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Carrington crushes Cavalier

MINOT -- In their starting lineups, Carrington had a height advantage over Cavalier at almost every position.

With a berth in the state championship game on the line, however, Carrington didn't win just with its size. The Cardinals' distance -- from a shooting standpoint -- set the tone on their way to the title game.

Carrington put on a long-range shooting clinic here Friday in defeating Cavalier 67-35 in the semifinals of the Class B boys basketball state tournament.

The Cardinals will meet Berthold, a 63-47 semifinal winner over Kidder County, in tonight's state championship game at 7:15 p.m. Cavalier plays Kidder County in the 6 p.m. third-place game.

Carrington played a game of Around the World with its 3-point sharpshooting. In the first half, Carrington was 12-of-19 from the field; seven of those baskets were on 3-point attempts. Four players -- Kaleb Klein, Jackson Unruh, Easton Page and Jacob Nelson -- all hit treys.

They came out looking deep. The Cardinals hit six field goals in the opening 6 minutes. All of them were 3-pointers. The last two, by Nelson and Unruh, sparked a 13-2 run to open the second quarter, allowing Carrington to expand its lead from 13-11 after one quarter to 26-13 with 3:22 left in the first half. The Cardinals were 7-of-10 from behind the 3-point line in the half.

"We were expecting them to pound the ball inside," Cavalier coach Keith Hartz said. "We weren't expecting that kind of shooting. Their coach told me after the game they haven't shot like that all year.

"We had to get out of our zone and go man-to-man. We couldn't let them keep shooting open shots from the outside. Then they fed it inside to (Devin) Barton in the second half and he took over."

Carrington coach Nate Monson said the sharpshooting wasn't totally out of the ordinary.

"We expected the zone after watching Barton tear Mandaree apart (in the quarterfinals)," Monson said. "Kaleb's had about seven games this season where he's started like that."

Carrington extended that lead to 31-15 before Cavalier closed the quarter on 7-2 run, four of the points on Brennan Thorlakson layups off turnovers, as the Tornadoes closed to within 33-22 at halftime.

Cavalier got within 33-24 when Brady Robbins hit the first field goal of the second half. Then Carrington's defense took over. Carrington outscored Cavalier 17-2 for the remainder of the quarter. After Robbins' field goal, the Tornadoes went 10 minutes and 17 seconds without a field goal. Robbins broke the shooting dry spell with a layup with 4:59 left in the game, at which time the Tornadoes trailed 58-29.

"Our plan was to chase (Chase) Monson on Brandon Chrest," Nate Monson said. "He's vertically challenged compared to Chrest, but he did a good job. We used Devin as a rover (in the middle) and it worked well for us."

Cavalier was only 4-of-25 from the field in the second half.

"They played good defense, and our shooting was way off," Hartz said. "We had opportunities. We just couldn't drop the shots. We've struggled offensively at times this year, but never like that."

While Carrington broke the game open early with its long-range accuracy, the 6-foot-6 Barton paced the Cardinals' offense. The University of North Dakota football recruit had a double-double, registering 16 points and 12 rebounds. Unruh added 13 points in a balanced Cardinals attack.

Cavalier, which was held to its lowest point total of the season -- the previous low had been 42 points -- was paced by Robbins' 11 points.

Greg DeVillers is a writer for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.

Carrington 13 33 50 67

Cavalier 11 22 26 35

CARRINGTON (25-2): Nelson 2-4 0-0 5, Collins 3-5 0-0 6, Klein 3-3 0-2 9, Page 2-7 2-2 7, Unruh 3-8 5-6 13, Monson 3-4 0-0 6, Boehmer 0-0 0-2 0, Engelhorn 1-1 0-0 3, Burnham 0-0 2-2 2, Barton 7-9 2-4 16. Totals: 24-41 11-18 67.

CAVALIER (18-8: Deraas 0-1 0-0 0, Robbins 3-10 5-12 11, Smith 0-0 1-2 1, Brevik 1-3 0-0 2, Chrest 2-8 4-6 8, B.Thorlakson 2-9 1-2 5, Hartz 0-1 0-0 0, Trosen 0-1 0-0 0, G.Thorlakson 0-1 0-0 0, Ratchenski 1-1 0-0 3, Friedt 1-1 0-0 2, Karel 0-2 0-0 0, Mack 1-7 1-2 3, Bigwood 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 11-47 12-24 35.

3-pointers: Nelson, Klein 3, Page, Unruh 2, Engelhorn, Ratchenski. Rebounds: Carrington 31 (Barton 14), Cavalier 32 (Chrest 11). Assists: Carrington 17 (Unruh 5), Cavalier 6 (Robbins 2). Total fouls: Carrington 16, Cavalier 18.