25 YEARS AGO: Carrington boys basketball team wins 'The B'

March 20, 2020 8:00 am

CARRINGTON – The 1995 Carrington Cardinals finished their championship season with a 26-1 overall record. The Cardinals opened up the season winning their first five games before picking up their only loss of the season at the Bismarck St. Mary’s Holiday tournament where they suffered a 72-63 setback to the Class A Mandan Braves in the semifinals. The Cardinals finished the tournament beating St. Mary’s, the host team for third place.

During the next twelve regular season games, several key district and regional matchups led to gymnasiums with standing room only crowds to watch Region 4 standouts battle on the court. Four Winds posed the toughest challenge in Carrington losing by a mere three points, 68-65. The last regular season game was highly anticipated as Dakota Prairie-Tolna traveled to Carrington. Jim Kleinsasser, Aaron Wick and Randy Habeck led the scoring attack as the Cardinals prevailed 68-52. The Cardinals finished the regular season by posting a 17-1 record heading into district tournament play.

The Cardinals claimed the District 8 Championship in New Rockford by beating Pettibone-Robinson, Bowdon-Hurdsfield-Sykeston, and Harvey in the championship game 66-55. Four Cardinals – Kleinsasser, Habeck, Wick, and Rob March – were named to the All-District Team.

The No. 1-ranked Cardinals then took to the hardwood at Devils Lake looking to capture the Region 4 championship. Carrington’s opening round opponent, New Rockford was no match as the Cardinals won 86-55. The semifinal matchup with Minnewaukan-Sheyenne stayed close for half the game, but a dominant second half put the Cardinals in the championship game by a 65-45 margin. The Cardinals then faced off against a District 8 foe, the Harvey Hornets for the third time of the season. Another close game for a half, but once again the Cardinals put together an impressive second half to win 75-59. All-Region performers included Kleinsasser and Habeck.

The Cardinals faced the Oakes Tornadoes in the State Tournament opener at the Minot Dome. It was a slow start for Carrington, but they put together an impressive second and fourth quarter to secure an 80-62 first-round win. Five Cardinal players scored in double figures.

The semifinal match-up ended up being the best game of the tournament. The young, athletic team from May-Port-C-G played very well in a closely-contested game. Late in the game, Habeck stole the ball from a Patriots player as they attempted to stall for the last shot. He was fouled while attempting to score the game-winning layup. Habeck proceeded to make both free throws to clinch a 54-52 victory. The Cardinals finished the night going 15 of 16 from the free-throw line.

In the championship game against Grenora, the Cardinals jumped out to an 11-3 first quarter lead and never looked back as they led the game at all quarter stops. The final score of 41-30 represented a hard-nosed defensive effort by both squads. Jim Kleinsasser was voted Most Valuable Player of the tournament and Randy Habeck was also selected to the all-tournament team.

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