The competitive balance of District 12 has reared its head, and Des Lacs-Burlington finds itself in an awkward position.
The Lakers boys basketball team lost just one district game this season - an eight-point overtime setback to No. 2-ranked Berthold (19-0). From there, DL-B won five straight games before an encouraging 73-68 loss to unbeaten North Star, the state's No. 1-ranked team.
"We think we can play with any team," DL-B standout sophomore Tanner Holte said. "As long we put our heads to it, we can do well against any team."
Des Lacs-Burlington’s Evan Knutson fights for a rebound Jan. 28 at the Minot Municipal Auditorium. The Lakers have an intriguing matchup in the opening round of today’s District 12 tournament at the Aud. Seeded second, DL-B squares off against seventh-seeded Glenburn, a team the Lakers beat 78-75 during the regular season.
But the Lakers have an intriguing challenge in front of them, as they picked up the No. 2 seed for today's District 12 tournament at the Minot Municipal Auditorium. At 6 p.m., DL-B meets seventh-seeded Glenburn, a team the Lakers beat 78-75 during the regular season. Glenburn had a significant lead in the first half before allowing DL-B to rally.
"(Houston) Lavachek was making some pretty good shots," Holte said. "Josh Farmer and Devin Korynta were getting some rebounds and putting them back in. We needed to box out better and stay tight on (Lavachek)."
Still, DL-B playing North Star close after winning five straight has Holte feeling good about districts.
"We feel confident," Holte said. "As long as we do our job, we should be good. ... Doing our job on defense, rebounding, crashing the boards and making our shots."
But adding to the balance in the district are three other matchups that could provide some fireworks.
Berthold, the No. 1 seed, takes on No. 8 Kenmare at 3 p.m., and though Kenmare didn't win a game in district play, the Honkers have played teams close. Kenmare's and Berthold's regular-season game was tied at halftime before the Bombers cruised in the second half.
Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood is seeded fourth and meets Our Redeemer's at 4:30 p.m. M-L-S won 62-54 in the regular season game which saw the Mavericks gain a big lead, only to have Our Redeemer's climb back into it in the fourth quarter.
The final game of the day has No. 6 Surrey meeting third-seeded Bishop Ryan, which carries a four-game winning streak into districts.
"I think we're probably as confident as we've been all year," Medalen said. "I think there's a fine line between being overconfident and just confident. I don't think we're overconfident. ... We're cautiously confident."
Ryan edged Surrey 49-46 during the regular season.
"Certainly once you get by Berthold and DL-B, that next batch of 4-5 teams - there's confidence with all those teams," Medalen said. "I love the step-by-step improvement of our team. ... I think we are considerably better than we were on the first of December."
Like Ryan, Rugby has a four-game winning streak heading into the District 11 tournament. The Panthers (17-2) are seeded second behind Bottineau and play seventh-seeded TGU at 6 p.m. in Dunseith.
"We've been playing pretty good, defensively, with the exception of the North Star game," Rugby coach Mike Santjer said.
Rugby's two losses came to North Star (19-0) and rival Bottineau (18-1). North Star's 74-44 win was the only time the Panthers have allowed a team to score 70 points or more.
In a loss to Bottineau, Sanjter said the team gave up too many second-chance points in the second half. Rugby led at halftime.
"We didn't rebound very well," Santjer said. "(Mark) LaCroix was able to come up with some big offensive rebounds that kind put them ahead."
Rugby's tandem of point guard Jayden Welk and high-scoring forward Kyle Lovcik has led the charge for a team that started the season 12-0.
"Jayden's kind of the motor to our team," Santjer said. "Kyle, he's got a knack for scoring. He does a good job of finding creases to cut and get the ball, and he's a good finisher."
Bottineau plays bottom-seeded Sawyer in the opener at 3 pm. No. 4 Dunseith and No. 5 Westhope-Newburg follow, while third-seeded Velva meets No. 6 Drake-Anamoose in the finale.
Warwick, North Star lead Region 4
With seven teams in their respective districts, Warwick and North Star both earned byes into the semifinals.
Warwick's five-point win over Four Winds-Minnewaukan in the regular season helped it capture the top spot. It plays the winner of Midkota and Harvey-Wells County on Saturday, the District 7 tournament's second day of action in New Rockford.
North Star rolled through the regular season and plays the winner of Rolette-Wolford and Langdon in the semifinals. The District 8 tournament begins Friday in Langdon.
Trojans earn D10 top seed
Turtle Lake-Mercer-McClusky gets a bye in the opening round of the District 10 tournament, which takes place today in Garrison.
The Trojans earned the No. 1 seed, and district rival Washburn is the No. 2 seed and also has a bye into the semifinals in the six-team district.
Titans, Bison out front in D14
Dickinson Triniy topped Beulah and Hazen to pick up the No. 1 seed for Friday's District 14 tournament at Dickinson Trinity High School.
Like Trinity, Hazen also gets a bye into Saturday's games, as the Bison captured the No. 2 seed. Beulah is seeded third and plays Glen Ullin-Hebron at 7 p.m. in the first round.
Top seeds go to Wildcats, Ranchers
By virtue of close wins over Watford City and New Town, North Shore earned the No. 1 seed for the District 15 tournament today in Watford City. The Wildcats get a bye in the first round and on Friday, play the winner of Stanley and Parshall in first game of the evening, scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Powers Lake ran through District 16 undefeated and finished with only two losses in the regular season. The Ranchers locked up the No. 1 seed and receive a bye into the semifinals of their district tournament, which kicks off today at Williston State College. Powers Lake plays the winner of Divide County and Tioga in the 7 p.m. game on Friday.
District 12 tournamentat Minot Municipal Auditorium
1) No. 1 Berthold vs. No. 8 Kenmare, 3 p.m.
2) No. 4 Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood vs. No. 5 Our Redeemer's, 4:30 p.m.
3) No. 2 Des Lacs-Burlington vs. No. 7 Glenburn, 6 p.m.
4) No. 3 Bishop Ryan vs. No. 6 Surrey, 7:30 p.m.
Note: All area district tournaments schedules on D2.