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North Stars hits buzzer beater to defeat Beulah

FNS Photo by John Stennes Beulah’s Cole Messerschmidt pulls down a rebound in a quarterfinal game against North Star during the North Dakota Class B basketball tournament on Thursday in Grand Forks.

GRAND FORKS — North Star’s iron five is in the final four.

North Star’s starting lineup played all but 2 minutes and 44 seconds Thursday. The Bearcats had enough energy to edge Beulah 52-50 in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B boys high school basketball tournament.

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Christian Kvilvang just beat the buzzer with a layup for the winning points.

“We’ve done that pretty much all year,” North Star coach Jeff Hagler said of the heavy workload for his starters. “Teams have tried to wear us down. And we are pretty exhausted. But these kids find a way.”

Beulah had pulled even with nine seconds left when Cole Messerschmidt hit a 3-point shot from the right wing.

The inbounds went to Kvilvang. The 6-foot-5 junior drove the length of the court, shifting from the left sideline into the lane. He banked in his game-winning layup with less than a second on the clock.

“When I got to halfcourt and saw there were only five seconds left, I knew either I was taking the last shot or we were going into overtime,” Kvilvang said. “Beulah is such a great defensive team. It would have taken too long to find somebody else open. And I want that shot.”

Kvilvang was the only starter who didn’t play the entire game. He saw for the first 2:44 of the fourth quarter, with Austin States filling in.

Beulah led only once in the second half, at 36-35 after Messerschmidt hit back-to-back treys. “At that point, I was wondering if we were tired,” Hagler said.

But the Bearcats answered with a quarter-ending 6-0 run.

Beulah cut the deficit to 45-44 with Kvilvang sitting. When he re-entered, Kvilvang scored on a 3-point play and Alex Weston hit a pair of free throws to push the Bearcats back ahead 50-44. But Messerschmidt’s trey capped a 6-0 Miners run to tie the score.

Messerschmidt finished with 22 points, including 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range. “Since the start of the region tournament, he’s been shooting like that,” Beulah coach Jeremy Brandt said. “He’s capable of that.”

Casey Walcker added 11 points for the Miners.

Kvilvang’s 24 points on 9 of 15 shooting paced the Bearcats, with Weston adding 11 points.

“They have some amazing shooters,” Brandt said. “We knew they were good shooters. We felt we had them well defensed. Hats off to them.”