Dan Yale will no longer be playing basketball at Berthold High School.
Say it to yourself once; it's tough to get used to.
The 6-3 senior standout was a four-year starter and two-time first-team all-state selection, along with being a Mr. Basketball finalist. He also took his team to the Class B state tournament for the third time in four years.
For his efforts, Yale has been named The Minot Daily News' all-area player of the year. He had per-game averages of 21.5 points, 9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2 blocks.
But Yale's career won't be remembered for numbers. He gave the basketball tradition-rich town of Berthold even more reason to celebrate. In four years as a starter, Yale's teams went 95-13.
Berthold fans won't have to go far to continue to watch him. He'll be playing at Minot State University, where he'll reunite with his brother Matt. The last high school game they played together was in 2010, when they fell in the state championship game to Carrington.
Five years earlier, Bottineau lost a double-overtime state championship game to New Rockford-Sheyenne in one of the most thrilling title games in recent memory. It was a heartbreaking loss for then-Bottineau coach Jeremy Brandt, who had orchestrated an amazing postseason run to that point.
This year, the Newburg native got his championship.
Beulah (25-3) ended North Star's 53-game winning streak with a 51-49 victory to claim the school's first-ever state basketball championship. For his successful run, Brandt has been named The Minot Daily News' all-area coach of the year.
The Miners won their title behind Brandt - a basketball genius of sorts and a master floor tactician whose in-game adjustments at the state tournament may have been the single greatest factor in the title run, especially in the state semifinals when they rallied past Berthold.
But overlooked may be his ability as a motivator i.e. a stirring halftime speech during the Berthold game.
In the end, the Miners knocked off three unbeaten teams at state. As much as Brandt downplays it, it's still impressive.
The rest of our first team is very recognizable.
Justin McCloud was certainly a worthy candidate for player-of-the-year honors. He was a first-team all-state pick and a Mr. Basketball finalist.
And though it doesn't matter to coaches or players, McCloud had something that many players - all-state or otherwise - do not, and that's showmanship. When the game's on the line, Justin McCloud commands the ball and even the most casual fans stop what they're doing to watch. He kept fans on the edge of their seats.
Another point guard on the team is North Star junior Jake Hagler, whose electrifying ability overwhelms opponents. Hagler's body of work is outstanding. He averaged 29 points a game and has a resume that proves he shows up in big games like when he poured in 32 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in a December win against Beulah.
Des Lacs-Burlington's Tanner Holte did a little bit of everything for the Lakers, who lost out in the region semifinals. Holte can hit the 3-pointer, play with his back to the basket or hit a mid-range jumper. His versatility makes him a tough matchup.
Divide County's Andreas Holm made believers out of people at the state tournament, averaging 20 points and 16 rebounds per game. Considering the competition, Holm secured himself as an all-stater.
New Town's Preston Smith may be best known for being the talk of the 2010-11 state tournament, where the Eagles finished third in his junior season. Smith is an athletic phenom, but the adjustments he had to make after the other four starters graduated make him more than worthy. He had to become a better basketball player, and clearly he did.
The second team is filled with high scorers and hard workers. There were plenty of those in the area. Quality names were certainly left off this team. Thanks to all coaches and officials who helped the staff gather information and promote their sport. We look forward to next season.