Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
Just one year ago, the Box Elder boys basketball teams suffered through a winless season. Now, just one year later, the young Bears are about to take part in the District 9C semifinals. The fifth-seeded Bears rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to knock off the fourthseeded Turner Tornadoes by the score of 58-53 Wednesday night in Havre at the HHS Gymnasium in the first round of the 2008 9C boys tournament. The win put a stop to a three-game 9C tournament losing streak for the Bears and set up a semifinal showdown with rival Rocky Boy today at 1. For much of the game, it looked like it would be Turner, not Box Elder that would advance as back-to-back baskets from Wade Daniels and Ryan Haugen gave Turner a 39-24 lead with 6:01 left in the third quarter. But it was at that point that the Bears began their furious rally. The Bears went on a 14-0 run, which was capped off on a three-point play by Jaron Raining Bird to pull them within one point at 39-38 with 3:20 left in the third. Then, with just 6:49 left in the game, Box Elder took its first lead of the game, following consecutive baskets by Raining Bird, which gave the Bears a 46-45 lead. Turner tried to fight back, but two baskets and a pair of free throws by Kenny Parisian gave Box Elder a 54-49 with just over four minutes to play. Turner got within three points after a couple free throws by Taylor Fouts, but the Bears hit four critical free throws in the final minutes to seal the five-point win. “This win means a lot to our program because our kids have worked so hard,” Box Elder head coach Zane Russette said. “This team has had to deal with a lot of adversity this season, but they just kept working hard and they are starting to see the results.” Raining Bird was a key cog in the win for the Bears with a game-high 22 points on 7-of-18 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers. Parisian played a big part in the win for the Bears, scoring 13 points and grabbing five rebounds. He was also 7-of-10 from the free-throw line. Daniel Nault pitched in with 10 points and tore down four rebounds. “It feels really good to get this win after not winning a game last season,” Box Elder senior guard J.C. Hawk said. “I really thought that our defense was the key in the second half. We really picked up our intensity and I just think we wanted it a little bit more than they did.” Meanwhile, Turner was sparked by Daniels, who hit a 3-pointer, connected on seven-of-eight free throw attempts and grabbed six rebounds in the loss. Tyrel Obrecht also had a solid game, knocking down three treys on his way to 11 points to go along with four rebounds. Ryan Haugen also contributed to the Tornado effort with 11 points on four-of-six shooting from the field. Turner got off to a hot start taking an early 12-6 lead, following a 3-pointer by Obrecht. Just minutes later, Obrecht knocked down another trey to help Turner build an 18-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. Obrecht drilled another trey early in the second quarter and after a basket by Taylor Fouts the Tornadoes held a 23-15 advantage with 5:60 left in the first half. Raining Bird and Parisian each made two free throws to make the trim the deficit to 25-19, but the Tornadoes closed the half on a 7-2 run, which was capped off by Justin Paul, who scored with :12 seconds left in the first half to give Turner a 32-21 lead. With the, win the Bears will advance in the 9C tournament semifinals, where they will square off against top-seeded Rocky Boy today. The loss by Turner will send them into the loserout round on Friday night.