The Sunburst boys basketball team split a pair of games this week, defeating Valier 65-36, and losing to CJI 55-29.

The Refiners traveled to Valier on Friday to play the Panthers in a 10-C matchup.

Sunburst came out of the locker room and quickly jumped out to a 20-9 lead after the first quarter. John Buckley and Conlan Kerfoot each had seven points in the stanza to get us rolling early. The Refiners pushed the lead to 36-20 at half and never looked back as they coasted to a 65-36 win. 

“I really liked the balance we had on Friday,” Sunburst coach Nate Aschim said. “Everyone was doing a nice job finding the open man, and we were taking advantage of it. That will be huge for the future for us.”

Conlan Kerfoot led the scoring with 21, John Buckley had 13, Connor Sullivan had 11, Virgil Manthey 10, Michael Miller eight, and Vince Taylor two.

Jacob Kuka hit three 3-pointers and led the Panthers with 22 points in the loss. Trae Hitchcock added four points and Jonah Horn and DeMarcus Gardipee scored three each.

The Panthers will host Simms on Friday in a game that will include a Senior Night ceremony. The contest will be varsity only, and games begin at 3 p.m.

On Saturday, Chester-Joplin-Inverness visited Sunburst for a nonconference tilt. The Hawks defense came out and stifled the Refiner offense. Despite slowing CJI’s high-powered offense down, they dominated the Refiners in a 55-29 win. The second quarter alone the Hawks won the stanza 17-5, and that was all they needed to put Sunburst away for the night. 

“I was really impressed with how CJI played defense,” Aschim said. “They are athletes and do a great job getting into your space and making you uncomfortable. Then on the offensive end, they move the ball well and put a lot of pressure on your defensive rotations. They are a good team and they whooped us.”

Scoring for Sunburst were Kerfoot 16, Sullivan five, Buckley four, and Taylor and Ian Benjamin two each.

The Refiners were set to host Dutton/Brady on Tuesday, followed by another home game Friday against Heart Butte. Games begin at 5 p.m.

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