Strasburg-Zeeland holds off Linton-HMB for District 6 Tournament crown
Strasburg-Zeeland squandered a 10-point lead in the final period, but the Clippers recovered for a 45-42 victory over Linton-HMB in the championship game of the District 6 Tournament in Napoleon on Feb. 19.
Strasburg-Zeeland (19-2) claimed its first District 6 crown since 2008, when the Clippers edged Linton (40- 38 in overtime) in the title game. The Clippers opened the Region 3 Tournament in Jamestown against Pingree- Buchanan-Kensal on Feb. 25. Linton-HMB (16-5), which advanced to the Region 3 Tournament for the 14th straight season, opened the tournament against Edgeley- Kulm. Results from the Region 3 Tournament quarterfinals were not available at press time.
Strasburg-Zeeland trailed just twice in the game, and Linton-HMB’s final lead of the game came at 4-3 with just over 6:00 left in the opening period. Strasburg-Zeeland opened up a 9-4 lead midway through the period, but Linton-HMB deadlocked the score at 9-9 on a pair of free throws by Ryan Schneider with 2:05 left. However, the Clippers ripped off 7 unanswered points, before Mason Ryckman hit a jumper at the buzzer for Linton-HMB to leave Strasburg-Zeeland with a 16-11 advantage.
Linton- HMB, which played the final 9:15 of the first half without starting guard Tyler Humann (2 fouls), misfired on its first four field goal attempts of the second period, and Strasburg-Zeeland opened the frame with a 10-3 run, capped by Scotti Scherr’s four-point play for a 26-14 cushion with 4:38 left in the first half. Nic Kramer’s basket at the 2:51 mark capped a 21-6 run that gave Strasburg-Zeeland its biggest lead (30-15) of the game, but the Clippers wouldn’t score again in the half.
Linton-HMB didn’t hit its first field goal of the quarter until Schneider put in a basket at the 2:02 mark, and Travis Baumiller added a jumper 15 seconds later to cut the lead to 30-19. In the meantime, Clipper guard Nic Kramer picked up his third foul, and neither team could get on the board again, leaving Strasburg-Zeeland with a double-digit (30-19) lead at the break.
Strasburg-Zeeland shot 52 percent (12 of 23) from the field and hit 3 three-pointers in the first half. The Clippers also sank all three of their free throw attempts, and held a 16-9 advantage in rebounds. Linton-HMB hit on just 6 of 18 (33%) field goals, with no three-pointers, but the Lions stayed in the game by sinking 7 of 10 free throws in the half. Scherr and Kyle Nieuwsma each scored 9 points, while Cole Nieuwsma netted 6 points in the half for Strasburg- Zeeland. Schneider scored 6 points to lead Linton-HMB’s first-half scoring.
Strasburg-Zeeland went cold on offense during the second half, but the Clippers continued to play solid defense over the final two quarters. Still, Linton-HMB was able to slowly chip away at the deficit before making a run in the final period. A pair of baskets by Schneider (both on offensive rebounds) cut the lead into single digits (30-23) with less than 2:00 gone in the second half, but the Lions squandered several opportunities to cut further into the margin over the next 2:00, before Cole Nieuwsma finally got Strasburg-Zeeland on the board with a basket at the 4:15 mark.
Baskets by Baumiller and Schneider cut the lead to 32- 27 with 3:20 left in the quarter, but Linton-HMB went scoreless for another 2:00, and Mason Kramer canned a three-pointer from the right wing to push the lead back up to 8 points (35-27) with 1:25 left in the period. Ryckman and Nic Kramer traded baskets over the rest of the period to give the Clippers a 37-29 advantage heading into the fourth period.
Nic Kramer’s putback at the 6:15 mark of the final period extended the lead to double figures (39-29), but Strasburg-Zeeland would hit just one free throw over the next 3:05, and Linton-HMB responded with a 7-1 spurt to get back into the game. A pair of baskets by Humann on consecutive trips cut the margin in half (39-34) with 4:33 left, and after Kyle Nieuwsma hit a free throw for Strasburg-Zeeland, Jon Purintun sank a pair of free throws for Linton-HMB to cut the lead to 40-36 with 3:47 remaining.
Cole Nieuwsma answered with a basket on Strasburg- Zeeland’s next trip, but that would be the final field goal of the game for the Clippers, and Linton-HMB finally erased the margin with inside a minute to play. Purintun started a 6-0 run by the Lions with a basket at the 2:10 mark, and Humann made it a one-possession game (42-39) by sinking the front end of a bonus free throw attempt with 1:26 left. After a Clipper turnover, Purintun put in a three-pointer from the top of the key with :37 left to deadlock the score at 42 all.
With the shot clock off, Strasburg-Zeelandworkedfor a shot, until Brody Nieuwsma was fouled while attempting a short-range shot with :16.7 left. Nieuwsma made the second of two free throws to give Strasburg-Zeeland the lead for good (43-42), and after Humann missed a jumper from the left wing, Strasburg-Zeeland rebounded, and Scherr was eventually sent to the line for a bonus attempt with just :03.5 left.
Scherr hit both free throws for a 45-42 lead, but Linton-HMB had one final chance to tie with a threepointer. The Lions called timeout after moving the ball past half court with :02.8 left, and after another timeout, Humann took the inbound and launched a three-pointer from the top of the key that went off the back of the rim as time expired.
Strasburg-Zeeland hit on just 5 of 17 (29%) field goals in the second half, including just 2 of 10 in the final period, and finished at 43 percent (17 of 40) from the floor for the game. The Clippers committed 18 turnovers, but they sank 7 of 9 free throws (4 of 6 in the final period), and held a 30-21 advantage in rebounds, including an 8-3 margin on the offensive glass. Linton-HMB hit on just 15 of 38 (39%) field goals, including just 1 of 9 three-point attempts, but the Lions hit on 11 of 16 (69%) free throw attempts in the game.
Scherr hit a pair of three- pointers and led Strasburg-Zeeland with 11 points, while Cole Nieuwsma (5 rebounds) and Kyle Nieuwsma (3 rebounds, 2 assists) scored 10 points apiece. Nic Kramer tallied 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, and Brody Nieuwsma (6 rebounds) and Mason Kramer (5 rebounds, 4 assists) chipped in 3 points apiece for the Clippers.
Schneider finished with game-highs in points (12), rebounds (6) and steals (3), and Purintun scored 10 points (7 in the 4th quarter) for Linton-HMB. Baumiller added 7 points and 3 assists, while Ryckman (6 rebounds) and Humann netted 6 points apiece, and Brooks Flyberg, who fouled out late in the fourth quarter, grabbed 3 rebounds for the Lions.
Strasburg-Zeeland: Scotti Scherr 11, Kyle Nieuwsma 10, Cole Nieuwsma 10, Nic Kramer 8, Brody Nieuwsma 3, Mason Kramer 3.
Linton-HMB: Ryan Schneider 12, Jon Purintun 10,Travis Baumiller 7, Mason Ryckman 6, Tyler Humann 6, Brooks Flyberg 1.
3-Pointers: Strasburg-Zeeland (4-12): Scherr 2, M. Kramer 1, K. Nieuwsma 1, Linton-HMB (1-9): Purintun 1. Fouled Out: Flyberg (L-HMB).