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Bowman County set to take on Kindred in Class B state tournament

The Bulldogs will face the defending state champions in the quarterfinal round.

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Bowman County sophomore guard Bohden Duffield.
Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press

MINOT, N.D. — Let the madness begin.

The 2022 Class B boys basketball state tournament is set to begin March 17-19 in Minot. The entire tournament will take place at the Minot State Dome.

The Bowman County boys basketball squad will be returning to this stage for the first time since 2009 on the heels of their win over Hazen in the Region 7 championship game.

Now the focus shifts towards the state tournament with hopes of capturing their first ever state title. This will be their fifth appearance at the Class B state tournament in school history.

They will have a tall task ahead of them, literally and figuratively.

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Bowman County (19-5) will take on Kindred (20-2), the defending state champions, in the quarterfinal round. The top five teams in Class B were seeded, followed by a random draw for the next three teams to see who they would play. Seeds No. 4 and 5 were matched up against each other.

The Bulldogs and Vikings will play the first game of the day on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. CST.

As the champions of Region 1, Kindred have seven players listed 6-foot-4 or taller. The tallest player in the Bulldogs rotation is 6-foot-2 senior Carson Massey.

“They’re a different animal. They’re extremely long and athletic,” Bowman County head coach Nick Walker said. “We’re going to have to do a good job of keeping them out of the paint and off the glass. And they play in Region 1 which is a very good region. We’ve got our work cut out for us but our kids are ready.”

Not only will the Vikings have a height advantage, but an experience advantage as well. They know what it takes to not only advance in the tournament, but to win the whole thing.

Last year Kindred won the first state title in school history, defeating Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier 40-34 in the final. They’ve already endured a tough road so far this year, defeating Enderlin 70-50 in the Region 1 championship, who possess 6-foot-10 Colorado commit Joe Hurlburt in their ranks, the North Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year.

For Bowman County, their success will ride the contributions from the dynamic sophomore backcourt duo in Bishop and Bohden Duffield. Both guards can create their own shot, drive to the rim and be pesky on the defensive end.

They'll also have to combat a size disadvantage they have not been faced with all year.

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“We’re going to have to do a really good job of trying to be as equal as we can on the glass with them,” Walker said. “Trying to take away their transition game which they’re very good at and getting to the rim. We’ll have to shoot the ball well from the perimeter. Our kids are looking forward to the challenge.”

Inside, Massey will have the job of setting the tone on both ends, much like he did in the Region 7 championship game where he had ten points and nine rebounds. It will take a true group effort from the Bulldogs if they are to pull off the win.

These are the rest of the matchups in the quarterfinal round that will follow Bowman County vs Kindred:

Game 2: #3 Shiloh Christian (R5) vs Bishop Ryan (R6)
Game 3: #1 Four Winds/Minnewaukan (R4) vs Stanley (R8)
Game 4: #4 LaMoure-Litchville/Marion (R3) vs #5 Grafton (R2)

The winner between the Bulldogs and Vikings will take on the winner of game 2. If Bowman County lose, they will take on the loser of that game in the consolation bracket.

Race Archibald is a former sports reporter with The Dickinson Press.
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