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Press Photo by Dustin Monke Beach junior center Landon Lechler, right, leaps to block a shot by Scranton senior Caleb Larson on Feb. 12 during the District 13 boys basketball tournament in Bowman. Lechler earned a Class B all-state second team nod in his first season playing varsity for Beach after transferring from Baker, Mont.

North Star duo leads Class B boys all-state team

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With the exception of North Star's 63-55 win against Grafton in the North Dakota Class B state championship game, no team came closer than 16 points to the undefeated Bearcats this season. That domination is reflected Class B boys all-state basketball team.

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North Star, located in Cando, landed two of the five players on the all-state first team, sophomore guard Jake Hagler and senior forward Grant Lindahl. The last time a team had two players on the B boys all-state first team was in the 2002-03 season, when undefeated (28-0) state champion Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesberg landed Craig Nelson and Kyle Nelson on the first team.

"Grant and Jake had a lot to do with our success," said North Star head coach Jeff Hagler, whose team finished 27-0. "The other kids had a huge part in it, too. But Jake and Grant were our team leaders."

Joining Hagler and Lindahl on the all-state first team are Berthold junior Dan Yale, Fargo Oak Grove senior Shayden Akason and Mr. Basketball award winner Philip Schanilec of Midway-Minto. The all-state team is selected by members of the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Lindahl, a Mr. Basketball finalist and the Region 4 senior player of the year, was an inside-outside threat. The 6-foot-7 Lindahl paced the Bearcats with averages of 20.8 points, 8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a game. He was also the team's perimeter sharpshooter, making 71 of 178 three-point attempts (40 percent).

"There aren't many 6-7 kids, especially in Class B, who can shoot from the outside," Jeff Hagler said. "Most big kids score 5 feet from the basket. Grant can post up, but he made almost half of his points from 20 feet from the basket. And he's not only a shooter; he's a tremendous passer. Defensively, he did a good job."

Jake Hagler, the coach's son, is a playmaker as well as a finisher. He was second on the team with an 18.4 scoring average while leading the team in assists. The sophomore had a 6.2-1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio.

"Jake's a pure point guard," Jeff Hagler said. "The ball was in his hands about 90 percent of the time. Any time he felt we were slipping a little, he took over. If he needed to score, he'd score. If he needed to get the ball to somebody else to score, he got them the ball. He just has good basketball knowledge."

The big scorer on the all-state team is Schanilec, a 5-11 guard. He averaged 31.5 points a game, with his 724 points boosting his career total to 2,046. Schanilec also averaged 7.2 rebounds, 4.5 steals and 3.1 assists.

"Phil's scoring ability was his greatest asset," Midway-Minto coach Shane Robinson said. "He knew he had to score for us to do well. He could hit the three (43-of-135) and pull up and hit a jumper. But his best ability was his quickness getting to the basket.

"But he's a true all-around player. His passing has been overlooked; he does that very well. His rebounding and his defense improved greatly this year. He became a shutdown defender this season."

Akason, the Region 1 senior player of the year and a Mr. Basketball finalist, led Oak Grove to its second straight berth in the Class B state tournament. He averaged 14.2 points as well as 6.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals.

"Shayden is a pure point guard," Oak Grove coach Kyle Card said. "The ball was in his hands just about all the time. He's a very good playmaker who knew when and how to get everyone involved in the offense. But at the end of a close game, Shayden would take over. He'd get into the lane and, if he didn't draw a foul, he'd make the basket. He liked that spotlight."

Yale's name is a familiar one on the all-state list. His older brother, Matt, was a first-team pick as a senior last season. The 6-3 Dan Yale expanded his game this season while averaging 15.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1 block a game.

"Dan started at center as a freshman and sophomore," Berthold coach Brock Teets said. "This year, he's played all five positions for us. He's a tremendous athlete who made huge strides in his all-around game. He's an excellent post player, a great outside shooter and he became an average ballhandler. Plus he's unselfish. He's a matchup nightmare for defenses."

Second-team all-state picks included:

-- Landon Lechler, Beach: The 6-7 junior post player, Lechler averaged 24 points, 14 rebounds and 3.5 blocks a game. He was a 65 percent shooter from the field. Lechler had transferred to Beach from Baker, Mont., this season. He had previously lived in the Beach area.

-- Mike Paulson, Hatton-Northwood: The 6-4 junior who averaged 22.4 points, 8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 steals.

-- Alex Baker, New Town: The senior had a team-best 20.1 scoring average for the New Town team that finished third at state. Baker also averaged 5.6 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

-- Evan Holt, Oak Grove: The senior led the Oak Grove team that finished fifth at state with averages of 18.3 points and 6.8 rebounds while also averaging 2.2 assists.

-- Trey Jacobson, Watford City: The 5-11 senior guard, Jacobson averaged 16.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 5.7 steals. He was the Region 8 senior player of the year.

-- Ben Magnuson, Minot Ryan: The senior long-range sharpshooter led the Lions to a sixth-place finish at state. Magnuson averaged 14.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.3 steals. He was 80-of-158 on 3-point attempts.

-- Easton Page, Carrington: The versatile senior averaged 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3.4 steals per game. He shot 53 percent from the field.

-- Jeff Rasmussen, Washburn: The 5-10 senior guard, Rasmussen averaged 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. He made 57 three-point shots. He was the Region 5 senior player of the year.

-- Tanner White, Ellendale: The 6-3 senior guard, White averaged 23.3 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals. He was the Region 3 senior player of the year.

-- Mike Young Bird, New Town: The 6-4 senior had averages of 17 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the Region 8-champion Eagles.

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