Killdeer boys set to tangle with second-seeded Beulah
Big players make big plays.
And none were bigger than the one Garrett LeMieux made late in the game that propelled the Killdeer Cowboys into the Region 7 quarterfinals Monday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center in Dickinson.
BY BRYAN GALLEGOS
The lanky 6-foot-5 junior stole the ball from a Richardton-Taylor and raced down the court and brought the near-capacity crowd in the Killdeer gym to its feet with a thunderous two-handed dunk that gave the Cowboys a little breathing room in a 65-60 victorty over the Raiders in the first round of the regional tournament Tuesday night.
“It (dunk) was in the back of my mind,” LeMieux chuckled. “It gave our team a boost.”
It was part of one heck of a night for the soft-spoken LeMieux. He scored 31 points – the second time this season he scored more than 30 points in a game. He also had 11 rebounds, five steals, an assist and a blocked shot.
Alex Sadowsky also had a big game and a double-double. He scored 18 points and pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds.
But the dunk was what people were talking about after the game.
It was part of an 8-0 run in a two-minute span that opened a 62-53 lead with two minutes to play.
But no lead is aafe in the playoffs.
The Raiders went on a 7-1 run, capped by a 3-point bomb by Brendan Butterfield that cut the lead to 63-60 with 40 seconds left.
After a Killdeer turnover, Butterfield’s bomb from the corner rimmed out.
But LeMieux made it a two-possession game when he connected on a free throw with 25 seconds left.
They secured the victory by forcing a turnover and Ty Truchan put it away with a free throw with six seconds to go.
“They stepped up when they needed to,” said Killdeer head coach Andy Murphy. “We’re playing our best basketball right now.”
In the regular season finale on Feb. 24, the Cowboys flirted with an upset of Region 7 champion Dickinson Trinity before falling to the Titans 71-60.
This was the Titans team that hammered Killdeer 77-35 in the Cowboys’ first tgame of the season.
This time around, it was Sadowsky with the hot hand with a double-double. He poured in 31 points on 13-of-20 shooting and pulled down 13 rebounds.
LeMieux scored a dozen points and Hoyt Zander scored 10 points in his final game in the Killdeer gym on Senior’s Night.
Killdeer led the heavily favored Titans 35-30 at halftime and trailed by just three points heading into the final stanza.
“That Trinity game let us know that we can play with anybody,” said LeMieux.
“In the playoffs, anybody can beat anybody,” Murphy said.
The Cowboys are going into the quarterfinal matchup with the Miners with some confidence and some hunger.
The last time the two teams met, the Miners ran away with a 64-26 victory.
“They’re fast, they’re athletic and they can shoot the ball,” said Murphy.
Beulah is 18-3 and is riding a nine-game winning streak. The Miners’ only losses have come against Dickinson Trinity, defending state champion Four Winds/Minnewaukan and highly regarded Our Redeemer’s.
“They fly all over the place,” Murphy said. “We have to play calm, cool and relaxed.”
The Cowboys have proven that they are not the same team that lost to the Miners by 38 points.
“They’ve gotten better, but we’ve gotten better, too,” Murphy said.