Men's Basketball Rebounds To Defeat Red River In NIAC Quarterfinal
After Red River's Steve Williamson tied the 2018 NIAC Men's Basketball quarterfinals 72-72 with 18 seconds remaining on the game clock, Kniel Sullera knocked down one of two free throws and stole the inbound pass at the buzzer to give CMU a 73-72 win, sending the #6 seed into today's Championship Semifinal.
It was the first edition of the Route 90 Showdown to take place south of the border and a week after their disappointing MCAC Championship FInal defeat, CMU found themselves ahead by ten as the Winnipeg rivals reached halftime, 41-31. A noteworthy part of their first half performance was the Blazers success in protecting the basketball, limiting their turnovers to just four in the opening 20 minutes.
NIck Kasmik held a hot hand for CMU and seemed determined to create offense. The Kelvin Clippers product went 4 for 10 from the field, hitting on 1 of 3 from beyond the arc, to end the half with 10 points. The dynamic rookie would lead the Blazers on the day with 18 while adding 5 rebounds and helped his team open their largest lead of the day, 32-16 midway through the first half.
6'2 guard Jaden Harms was faced with the difficult task of matching up against Rebels power forward Mark Ridd. Giving up a bit in his offensive production, Harms limited the 6'8 sensation to 8 first half points, allowing only 10 to the big-man in the game. Harms would also limit Ridd's production on the glass, as the former Oak Park Raider was able to grab hold of only 8 rebounds in 29 minutes of court time. Harms would score 10 of his own while adding 4 steals and 5 rebounds to quietly put his mark on his team's win.
The Rebels were led by an inspired Williamson, who was forced to leave the game early for treatment to his knee, but returned to lead Red River with 25 points on 6 of 22 shooting while pounding the boards for 10 rebounds. WIlliamson rallied his team in the second half to close the gap and his aggressiveness allowed Chris Demauleon-Bartolay to find his rhythm in his jump shot. Demauleon-Bartolay led the Rebels backcourt with 21 points while adding 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
In other quarterfinal action, #8 Trinity Bible College upset #1 Sisseton-Wahpeton College 94-93, eliminating the Mustangs and sending the Lions into the semifinals against the #5 Providence Pilots. The Blazers will match-up with #2 Leech Lake Lakers who advanced past the Turtle Mountain Mighty Mikinocks 77-53 on Friday evening. The Blazers and Lakers meet at 4:00 pm today at Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten, North Dakota.