When: March 4-7
Where: Scheels Center
No.1 Richland (18-2)
No. 2 Kindred (18-2)
No. 3 Central Cass (14-6)
No. 4 Oak Grove (12-9)
No. 5 Milnor-North Sargent (13-8)
No. 6 Northern Cass (9-12)
No. 7 Enderlin (10-11)
No. 8 Lisbon (10-11)
Who is the favorite?
Richland lost its only two games of the season by four points including a 72-69 overtime loss to Central Cass. Earlier this week the Colts jumped up to No. 3 in the 12th Class B Poll and are looking to make it to the state tournament for the first time since the 2005-06 season. I wouldn’t say there’s a heavy favorite in the Region 2 tournament but I do believe Richland is the top team. Combo guard Cole Myers is a playmaker and can play both inside and out. I really like the way junior Colten Evanson plays with his size and senior Hunter Lentz can make opponents pay for their mistakes. Richland is a speedy team and puts up a lot of points as they’ve scored 70 points or more in 13 games.
Kindred: There are two teams I’m confident in that can stop Richland from making it the state tournament and one of them is Kindred. The Vikings are one of the taller teams in Class B with 6-foot-8 sophomore Gavin Keller and 6-foot-6 senior Sawyer Rolland. Kindred also has a lot of upperclassmen leadership with nine juniors and seniors on its roster. This is a team that can play solid defense with seniors Trenton Duchscherer and Michael Hall leading the way. The Vikings held Richland to 50 points in a loss and have held eight teams to 40 points or less this year.
Central Cass: Central Cass was stuck trying to find its team identity during the first half of the season. The Squirrels lost six of their first 12 games including a 65-63 overtime loss to Grafton and a 54-49 loss to Kindred. Central Cass is paced by senior Jonah Lietz and junior Christian Letz and they get good offensive play out of sophomore Joshua Dixon. This is a team that’s put all its pieces together at the correct time. Matteson Norman’s squad has won its last eight games including a 57-56 victory over Milnor-North Sargent.
Dark Horse Team
Enderlin: Senior Chance Bye has only played 11 games this season for Enderlin due to an injury and for the last 10 regular season games Bye was not on the floor as his team was 2-8 in that stretch. Bye was back on the court for Enderlin’s play-in game against Tri-State and the Eagles came away with the 84-67 victory. The Eagles are a tough matchup because their opponents have to prepare for 6-foot-9 freshman Joseph Hurlburt who can stretch the floor. Hurlburt is averaging a team-high 18 points per game and 12.9 rebounds. He also is second on the team with 31 made 3-pointers. On the other side of the block, the Eagles have freshman 6-foot-7 Gustave Hurlburt to look to for inside scoring. Gustave is averaging 11.2 points per game and 7.3 rebounds. Seven players are averaging 3.0 points per contest or more for Calvin Kraft’s team. As the No. 7-seed, the Eagles matchup with No. 2-seed Kindred in the quarterfinals, however, don’t be surprised if there’s an upset here.
No. 1 Richland over No. 8 Lisbon
No. 4 Oak Grove over No. 5 Milnor-North Sargent
No. 7 Enderlin over No. 2 Kindred
No. 3 Central Cass over No. 6 Northern Cass
No. 1 Richland over No. 4 Oak Grove
No. 7 Enderlin over No. 3 Central Cass
No. 1 Richland over No. 7 Enderlin