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MUST SEE: Ellendale kicks off ND boys B with game-winning buzzer beater

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Noah Sickler, right, and Alec Sickler of Dickinson Trinity sandwich Luke Wertz of Ellendale in a rebound during their North Dakota Class B state quarterfinal basketball game Thursday, March 16, 2017, in the Minot State Dome. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service 2 / 5
Aric Knopik, center, of Dickinson Trinity reaches for a loose ball with Luke Wertz of Ellendale during their North Dakota Class B state quarterfinal basketball game Thursday, March 16, 2017, in the Minot State Dome. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service 3 / 5
Noah Sickler of Dickinson Trinity grabs a rebound against Ellendale during their North Dakota Class B state quarterfinal basketball game Thursday, March 16, 2017, in the Minot State Dome. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service 4 / 5
Lucas Jones of Dickinson Trinity shoots against Ellendale during their North Dakota Class B state quarterfinal basketball game Thursday, March 16, 2017, in the Minot State Dome. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service5 / 5

MINOT, N.D. -- Brennen Vance didn't check the clock. He caught the pass on the right wing, squared up to the basket and shot.

The result was a 3-point field goal and a game-winner in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B boys high school basketball tournament. Vance's trey at the buzzer -- only his second field goal of the game -- gave Ellendale a 41-39 win against Dickinson Trinity to advance the Cardinals into Friday's semifinals.

Trinity had taken a 39-38 lead with five seconds left when Shawn Stoltz scored from underneath. Ellendale’s long inbounds pass went to Luke Wertz at halfcourt. He caught the basketball and flipped a pass to Vance on the right wing.

"I didn't look at the clock,'' Vance said. "I didn't know how much time was left.''

Vance, who has a team-leading 16.9 scoring average, was limited to six points in the game. "They shut me down,'' the senior guard said. "But that (game-winner) made up for it.''

The game-winning play is one the Cardinals have practiced. "But it's the first time we've used it. We haven't had to before,'' Cardinals coach Brian Vance said.

"We wanted that long throw to Luke. He has great hands and is a very good passer. Brennen was streaking down the sideline.''

Both teams went through long scoring droughts.

Ellendale led 26-12 halfway through the second quarter, but Trinity closed on an 11-0 run to pull to within 26-23 at intermission. Another 6:33 scoreless spurt by Ellendale in the third quarter allowed Trinity to go ahead 35-28.

But Trinity was unable to expand the lead, going 9:24 without a point. “Those were shots we’ve hit all year,’’ Trinity coach Gregg Grinsteinner said. “We had great looks. It was just a matter of getting them in the basket.’’

In the final two minutes, the lead changed hands three times before Brennen's game-winner, which Grinsteinner never saw.

After taking the 38-37 lead with five seconds left, "I've been around this too many times,'' Grinsteinner said. "I've been beat too many times by a last-second shot. They got the ball to their best player and he hit the big shot.

"As soon as he pulled up to shoot, I turned around. I didn't want to watch. I saw our crowd not cheering, so I knew it went in.''

Trinity (22-3) was paced by Noah Sickler's 10 points, with Stoltz finishing just shy of a double double with nine points and nine rebounds.

Wertz had 15 points and nine rebounds to lead Ellendale (21-5). 

ELLENDALE 41,

DICKINSON TRINITY 39

Ellendale 16 10 5 10 — 41

Trinity 8 15 12 4 — 39

Ellendale — Lucas Hofer 7, Brennen Vance 6, Luke Wertz 15, Hunter White 5, Austin Molan 8.

Dickinson Trinity — Noah Sickler 10, Lucas Jones 8, Shawn Stoltz 9, Easton Walby 6, Alex Scherr 4, Aric Knopik 2

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