Josh Lardy was feeling it Monday night.
With Shiloh Christian star big man Macauley Young sidelined due to an early-game sprained ankle, Lardy had to pick it up in the post against New Salem-Almont's beefy front line.
Lardy came through with nine points and the Skyhawks' defense stiffened late to churn out a 54-41 win over the Holsteins in the District 9 tournament title game at Mandan High School.
"I'm tired. I don't usually play that much in the post," said Lardy, a 6-foot-2 junior. "I'm beat. It was physical in there, kinda like a football game."
These two teams know each very well for that sport, too, but it was the fifth-ranked Skyhawks who came out on top on the hardwood.
"They're big and after Macauley went down right away, they were bigger than us," Shiloh coach Brad Miller said. "Both teams know each other so well and I thought the defense both teams played was terrific."
The Holsteins made things interesting late, cutting a one-time 16-point deficit (36-22) down to 42-36 with six minutes to play on a jumper from Evan Henke.
But with three minutes left, Henke was whistled for his fifth foul and the Holsteins struggled down the stretch.
"Our kids compete, they fight hard, that's just how they are," New Salem-Almont coach Ben Kringstad said. "We just struggled to finish at the rim and we had some untimely turnovers down the stretch.
"Shiloh's good, obviously, but our kids battled tonight. I'm really proud of them."
The Skyhawks sprinted to an early 8-0 lead and sank six 3-pointers in the first half, four by Canaan Fagerland.
When Fagerland knocked down an early third-quarter 15-footer, Shiloh seemed in command at 36-22.
The Holsteins chipped away and had it to single digits early in the fourth quarter.
"We knew they were going to give us everything they had. They know us really well and we know them," Lardy said. "It's tournament time. You know it's going to be like this."
Fagerland led all scorers in the game with 21 points. Jaden Mitzel added 15 for the 18-3 Skyhawks.
Miller said the 6-foot-9 Young probably could have returned had it been a state-tournament game, but there was no need to push the envelope with both teams already having sealed spots in the Region 5 tournament at the Bismarck Event Center.
Henke led the Holsteins with 15 points before fouling out. Logan Becker was also in double figures with 10.
"These are fun games to play in and I thought we did a lot of really good things tonight," Kringstad said. "We have a week to clean some stuff up and then come back here and be ready to roll. We're excited. It's a fun time of year for sure."
FLASHER 53, STANDING ROCK 39
Flasher outscored Standing Rock 35-15 in the second half to rally for a 53-39 victory in the first region qualifier on Monday.
The Bulldogs, who made 22 of 29 free throws in the contest, trailed 24-18 at the break.
Jaron Reis topped Flasher with 15 points. Hunter Frederick added 12.
Standing Rock was led by Ghavin Willard and Tristan Whitewater with 11 points each.
GRANT COUNTY 61, SOLEN 33
Nathan Bren poured in 23 points to lead Grant County over Solen in the second region qualifier at Mandan High.
Up 12-9 after one quarter, the Coytes outscored Solen 49-24 over the final three quarters.
Nathan Roth added 15 points, nine coming on 3-pointers, for Grant County.
Solen was topped by Ezekiel Tiger’s 11 points.