This week the Sunburst Refiners boys basketball team finished third at the District 10-C tournament in Shelby and qualified for the Divisional tournament this week in Great Falls. Sunburst will travel to Great Falls on Wednesday (today) to open the tournament against Belt at 5:30 p.m.
The Refiners kicked off the district tournament against Power and lost 54-47. They went on to defeat Augusta (54-28) and Valier (66-39) in loser-out action and then picked up a big win over Power in the consolation game on Saturday, 51-47, to qualify for the divisional tourney.
Here’s a recap of the district tourney games.
Sunburst came out a little too passive in their first game and allowed Power to take an eight-point lead after the first quarter. They battled all the way back and tied the game going into the fourth. Sunburst couldn’t get enough defensive stops to hold onto the momentum, and dropped the game 54-47.
Scoring for the Refiners were, Stanley Jarvis 22, Josh Kearns 10, Cade Hanson eight, Jaden Koon four, and Connor Sullivan three.
“It was a disappointing loss last Wednesday, but I think some of our guys who hadn’t played much at tournaments learned a lot,” said coach Nate Aschim. “We weren’t aggressive enough to create opportunities and it came back to bite us. Power did a great job penetrating our zone and getting good shots up. They were a little more experienced, and flat outplayed us.”
The Refiners were on the consolation side of the bracket for the rest of the tournament.
In their first loser out game they faced Augusta on Friday. They started more aggressive and jumped all over the Elks to defeat them 54-28.
Scoring for Sunburst were, Jarvis 12, Hanson 12, Koon 10, Sullivan eight, Grady Kerfoot four, Blake Smylie three, Wyatt Manthey two, Kearns two, Matthew Hesla one.
Coach Aschim stated, “After the win on Friday, we knew we had to put two more games together on Saturday to punch our ticket to the Northern C Divisional tournament.”
Sunburst started the push Saturday morning against a hot Valier team that had upset Cascade earlier in the tournament. Sunburst fell behind 7-2 early, but they really buckled down behind great efforts by Cade Hanson and Stanley Jarvis. The Refiners ran off a 22-1 stretch before closing the half up 34-15.
The second half was more of the same. They extended the lead to nearly 30 by the end of the third quarter.
Coach Aschim gave his regulars a much-needed rest in the fourth, and the younger guys did a good job of playing in the fourth quarter to end the game with a 66-39 victory.
Scoring for the Refiners were, Jarvis 22, Hanson 16, Koon 10, Sullivan five, Kearns five, Hesla four, G. Kerfoot three, and Conlan Kerfoot one.
The win put the Refiners in the consolation game, and a rematch with the Power Pirate team that knocked them off in the first game.
Coach Aschim pointed out, “As is the case with most consolation games, both teams were on wobbly legs to begin and the shooting was a little cold.”
Learning a lesson in the first game, Josh Kearns came out extremely aggressive, drawing fouls and going to the line. Sunburst did a good job knocking down some free throws early to establish a three-point lead after the first quarter. Unfortunately, the defense broke down in the second quarter and the Pirates outscored Sunburst 19-10 in the stanza, giving them a 28-22 lead going into the locker room at half.
In the second half, Sunburst needed to change things up a little bit and behind Jaden Koon’s defensive effort, they were able to slow Power’s offense down quite a bit and create a couple turnovers.
Sunburst slowly chipped away at the lead and finally took the lead back at the end of the third 39-38.
Both teams were eight minutes away from their season ending. In the fourth quarter, the game went back and forth again with neither team establishing a real hold. But in the waning seconds, Grady Kerfoot made the biggest play of the game. With 30 seconds to go he wrestled an offensive rebound away from a Power player and got the put back to give Sunburst a five-point lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Coach Aschim said, “We got our revenge against Power and secured a spot in the Northern C Divisional tournament for the sixth straight year, defeating the Pirates 51-47.”
Scoring for the Refiners were, Jarvis 16, Kearns 13, Hanson eight, Koon seven, G. Kerfoot four, and Sullivan three.
“I really felt like we had to earn this trophy, and although it’s only a third-place trophy, it is one that I am extremely proud of because I know how much work the boys put into earning it. I’m so proud of our guys and I’m happy they get to go to the Northern C and experience that tournament. It is traditionally one of the best in the state and it’s always an honor to be part of it. Overall, it was a fun weekend, but I’m sure the guys are exhausted. They had to put a lot into every game, but found a way to get the job done,” said Aschim.
“Now we are going to take some of that momentum into the divisional tournament and just play with nothing to lose. Hopefully we can make some waves while we are there!”