Landon Koenig against LLM

MayPort-CG senior Landon Koenig, right, drives against LaMoure-Litchville-Marion’s Connor Johnson in the championship game of last week’s Barnes County Tournament in Valley City, N.D.

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – MayPort-CG head coach Taylor Kunkel had to love the way his team played in the opening moments of the Barnes County boys basketball tournament’s championship game.

After knocking off Wyndmere-Lidgerwood and Richland in the eight-team tourney, the Patriots bolted out to a 16-1 lead against LaMoure-Litchville-Marion 10 minutes into the title game on Friday, Jan. 6.

But the Loboes bounced back from the early deficit and clawed their way to a 40-37 win, outscoring the Patriots 26-14 in the second half to snap MPCG’s five-game winning streak.

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“This was definitely one that got away,” Kunkel said afterward. “But we can learn a lot about ourselves playing in a tournament atmosphere in a game like this.”

MPCG (5-2) seemed to have the upper hand through a majority of the first half against the Loboes and head coach Tyler Thielges, who beat Barnes County North and Standing Rock to reach the title game.

Patriots 6-foot-6 senior center Landon Koenig opened the contest with a 3-pointer and scored seven of his 11 points in the first quarter to help MPCG race out to an 11-1 lead.