Mills makes history against Cass Lake

New York Mills Herald The Eagles boys basketball team drew inspiration from a 1990s rapper as they made their way through the Section 6A playoffs and into the state tournament. Borrowing from lyrics by the 90s lyrical genius MC Hammer, the Eagles...

New York Mills Herald

The Eagles boys basketball team drew inspiration from a 1990s rapper as they made their way through the Section 6A playoffs and into the state tournament. Borrowing from lyrics by the 90s lyrical genius MC Hammer, the Eagles let the state know the team is Too Legit to Quit.

Many people in the state overlooked the New York Mills boys basketball team, assuming there was no way the Eagles could get past high-scoring Cass Lake-Bena in the Section 6A championship Friday.

The Eagles, armed with a solid game plan to break the Bears press, and riding the backs of Ryan Peeters and Ted Rud beat the Bears 87-68 and the boys advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history.

This game was a huge victory... not only because we were able to advance to state, but because we proved to ourselves we are able to play with anybody, head coach Bryan Dunrud said.


Dunrud added the Eagles have taken a big step forward since the Ulen-Hitterdal game in the first round of the playoffs and have improved each game from Park Christian to Norman County East to Cass Lake-Bena.

Ryan Peeters, who seems to get better each week, scored 32 points and pulled down 22 rebounds in the championship game at Concordia in Moorhead. The senior post player dominated the glass and out-rebounded the entire Cass Lake-Bena team, which finished with just 20. Mills had 48 rebounds as a team.

Peeters made 13 field goals in the game and was 6-9 from the free throw line for his game-high 32. Rud, who handled the ball masterfully in breaking the half-court trap, scored 23 for the Eagles. He had eight field goals and was 7-9 from the free throw line. Also scoring in double digits for Mills was David Klinnert, 12, and Erik Peeters, 10.

CL-B, which was ranked #4 in the state for Class A going into the game, was favored by most in the state and had scored 100 points twice in the playoffs before Friday.

The Mills defense put a stop to the scoring and had the Panthers off balance the majority of the game.

After giving up two off the opening tip the Eagles scored 14 unanswered points, capped off by a three point play by Ryan Peeters. After Rud scored the Eagles led 22-6 about midway through the first half. Mills held the lead until the Panthers went on a run to get back in the game with about four minutes remaining in the half. They cut the Eagles lead to two with 35 seconds left on the clock. Alex Helmeke scored for the Eagles with just 10 seconds remaining and the Eagles took a 38-34 lead into the lockerroom.

Mills was up by three when Ryan Peeters scored on a putback following a missed free throw to give the Eagles a 51-46 lead in the second half. A Rud 3-point play at the 8:20 mark extended the lead to 62-55 and from there the Eagles soared, continuing to beat the half-court trap. David Klinnert scored with 4:30 remaining for a 72-61 lead, and Mills made free throws down the stretch to hold off any late-game runs by the Panthers.

Concordia was extremely comfortable because our fan support was so amazing, Dunrud commented. It actually felt like a home game because of the number of people and the amount of cheering that was taking place.


State tournament

NY Mills (21-5) faces unbeaten Osakis (29-0) in the first round of the state tournament Thursday, 1 p.m., at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. Dunrud says the Silverstreaks play a completely different style of ball than the last five teams Mills has faced. They play mainly a half court man-to-man defense and rarely press, which will be another challenge for the Eagles who have mainly played against zone and pressing teams.

The players have had great attitudes throughout the playoffs and seem mentally focused and ready to make a run. It should be an exciting game against Osakis and a great state tournament to be involved with.

Osakis, ranked #2 in the state, beat Bertha-Hewitt three times this season, including the Section 5A championship last week. Mills lost to Bertha-Hewitt twice this season.

If the Eagles beat Osakis on Thursday they will advance to Fridays semifinals, noon at the Target Center, against the winner of the Stephen-Argyle Central/Ellsworth game.

The state championship game is Saturday, noon at the Target Center.

The loser on Thursday does not advance and goes home.

Thursdays game will be the first ever appearance at state for the NY Mills boys basketball team. According to local hoops historians the closest Mills had gotten over the years was in 1976 when John Karvonen and Dave Rud led the Eagles. The team reportedly had a good shot at going to state their senior season but an injury to Karvonen, who scored 1,000 points in his career, ended those hopes.

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