North Star wins on buzzer beater

GRAND FORKS – The Class B boys basketball state tournament couldn’t have had a more fitting end to the first day, especially for North Star fans.

The first two quarterfinal games were decided by two points, the third went into overtime and North Star junior Christian Kvilvang capped the night with a buzzer beater to upset No. 4 seed Beulah 52-50.

“That’s just basically, ‘Throw it up and hope the ball goes in,’ ” Kvilvang said. “We drew it up to where I was trying to get around to (Alex) Weston because you know he can hit that shot, but I saw the lane open up, threw it up and prayed that it’d go in.”

North Star (19-7) will play No. 1 seed Rugby in the second semifinal tonight at 8:30.

Beulah (19-6) was ready for overtime after senior guard Cole Messerschmidt hit a 3-pointer with nine seconds left for a 50-50 tie.

Kvilvang went the length of the court and kissed the ball off the glass as time expired.

“We were trying to spread it out as much as we could,” North Star coach Jeff Hagler said. “This is a play we put in six years ago when we came to state. This is the first time that we’ve run it, so good thing we saved it for the right time.”

The two teams met in the 2012 championship game with Beulah coming out on top.

“Obviously, it’s nice to be on the other side of it this time,” Hagler said. “They got a great, great program. Jeremy’s a heck of a coach. They got a great program and our program isn’t too bad either. We’re both NDSU-Bottineau grads, so it’s kind of fun to lock horns with him and I think we’re even at 2-2 now.”

Beulah coach Jeremy Brandt liked how his team played the final possession, but the Miners couldn’t match the Bearcats’ length.

“We knew once it got into somebody’s hands that’s the kid that was gonna take the shot, especially with nine seconds left,” Brandt said. “We wanted pressure, but we wanted to make sure our kids stayed in front of the ball, which we did. He made a contested shot. He had a little bit of a size advantage on us in that position.”

Beulah junior Luke Blood kept the Miners in the game late. He converted a 3-point play with more than five minutes remaining to cut the deficit to 45-44. Blood converted another 3-point play with 3:32 left and the Miners trailed 50-47.

Kvilvang scored a game-high 24 points, including three 3-pointers and Messerschmidt hit six 3s, finishing with 22 points.

Beulah plays New Town at 2:45 p.m. in the losers bracket.