesz had 21 points, his brother, senior Jace Friesz, had 14 and Carter Bonogosky added another 14. They combined for 26 points in the second half.

“We played with a lot more energy in the second half. I thought we were a lot more aggressive and active on defense and took them out of what they wanted to do,” Nieuwsma said.

Flasher’s 14-10 lead after one quarter evaporated in the second thanks to a woeful shooting slump. The Bulldogs hit just three of 15 shots in the quarter and missed 11 of 12 attempts during one stretch.

The Bearcats, meanwhile, attacked the basket and hit six of 10 shots from the field in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs led 19-18 after Jace Friesz’s jumper with 4:25 left in the half. But Damian Gerving, who finished with 10 points, responded with a rebound and basket on the other end to give the Bearcats a lead. Kanyon Unruh’s 3-pointer the next trip down the floor gave the GUH its largest lead at 23-19 with 3:19 left in the half.

Jace Fiesz scored on a driving layup with five seconds left in the half to make it a two-point game.

Tyus Thomas had 10 of his 12 points at the break for GUH. But the team’s fortunes turned right away in the third quarter when the Bulldogs went on a 14-2 run. Joey Richter had a big hand in it, scoring six of his eight points in a span of two minutes.

The Bearcats scored just seven points in the third quarter. They turned the ball over eight times and took just seven shots. Gunnar Remboldt’s 3-pointer in the last minute kept their hopes alive for the time being.

“I think you had a mature team out there that’s been playing together for a long time,” Bearcats coach Greg Pruitt said. “We had a pretty good first half and knew we had to have a better second half and we just didn’t do it. They just put their foot on the gas pedal and we ran out of gas.”

A 12-2 Flasher run to open the fourth quarter pushed its lead to 20 points.

Remboldt and Ben Hosman each added 10 points for the Bearcats.

But the night belonged to the Bulldogs. Finally.

“I’m really proud of our guys for staying the course and finishing that second half today,” Nieuwsma said.

Tourney finishes

A high-scoring affair in the penultimate game of the evening went the way of Bottineau, as the Braves defeated the Mandan sophomore squad 80-74 to take the third-place title.

Carson Haerer had a tourney-high 42 points for Bottineau, and teammate Ryder Pollman dialed up 22 more. Hudsen Sheldon (18), Jayce Johnson (16), and Terry Brownotter (11) all put up double-digit points for Mandan.

The closest game of placement day came in the hunt for fifth, with New Salem-Almont riding a 17-point first quarter and 16-point fourth quarter to a 58-40 win over Linton-HMB.

It was another short scoring list for the Holsteins, with Wyatt and Weston Kuhn leading the way with 13 and 14 points apiece, respectively. Jace Jochim put home 14 for the Lions.

Bismarck's underclassmen team finally got off the schneid in the seventh-place game, as they shot home 12 three-pointers to win going away against Wilton-Wing, 84-53.

Just two players broke 10 points in the game, with Wilton-Wing's Cael Hilzendeger pounding home a game-high 24 and Jenner Smude leading a packed Bismarck scoring sheet with 19.

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