Lions boys basketball: Sheyenne's Nhial leads late surge to help lift Class A All-Stars to victory
The Class B All-Stars rallied from 20 points down to close the gap but Nhial scored eight-straight points to help Class A hold on in the first of two Lions All-Star Games on Monday in Bismarck.
BISMARCK -- Michael Nhial is used to playing with top talent.
As a result, the West Fargo Sheyenne star felt right at home Monday night in the first of two Lions All-Star games.
Nhial scored eight straight points in a late second-half run to help the Class A All-Stars over the Class B standouts 118-108 at Bismarck High School.
The teams play a second game at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, at Fargo Davies High School.
"When you're playing with guys this good, it's a lot easier," Nhial said. "Both teams have so many good players. It's fun."
Nhial, headed to Northern State next season to play NCAA Division II basketball, scored 15 points. Same as North Dakota recruit Treysen Eaglestaff, who returned home to win one last game on his home floor.
"I love this gym. Some people hate it because of the lighting, but I love it," said Eaglestaff, who was nursing a sore groin. "I thought we played well. B's got a lot of dudes over there, but we were able to pull it out."
Minot's Dean Winczewski, coaching his seventh Lions All-Star game, said it remains a special opportunity.
"We have great kids, I mean like really fine young men, who just happen to be really talented basketball players," Winczewski said. "I hope they're enjoying this experience, just taking it, because I love it. It's a blast."
Both teams are loaded with college players.
The Class B roster features five players 6-foot-6 or taller. Class A has two.
"We were looking to use our size, but those A guys are strong and athletic," said 6-11 Joe Hurlburt of Enderlin, who flew in from Colorado where he'll play in the Pac-12 next season for the Buffaloes. "It was fun. It's definitely competitive and maybe we can find a way to get one on these guys tomorrow."
With the win, Class A claimed its third straight victory in the series. Class A holds a 60-25 all-time lead in the series, which is in its 46th year.
All 24 players scored in the game. Nick Carlson of West Fargo finished with 11 points for the Class A team.
"Every kid deserves to be out there. You can't go wrong with any of them," Winczewski said.
Class A grabbed the lead for good midway through the first half.
Evan Gross of St. Mary’s started a 7 -0 run with a nothing-but-net three and transition hoops by Carlson and Brett Limke of West Fargo followed midway through the 20-minute opening half.
Five minutes later the Class As pushed the lead into double figures for the first time.
An 8-2 run, with all the points coming in transition, made it 46-34. Eaglestaff scored four and so did West Fargo’s Foday Sheriff.
At the break, Class A led 56-44, getting points from 10 players. The Class B-ers did one better with 11 names in the scorebook.
"I thought we played really unselfish," Eaglestaff said. "Everbody out there can get theirs, but it's fun when everybody's involved."
On the verge of being blown out early in the second half, the Class B All-Stars made a strong second-half surge.
Down 20 seven minutes into the second half, United Tribes Technical College commit Jayden Yankton of Four Winds-Minnewaukan capped a 12-2 Class B run with a deep 3-pointer to cut the gap to 97-92 with 6:15 left.
Class A answered, thanks to Nhial. The versatile 6-6 wing hit a three, scored in the paint and made two free throws to single-handedly push the lead back to 107-95 with four minutes left.
"In these games, maybe at times you kind of default to your comfort zone," Winczewski said. "We had a Minot kid out there. A West Fargo kid out there, but Adam (Palczewski) and I aren't dumb. We had Treysen and Mike out there, too. This is a fantastic group of kids, though, gosh. It's a great showcase for the kind of talent we have in this state."
Scott Wagner, a 6-7 post man from Ellendale, led the Class B squad with 16 points. Yankton and Beulah's Trey Brandt had 14 each. Gus Hurlburt, Joe's 6-9 brother, had 11. Gannon Lemke of Central Valley finished with 10.
"Hopefully we can win again tomorrow," Nhial said, "but they're going to come at us hard. We have to be ready."
--Kindred high-flier Paul Olson, who put on a spectacular dunking exhibition in pregame warmups, left the game in the second half with an apparent leg injury. Olson was able to walk off the court, but did not return.
--West Fargo's Foday Sheriff got popped in the face trying to get a loose ball late in the second half. Sheriff also walked off, but did not return.
--North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum was on hand to throw up the ceremonial opening tip.
Class A 118, Class B 108
Class A: 56-62—118
Class B: 44-64—108
Class A: Adam Kallenbach 17, Nick Carlson 11, Ian Motschenbacher 6, Eric Wentz 9, Brett Limke 9, Evan Gross 9, Mike Nhial 15, Aaron Grubb 8, Foday Sheriff 7, Diamond McGill 8, Treysen Eaglestaff 15, Nathan Fedorchak 4. Totals: 45 FG; 3-pointers: Kallenbach 5, Nhial 3, Eaglestaff 2, Carlson 2, Wentz, Limke; 10-20 FT; 20 Fouls; 14 Turnovers.
Class B: William Jiskra 4, Jayden Yankton 14, Gannon Limke 10, Trey Brandt 14, Jacolby Pearson 5, Trapper Skalsky 4, Zach Hendrickson 12, Max McQuillan 4, Paul Olson 6, Joe Hurlburt 9, Scott Wagner 16, Gus Hurlburt 11. Totals: 39 FG; 3-pointers: Yankton 4, Hendrickson 3, Brandt 2; 21-29 FT; 12 Fouls; 19 Turnovers.