Thompson among state B leaders in scoring
THOMPSON, N.D.—In his 19 seasons as a high school basketball coach, Brandy George has always prioritized one part of the game.
"I've always preached defense,'' said George, in his sixth season as the Thompson boys basketball coach. "That goes back to the days when I played at Mayville State. I've always been defense first.
"If you can play good defense, that can create some easy shots for your offense. But we've been lucky the last few years because we have some pretty gifted offensive players. We've been pretty good on both ends of the court.''
Good on the offensive end may be an understatement for the Tommies, who play Four Winds-Minnewaukan at 4:15 p.m. today in the final game of the annual Compton Memorial/South Forks Lions Shootout at Grand Forks Central High School.
Thompson (13-2) goes into the game with a 73.7 points-per-game average, the fourth-highest in the state's Class B ranks entering the weekend.
That's an improvement of almost eight points a game compared to the 65.8 average of last season's Region 2 runner-up Tommies team.
"We've all played together for awhile,'' said Thompson junior point guard Cadyn Schwabe. "I think we're more confident in each other and in what we can do. And we put in the time in the offseason to improve.''
Schwabe averages 15.3 points to go with 5.1 assists per game. In the frontcourt, senior Tyler Hegg (18 ppg, 9.6 rpg) and junior Hayden Overby (14.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg) both are close to averaging double doubles.
"I don't know that we'd consider ourselves a great shooting team,'' George said. "We've had games where we've shot well; others where we haven't. I'd like to see us more consistent.
"But we haven't had to rely on (perimeter shooting). Our inside game with Cole Sorby (8.1 ppg), Tyler Hegg, Hayden Overby has done very well. All three of them are pretty athletic. They have good skills. And they work hard to get into good position.''
And a lot of that offense goes back to the defense in which George takes pride. Despite the fast-paced style Thompson tries to play, the Thompson allow only 48.8 points a game—the lowest in George's tenure at Thompson.
"I think you have to be a defense-first team,'' Schwabe said. "We really pride ourselves in our defense. And if we can get after it on defense, that seems to get the tempo up. We like to get out and go.''
The Tommies average 10.4 steals a game. They're shooting 52 percent from the field. Those numbers go hand in hand.
" I knew we'd be able to score,'' George said. "The big thing was if we would be able to get some stops. And we've improved in that area. We're better defensively than we've been.
"We've shot a lot of layups. That's a credit to our athleticism and our defense.''
Compton Memorial/SF Lions Shootout
• When: Today
• Where: GF Central High School
• Schedule: Cavalier vs. EGF Senior High, 11 a.m.; Sacred Heart vs. Win-E-Mac, 12:30 p.m.; Crookston vs. Park River/Fordville-Lankin, 2:45 p.m.; Thompson vs. Four Winds-Minnewaukan, 4:15 p.m.
• Of note: There will be free-throw, 3-point and dunk contests beginning at 2 p.m.