MINOT – Before 2019, Shiloh Christian played in the Class B boys basketball state tournament 12 times, and never once reached the championship game.
The 13th time was the charm.
No. 2-seeded Shiloh defeated No. 3 Richland 64-51 Friday night at the Minot State University Dome to advance to the state championship game for the first time in school history. The Skyhawks, 23-3, will take on No. 1 Thompson, 25-1, tonight, with both teams going for a first state title in boys basketball. In fact, Shiloh has never won a team state title in boy athletics.
“Making it to the state championship game is very exciting for our program and our school. It’s been our goal all season long, and now we have a chance to do something that no other Shiloh boys team has ever done,” said Shiloh coach Brad Miller. “We’ve beaten two good teams to get this far, and we’ll have to beat another (Saturday). Hopefully, we’ll have enough energy to get one more win.”
Three-point shooting was the difference in this game. The Skyhawks went an astounding 14-for-33 from beyond the arc while the Colts went 4-for-15. That’s a 42-12 advantage in points. Starting guard Canaan Fagerland drained six 3-pointers, and Cole Walth came off the bench to do the same.
Miller said the Skyhawks normally don’t put up 30-plus shots from 3-point land, but Richland’s zone defense opened the door.
“Richland is a zone team and we knew they were going to pack it in and try to stop (6-foot-9) Macauley (Young) and our inside game. I told the kids that if they go out and keep moving the ball around, the open shots would be there, and there were a lot of them,” the Shiloh coach said. “We have a lot of kids who can make shots from out there and we’ve been shooting the ball well the last few weeks. What we did tonight was no surprise to me.”
Fagerland, a 5-foot-9 senior, made six of 13 3-point shots, while Walth, a 5-11 junior, missed just twice from long range.
“Canaan had a great game, offensively. He’s been a terrific player for us all season,” Miller said. “Cole gave us a huge spark off the bench. He’s really come on strong the last few weeks. We couldn’t have asked for more.”
The Skyhawks led 27-23 at halftime on the strength of 7-for-17 shooting from the 3-point stripe. The second of Walth’s three first-half treys broke a 19-19 tie, and the third gave the Skyhawks a 27-21 lead.
Shiloh’s second-quarter defense was impressive. After allowing 16 first-quarter points, the Skyhawks held the Colts to three field goals and a free throw in the next eight minutes.
“Richland is a great team. They’re quick and they can score a lot of points,” Miller said. “We kind of got off to a slow start, defensively, but we really stepped up in the second quarter and made stops. Because of that we were able to take a lead into halftime. We are a good defensive team. We played good defense in the district and region tournaments, and we started off this tournament with a very good defensive effort.”
The Colts twice got within one (29-28 and 31-30) in the third quarter, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Fagerland and Walth made it 37-30 Shiloh with 2:28 remaining. After a basket by Richland’s Cole Myers, Fagerland sank a 3-pointer to extend the Skyhawks’ lead to eight, 40-32.
Richland scored five quick points before Fagerland closed out the third-quarter scoring with his fifth 3-pointer.
The Colts narrowed the margin to five points, 44-39, early in the third quarter, but the Skyhawks took command with an 11-2 run that included two Walth 3-pointers, and Fagerland’s sixth trey. The Fagerland 3-pointer gave Shiloh a 55-41 lead with 3:17 remaining.
Young added 13 points and 25 rebounds for the Skyhawks, who had a 47-31 advantage on the boards.
Myers, Carter Lingen and Gavin Reiland netted 18, 14 and 11 points, respectively, to lead the Colts.
Thompson 68, Ryan 65, OT
Cadyn Schwabe went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 19.6 seconds of overtime to propel Thompson to a 68-65 victory over Minot Ryan in the other semifinal.
The two teams traded baskets early in the overtime, but after six empty possessions, Logan Merck put the Lions up 65-63 with a layup with 1:23 remaining. A Pierce Cooper free throw 25 seconds later cut the deficit in half, and after a Ryan miss, Schwabe stepped up to the line with 19.6 seconds left and netted two charity tosses, giving the Tommies a 66-65 lead.
Later, a 15-foot jumper by Ryan’s Ben Bohl with six seconds remaining missed the mark, and Thompson’s Jacob Dick came away with the rebound. Dick passed the ball to Schwabe, who was fouled with 4.1 seconds left. The senior then went 2-for-2 from the line to make it 68-65. After a Ryan timeout, Thompson’s Hayden Overby intercepted the inbounds pass near midcourt, sealing the victory.
Schwabe finished with 22 points, and Overby added 21 tallies and 10 rebounds.
Overby’s putback basket with 1:30 remaining in regulation tied the game at 61-61. After misses by Ryan and Thompson, the Lions took possession of the ball with 38 seconds left. Bohl worked the clock down before missing a 15-footer with five seconds remaining. Thompson rebounded, but didn’t get a chance to put up a shot before time expired.
The Tommies led 30-28 at halftime, but Ryan led 44-38 midway through the third quarter following a 16-8 run that included seven points apiece by Bohl and Mason Hedberg. Thompson surged ahead 49-48, but the Lions carried a 51-49 lead into the final eight minutes after a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Bohl.
Bohl and Hedberg both finished with 23 points. Chinaza Udekwe added 15.
Chad Morsette, Beulah’s leading scorer, went 1-for-9 from the floor in Thursday’s 54-46 quarterfinal loss to Shiloh Christian.
One day later, the senior guard was back to his old self.
Morsette scored 21 points on 9-for-17 shooting and collected 11 rebounds to lead the Miners to a 71-44 consolation semifinal victory over Powers Lake. He scored 17 points in the first half as Beulah built a 36-22 advantage.
Sean Gierke and Trey Brandt tossed in 13 points apiece and Jonah Larson added 11 for the Miners, who carried a 49-32 lead into the final eight minutes.
Kyle VanBerkom led the Ranchers with 14 points.
In the other consolation semifinal, Ted Allmaras scored 17 points and dished out five assists to help lead New Rockford-Sheyenne to a 59-55 victory over Ellendale.
The Rockets trailed 23-21 at halftime, but took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Cardinals 17-9.
Bo Belquist and Parker Granger tallied 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Rockets.
Austin Molan topped the Cardinals with 16. Scott Wagner contributed 11 points and 14 rebounds.