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NP boys cruise in district opener

North Polk’s Max Karpinski tries to get a shot over Colfax-Mingo’s James Stoecker during the second half of the Comets’ 65-37 Class 2A district quarterfinal win over the Tigerhawks Monday in Alleman.
North Polk’s Max Karpinski tries to get a shot over Colfax-Mingo’s James Stoecker during the second half of the Comets’ 65-37 Class 2A district quarterfinal win over the Tigerhawks Monday in Alleman.
North Polk’s Reed Smith drives along the baseline during the Comets’ district victory over Colfax-Mingo Monday.
North Polk’s Reed Smith drives along the baseline during the Comets’ district victory over Colfax-Mingo Monday.
Austin Hillebo
Austin Hillebo
Brett Haun
Brett Haun
Chris Flynn
Chris Flynn
Russell Greene
Russell Greene
Ryley Sandberg
Ryley Sandberg

ALLEMAN – A focused and determined North Polk boys’ basketball team took care of business against Colfax-Mingo in Class 2A district quarterfinal competition Monday in Alleman.

The Comets jumped out to a big early lead and were never threatened in a 65-37 victory.

“We knew if we just came out and played a steady and controlled game we would get an easy W,” North Polk senior Ryley Sandberg said. “If we played under control and treated it like every other game, we knew we could come out and dominate.”

North Polk took it to a winless Tigerhawk team in the first quarter. The Comets jumped out to an 11-point lead, and by halftime their advantage was 36-16.

With the big lead, North Polk started to get a little too relaxed in the third quarter.

Sandberg was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws to give North Polk a 43-18 lead with two minutes, 56 seconds left in the third quarter. But Colfax-Mingo followed with a 9-1 run to close out the quarter.

Guard Brett Haun helped North Polk right the ship in the fourth quarter. Haun scored 10 of his 11 points in a two-minute stretch to start the fourth quarter, pushing North Polk’s lead to 55-31 in the process.

“Someone needed to jump-start us,” Haun said. “I thought I’d give us a little shot in the arm.”

Haun’s big spurt put the game away as North Polk will take a 10-12 record into tonight’s district semifinals versus West Marshall.

North Polk ended up with a very efficient night on offense.

The Comets shot an outstanding 63 percent from the field (22 of 35). They had 10 assists on 22 field goals and finished with six players scoring at least six points.

“We know every team is going to really key in on Russ (Greene),” Sandberg said. “So we have to make sure to get everyone shooting well and defending well. If we play as a team, we’re tough to beat.”

Sandberg went 5 of 6 from the field, 1 of 1 from 3-point range and 3 of 5 at the line, scoring a team-high 14 points for North Polk. Haun ended up with 11 points and five steals, and Greene produced 11 points and six rebounds.

Austin Hillebo hit three 3-pointers and just missed the double-figure scoring mark with nine points. He also handed out three assists.

Blake Brauer chipped in eight points and three assists, Max Karpinski netted six points, Reed Smith scored three, Chris Flynn put up two and Grant Rampton tacked on one point for the Comets.

North Polk’s district semifinal game with West Marshall will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday in State Center.

North Polk 65, Colfax-Mingo 37

C-M 9 7 11 10 – 37

NP 20 16 8 21 – 65

North Polk (65) – Ryley Sandberg 5-6 3-5 14, Russell Greene 4-4 3-4 11, Brett Haun 4-6 1-2 11, Austin Hillebo 3-6 0-0 9, Blake Brauer 2-3 3-5 8, Max Karpinski 3-5 0-0 6, Reed Smith 1-1 1-5 3, Chris Flynn 0-1 2-2 2, Grant Rampton 0-1 1-2 1, Berke Osborne 0-0 0-2 0, Hunter Dark 0-1 0-0 0, Jonah Claussen 0-1 0-0 0, Patrick Jones 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-35 14-28 65. 3-point field goals (7): Hillebo 3, Haun 2, Sandberg, Brauer. Rebounds (30): Greene 6. Assists (10): Hillebo 3, Brauer 3. Steals (14): Haun 5. Blocks: None.

JEWELL – North Polk wasn’t quite able to deny South Hamilton a conference championship Feb. 11 in Jewell as the Comets sputtered late in a 72-64 loss.

As one of the two teams to beat South Hamilton in conference player earlier in the season, North Polk showed no fear at Jewell. The Comets came out strong and by halftime they had a 32-25 lead.

South Hamilton closed the gap in the third quarter, but North Polk was still in control. The Comets took a 49-45 lead into the fourth quarter.

But in the final period South Hamilton erupted for 27 points to move in front to stay.

The victory gave South Hamilton the conference title with a 16-2 record. North Polk finished 9-9 in the HOIC.

North Polk lost despite strong shooting from the field (24 of 42) and 3-point range (7 of 17). The Comets struggled from the line (9 of 18) and South Hamilton went 16 of 20 from the charity stripe.

South Hamilton also outrebounded North Polk by a 25-20 margin.

Russell Greene had 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for North Polk in the loss. Blake Brauer chipped in 16 points after making 6 of 9 field goals and 3 of 5 3-pointers; Ryley Sandberg added 13 points, four assists and two steals.

Trevor Ullestad hit 3 of 4 3-pointers and led South Hamilton with 18 points. He also had four assists and three steals.

Andrew Wintermote added 15 points and five rebounds, Collin Hill produced 13 points and four boards and Matt Hislop contributed 11 points and four assists for the Hawks.

South Hamilton 72, North Polk 64

NP 14 18 17 15 – 64

SH 12 13 20 27 – 72

North Polk (64) – Russell Greene 7-11 5-8 19, Brett Haun 1-4 0-0 2, Dillon McBee 1-3 0-0 3, Reed Smith 2-3 2-4 6, Austin Hillebo 1-3 0-1 3, Ryley Sandberg 5-8 1-1 13, Max Karpinski 1-1 0-0 2, Grant Rampton 0-0 0-0 0, Blake Brauer 6-9 1-4 16. Totals: 24-42 9-18 64. 3-point field goals (7): Brauer 3, Sandberg 2, McBee, Hillebo. Rebounds (20): Greene 10. Assists (12): Sandberg 4. Steals (6): Sandberg 2. Blocks (3): Greene 3.

South Hamilton (72) – Trevor Ullestad 6-12 3-4 18, Matt Hislop 3-9 4-6 11, Trevor Smith 1-4 3-4 5, Ross Enderson 1-4 0-0 2, Collin Hill 4-10 4-4 13, Jacob Ratzke 0-1 0-0 0, Zach Zoske 1-1 0-0 2, Zach Puls 2-4 0-0 4, Caleb Olson 0-0 0-0 0, Andrew Wintermote 6-9 2-2 15, Nathan McSparin 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 25-56 16-20 72. 3-point field goals (6): Ullestad 3, Hislop, Hill, Wintermote. Rebounds (25): Puls 5, Wintermote 5. Assists (16): Ullestad 4, Hislop 4, Smith 4. Steals (8): Ullestad 3. Blocks (2): Puls 2.

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