Smith sparks Squirrels: Senior leads Central Cass to OT win in Region 1

Brandon Smith fouled an opponent, leading to a 4-point play and one-point deficit late in overtime Monday at the Fargo Civic Center. Twenty-five seconds later, the Central Cass senior converted the game-winning 3-point play. His recovery lifted C...


Brandon Smith fouled an opponent, leading to a 4-point play and one-point deficit late in overtime Monday at the Fargo Civic Center.

Twenty-five seconds later, the Central Cass senior converted the game-winning 3-point play.

His recovery lifted Central Cass to a 61-59 overtime victory against North Sargent in the quarterfinal of the North Dakota Class B, Region 1 boys basketball tournament.

"That 4-point play just kind of got me going," said Smith, who finished with a game-high 22 points. "It got me mad because I screwed up."

The Squirrels (20-3) -- who won the District 2 title last week -- survived a scare from the Bobcats, the No. 4 seed from District 1.


"It's my senior year and I'm done, but this is a high note to end it on," said North Sargent forward Ross Hardy, who hit a

3-pointer in the final minute of the fourth quarter to force overtime. "At least we went out like this."

Central Cass faces Maple Valley at 7:45 p.m. today at Fargo Civic in the semifinals.

Fargo Oak Grove plays Milnor in the other semifinal at 6 p.m. Oak Grove beat Wyndmere 68-54, also at the Fargo Civic.

At Wahpeton, Milnor beat Richland 62-34 and Maple Valley defeated Lidgerwood 66-55 to make the semifinals.

"I'm so relieved right now that we were able to pull together," Smith said. "North Sargent got hot at the end."

Smith staked the Squirrels to a 58-55 lead with 1:38 to play in overtime with a 3-point play. Those crucial points came off a free-throw miss by teammate David Hagemeister, who had hit the first of his two free throws to tie the game.

North Sargent had the answer.


Sophomore Jared Comegys drained a 3-pointer from the deep left wing on the ensuing possession. Smith fouled Comegys in the act of shooting. The 6-foot-5 forward added the free throw, staking the Bobcats to a 59-58 lead with 1:12 remaining in OT.

However, Smith came back with another 3-point play. This time, he drove the right side of the lane to the hoop and layed in the ball as he was being fouled. With the foul shot, Central Cass led 61-59 with 47 seconds to play.

"Both of those 3-point plays were big," Central Cass coach Tim Kraft said. "Brandon came up huge for us tonight."

After a jump ball, North Sargent had the ball under its own basket with 14 seconds remaining in OT.

Comegys ended up with the ball and drove to the basket along the right side of the lane. However, his running bank shot caught the front of the rim and rolled off as time expired.

"When I saw it catch the rim I was getting ready to jump up because I thought it was going in," Hardy said. "My heart sunk on that shot."

The Bobcats battled back from a 14-point third-quarter deficit to nearly pull off the upset.

"When you play with emotion like they did and confidence, it can take you a long way," Kraft said of North Sargent. "We eked out a win. We just seemed like we were in the mud, but you have to credit some of that to North Sargent. They made us struggle."


North Sargent 9 26 35 50 59

Central Cass 11 28 44 50 61

NORTH SARGENT: Vincent 1 0-0 2, Rotenberger 3 6-9 12, Comegys 5 1-1 15, Anderson 2 0-0 6, Lubbers 7 0-1 14, Hardy 4 0-0 10, Hansen 0 0-0 0. Totals 22-47 7-11 59.

CENTRAL CASS: Freiborg 0 0-0 0, Sundquist 2 0-0 6, Wieland 4 0-0 8, Hagemeister 1 1-4 3, Kraft 5 0-0 12, Smith 9 4-5 22, Stutzman 2 4-7 8, Boeder 1 0-0 2. Totals 24-65 9-16 61.

3-point goals: Comegys 4, Anderson 2, Hardy 2, Sundquist 2, Kraft 2. Total fouls: NS 20, CC 14. Fouled out: Rotenberger, Lubbers. Rebounds: NS 29 (Anderson 7), CC 32 (Kraft 8, Smith 8). Turnovers: NS 18, CC 8.

Oak Grove 68, Wyndmere 54

Drew Erickson didn't even have to wait until game time to know it was his night.

"I go on a day-to-day basis," said the Oak Grove senior, who scored 27 points. "If I'm hitting, I'm going to be hitting the whole day. I knew from in warmups I was going to be on tonight."


Erickson made 10 of 18 shots from the field to lead the Grovers to victory.

The 6-foot-4 forward scored five of his game-high total during a 10-0 Oak Grove run at the start of the third quarter.

That surge quickly pushed the Grovers' 10-point halftime lead to a 46-26 edge.

"They came out in the first quarter and the third quarter really strong," Wyndmere coach Brian Christopherson said. "Those were the two differences. They have a lot of good players, and we just couldn't match up with them."

Erickson's effectiveness wasn't limited to scoring. He added 13 rebounds, four blocked shots and four assists.

"Drew has developed into a complete player," Oak Grove coach Steve Carnal said. "He's a great all-around player."

Wyndmere 12 26 32 54

Oak Grove 23 36 52 68


WYNDMERE: Heitkamp 3 2-2 8, Mauch 0 2-4 2, Boprie 2 2-6 7, Keenan 1 0-0 2, Metcalf 1 1-2 4, Volesky 5 0-2 11, Strege 1 0-0 2, Braun 1 0-0 2, Hanson 7 0-0 14, Score 0 2-4 2. Totals 21-48 9-20 54.

OAK GROVE: Kading 2 6-6 12, Larson 2 0-0 5, Langseth 1 0-0 2, Vandevoort 2 0-0 5, Erickson 11 4-6 27, Berg 3 1-4 7, Ebert 1 6-6 8, Arneson 1 0-0 2. Totals 23-55 17-22 68.

3-point goals: Volesky, Boprie, Metcalf, Kading 2, Larson, Vandevoort, Erickson. Total fouls: W 17, OG 15. Fouled out: Volesky. Technical Foul: Berg. Rebounds: W 22 (Volesky 7), OG 30 (Erickson 13). Assists: W 7 (Mauch 3), OG 18 (Erickson, Ebert 4). Steals: W 8 (Keenan, Volesky 2), OG 7 (Larson, Ebert 2). Turnovers: W 15, OG 12.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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