The R&L Fusion and Fairview Warriors each emerged as winners during the semi-final round of the District 2C boys basketball tournament. The Fusion outscored Plentywood, 54-30, and Fairview defeated MonDak, 47-29.
After falling to Plentywood by double digits a week earlier, the Fusion surprised Plentywood on Friday night.
“We stepped up our defensive intensity and didn’t let up,” Fusion senior Seth Prevost said.
After winning on a last-second shot against Froid-Lake on Tuesday, Prevost said having a couple days off helped the Fusion. “It got us to think about this game and take care of business.”
Prevost was certainly one of the players who took care of business as he finished with 20 points to lead the Fusion.
“I trusted my teammates and tried to focus on my shot,” Prevost said.
Prevost scored 10 points in the first quarter as the Fusion enjoyed a good start and led 15-6 at the end of the period.
Ahead by a 20-10 margin, the Fusion ended the second quarter with baskets by Grady Gonsioroski and Prevost for a 24-10 lead at the half.
A basket by Caleb Senner got R&L off to a good start in the third quarter. After Senner took a charge, Prevost connected for a 28-10 advantage.
Plentywood’s Bryce Osksa stepped up with five straight points midway into the third quarter for a 30-16 game, but the Fusion held on for a 36-20 lead at the end of the third period.
The Wildcats attempted a comeback early in the fourth quarter on an inside shot by Reese Wirtz and a three-pointer by Tyson Flickinger for a 38-23 margin.
The Fusion, however, responded with the next six points on four free throws by Prevost and a great fast-break drive by Gabe Gonsioroski for a 44-23 lead with only four minutes left.
Top scorers for the Fusion were Prevost with 20 and Kyler Brown with 11. Also scoring were Senner with eight, Gabe Gonsioroski with six, Tyler Thiessen with three, Wyatt Robbins with two, Hunter Watson with two and Grady Gonsioroski with two.
Leading Plentywood were Osksa with 10 and Flickinger with nine points. Osksa grabbed 10 rebounds.
Fairview stops MonDak
After a challenging first half, Fairview improved its offensive attack in the second half for a 47-29 victory over MonDak.
Fairview led by only a 17-13 half-time margin before scoring 16 points in the third quarter.
“Offensively, we tried to get the ball in the right people’s hands so they could penetrate,” Fairview Coach Luke Kloker said of the team’s adjustments in the second half. “We tried to get them some screen situations and then we did run some different sets. We got a little more organized and settled down.”
The coach was proud of Fairview’s defensive performance in the victory.
“We played pretty good defense,” Kloker said. “As far as playing defense and getting out on their guys, we did a good job.”
Behind by a 12-10 margin late in the second quarter, the Warriors went ahead to stay with seven straight points on a steal and layup by Cody Asbeck and five points by Alex Schriver. A free throw by MonDak’s Darian Holecek cut the gap to 17-13 at the half.
Two shots by Schriver opened the third quarter and put Fairview up a 21-13 margin. The scoring of Schriver and a three-point shot by Lak Kloker helped Fairview extend the margin.
The Warriors’ 31-19 lead was increased to 33-19 when Lak Kloker hit two free throws to end the third quarter.
After MonDak’s Aiden Harbin connected from three-point range to open the fourth quarter, Schriver and Kloker hit free throws to give Fairview a comfortable 37-22 lead with five minutes to play.
Fairview’s top scorers were Schriver with 18 and Kloker with 10 points. Also scoring were Josh Herron with eight, Asbeck with seven, Paul Hardy with three and Gerit Johnson with one.
Herron finished with eight rebounds.
Ridge Sargent led the Thunder with eight points. Harbin and Jack Solberg added five points each. Solberg grabbed eight rebounds.