Carrington secures first ND Class B state boys basketball title since 1995

MINOT, N.D. - The last time Carrington won the North Dakota Class B boys high school basketball tournament, in 1995, the Cardinals were led by Jim Kleinsasser, a senior headed to UND on a football scholarship.

Carrington's Devin Barton
Carrington's Devin Barton celebrates a Class B state title Saturday. Kevin Cederstrom Special to The Forum

MINOT, N.D. - The last time Carrington won the North Dakota Class B boys high school basketball tournament, in 1995, the Cardinals were led by Jim Kleinsasser, a senior headed to UND on a football scholarship.

History repeated itself here Saturday. Carrington, led by UND football recruit Devin Barton, topped Berthold 65-59 in the state tournament title game.

"It would be nice to follow in (Kleinsasser's) footsteps," said Barton, who was named the tournament's most valuable player. "We've got this one. But there are a lot more things he did."

What the Cardinals did in claiming the program's second "B" state title in school history was take control in the final 11 minutes.

Berthold took a 38-36 lead with 3:51 left in the third on a 3-pointer by Tyler Birdsall. Carrington answered by closing the quarter on a 9-2 run, then scoring 10 of the first 13 points in the fourth.


A Kaleb Klein trey with 3:11 left in the third got the run going and the Cardinals a lead at 39-38 that they never relinquished. Jackson Unruh followed with two crucial baskets from in the lane.

"When Jackson got those two baskets, they couldn't double team Barton," Carrington coach Nate Monson said. "That opened up the inside."

Barton's 3-point play to open the fourth quarter made it 48-40 -- the biggest lead for either team up to that point. After a Lyndon Bloms trey pulled Berthold within 48-43, Carrington scored seven straight to go up 55-43 with 5:02 left.

"As soon as we got (the lead) up to 10, we knew if we could get some defensive stops and clean the boards, we were winning," said Barton, who just missed his third double double of the tournament with 18 points and nine rebounds.

Berthold, however, made Carrington sweat it out.

The Bombers rallied, pulling within 60-59 when Matt Yale had a four-point play with 51 seconds left, hitting a trey from the top of the key, drawing a foul and hitting the free throw.

But Carrington hit 5 of 8 free throws in the final 46 seconds while shutting down the Bombers to clinch the title. "We're a 55 percent free-throw shooting team," Monson said. "But pressure doesn't bother these kids. As long as we kept hitting at least one of two, that's what counted."

"They started hitting their shots and all of a sudden we realized we weren't up by 12 any more," said Easton Page, who sank three of the final five free throws. "At first, there was a sense of panic. But coach told us to settle down."


Carrington had to go overtime just to get to state, beating then top-ranked and undefeated North Star 66-65 in the Region 4 championship.

"That gave us a big boost," Barton said. "They're one of the best teams in the state. We knew if we could beat them, we'd be right there with anybody here."

Carrington 14 26 45 65

Berthold 13 25 40 59

CARRINGTON (26-2): Nelson 1-2 0-0 2, Collins 3-8 2-2 9, Klein 2-4 0-0 6, Page 4-6 8-8 17, Unruh 4-9 0-2 8, Monson 1-3 2-4 5, Barton 8-14 2-4 18. Totals: 23-46 14-20 65.

BERTHOLD (26-2): Bloms 3-9 0-0 9, A.Birdsall 0-1 0-0 0, T.Birdsall 2-7 1-2 6, Langan 0-1 0-0 0, White 3-9 5-6 8, M.Yale 8-19 5-6 23, D.Yale 6-14 1-3 13. Totals: 22-60 9-15 59.

3-pointers - Carrington 5 (Collins, Klein 2, Page, Monson), Berthold 6 (Bloms 3, T.Birdsall, M.Yale 2). Rebounds - Carrington 32 (Barton 9), Berthold 37 (White 10, D.Yale 10). Assists - Carrington 18 (Unruh 5, Monson 5), Berthold 9 (M.Yale 6). Total fouls - Carrington 16, Berthold 16. Fouled out - White.

All-tournament team


Cavalier: Brandon Chrest, Brady Robbins;

Carrington: Devin Barton;

Berthold: Matt Yale, Dan Yale;

Fargo Oak Grove: Sam Olson, Shayden Akason;

Mandaree: Devin Yellow Wolf;

Kidder County: Adam Randall;

Beulah: Kasey Schmidt;

Shiloh Christian: Austin Friesen.


Tournament MVP: Barton.

Class B senior player of the year: Adam Randall, Kidder County.

Class B coach of the year: Kyle Card, Fargo Oak Grove.

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

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