Valley City boys basketball team winning in its return to Class A
Forgive the Valley City High School boys basketball team if it's a little giddy these days. Back in Class A after a one-year hiatus, the Hi-Liners are in the midst of a three-game winning streak. Valley City came back from a 15-point deficit to b...
Forgive the Valley City High School boys basketball team if it's a little giddy these days.
Back in Class A after a one-year hiatus, the
Hi-Liners are in the midst of a three-game winning streak.
Valley City came back from a 15-point deficit to beat Bismarck-St. Mary's. A Shane Ost buzzer-beater tipped Wahpeton on the road.
And the signature win of the season so far came Tuesday night at West Fargo. Trent Egan poured in 26 points to help Valley City beat the No. 5 Packers in double-overtime.
The fact that it wasn't just another win was evident in the celebration of players and fans when the final buzzer sounded.
Why all the excitement? It takes a little explaining.
The Hi-Liners have had winning streaks.
Last year, Valley City's first year in Class B after a change in the North Dakota High School Activities Association enrollment cutoff from 400 to 325 allowed them to move down, the team finished with 17 wins.
But, as the Hi-Liners were going through the season, they were notified they would be moving back to Class A this season. The NDHSAA enrollment cutoff for Class A moved back to 400.
Talk about a weird situation?
"It's been strange going up and down," said Scott Hurlimann, in his fourth year as the Hi-Liners coach. "We were thinking we were finally set in a home in Class B."
There were a few lean years in Class A before the move to Class B last year.
Valley City was a perennial Eastern Dakota Conference contender in the 1990's. The Hi-Liners made the state tournament six times in eight seasons from 1992-2000.
There hasn't been much to celebrate since. The
Hi-Liners combined record in the five years leading up to their drop to Class B was 20-82. That's why many at the school pushed to get a 3-class system passed in North Dakota.
With an enrollment of 375, Valley City is stuck in limbo. It's not big. It's not small.
"We thought we should be playing Devils Lake, Wahpeton, Central Cass, Beulah, Dickinson Trinity," Hurlimann said. "Do I think we should be playing Litchville-Marion-Montpelier or some of the small Class B schools? Maybe not. But is it fair to be playing Fargo North, Fargo South and West Fargo all season?"
But that's where things currently stand. A 3-class proposal that would have put Valley City in the middle was defeated in October.
The Hi-Liners are showing they can still have success in the state's biggest class. It may even be a positive.
"Last year when those smaller schools played us it was their biggest game of the year," Hurlimann said. "You think West Fargo gets up for Fargo South or Fargo North a little bit more than us? That's human nature. ... We see it as a challenge playing those teams. It's not tough to get them excited about it."
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Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562 or email@example.com .
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