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LaMoure-LM rallies past Dickinson Trinity 52-49

FNS Photo by Kevin Cederstrom Dickinson Trinity senior Jacob Volk, back right, takes a shot over LaMoure-Litchville-Marion defender Brady Thielges during the North Dakota Class B state tournament quarterfinals at the Minot State Dome.1 / 2
Photo by Kevin Cederstro / Forum News Service Dickinson Trinity fans Mason Heth, left, and Bob White cheer on the Titans in front of the student section during the state quarterfinal game.2 / 2

MINOT -- Despite his team being incredibly undersized, LaMoure-Litchville-Marion boys basketball coach Darren Thielges refused to play zone against Dickinson Trinity in the opening round of the Class B state tournament.

"I talked to coaches and they said, 'You're gonna have to zone them,'" Thielges said. "I thought about and we talked about it, and I said, 'That's not who we are. We're a man-to-man team.'"

The decision immediately paid dividends as the 10th-ranked Loboes built a big lead, eventually knocking off third-ranked Trinity 52-49 at the Minot State University Dome. L-L-M (22-2) meets Milnor in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. today while Trinity faces Shiloh Christian at noon in the consolation semifinals.

"We thought they would (play man)," Trinity head coach Gregg Grinsteinner said. "That was their best defense. ... The first half we got outworked in every aspect of the game."

With four players in the starting lineup 6-foot-3 or taller including 6-7 post Jesse Kubik -- a North Dakota State football signee -- the Titans (22-3) appeared to have the advantage in the paint. But it was L-L-M's lineup that doesn't feature a 6-footer that won the rebounding battle 26-25. L-L-M held a 27-19 second-quarter lead before the game tightened up.

"(Lack of size) didn't change the way we came out and played," said L-L-M senior Jared Meiklejohn, who scored 12 of his 13 points in the first half. "We came out and rebounded the heck out of the ball. ... We came out with a lot of energy, pushing down the court, rebounding and on the help side. We were doing everything right, right away."

L-L-M junior Brady Thielges scored a team-high 18 points and junior Anthony Olson added 11 points and 12 rebounds.

The Loboes used a 7-0 run to take a 51-44 lead with 40.8 seconds to go in the game, but an Isiah Binstock basket and 3-pointer from Jacob Volk cut it to two with 14.9 seconds remaining. Meiklejohn followed with 1-of-2 from the free-throw line, and Volk's potential game-tying 3-pointer bounced twice off the rim before falling off as time ran out.

"We've been outsized all year," Brady Thielges said. "That just means we have to work hard to get those rebounds and that's what we did."

Trinity held a lead three times, the last being a 44-42 advantage after another 3-pointer from Volk.

A second-team all-state selection a year ago, Volk poured in 28 points, six rebounds and four assists. The 6-3 guard stayed aggressive throughout, but Darren Thielges said he felt the rest of Trinity's lineup was tentative at times.

"It got to a certain point where guys looked to defer to their star," he said, referring to Volk. "We put enough pressure on them where at some point, they were looking for him and he was gonna be the guy that scores. I thought they gave up open looks a couple times for the extra pass. We knew we had to control Volk and we had to rebound, and I thought our guys did."

Grinsteinner said the Loboes played as if they were in their own gym.

"They came out very fearless," he said. "They played how they played throughout the year -- very loose, very confident. I think you saw that."

Coming back and trying to earn fifth place is the Titans' new goal, after their state title hopes were dashed.

"It's a life lesson right now," Grinsteinner said. "How are you gonna react to this? Are you gonna go down and hang your head and feel sorry for yourself? Or are we gonna come back and be the team we've been all year? That's the challenge laid forward."

Trinity 15 24 38 49

LMM 10 29 37 52

T: Jacob Volk 28, Jacob Good 7, Austin Deichert 5, Jesse Kubik 4, Alex Binstock 2, Mitchell Meyer 2, Isiah Binstock 1. Totals 19-46 6-9 52.

LMM: Brady Thielges 18, Jared Meiklejohn 13, Anthony Olson 11, Drew Thielges 8, Kenneth Hodem 2. Totals 20-43 8-13 49.

3-pointers: T 5 (Volk 4, Deichert 1), LLM 4 (D. Thielges 2, B. Thielges 1, Meiklejohn 1). Total fouls: T 16, LLM 8. Rebounds: T 25 (Kubik 7), LLM 26 (Olson 12). Assists: T 9 (Volk 4), LLM 9 (Hodem 6). Steals: none. Blocks: none. Turnovers: T 8, LLM 7. Records: T 22-3, L-L-M 22-2.