CRYSTAL CITY, Mo. – Bismarck boys basketball coach Joe Jackson walked toward the end of his bench and pumped both fists as the final seconds ticked away in the first half.
After his fifth-seeded Indians polished off an impressive 57-40 victory and bracket upset in the opening round of the Class 2, District 4 tournament on Monday, the reaction was subdued.
The first opposing player to greet Jackson for an embrace in the handshake line was son Carter Jackson, whose senior season and varsity career were suddenly done.
Bismarck (6-20) snapped a seven-game losing streak and avenged a regular-season defeat at the hands of the neighboring Vikings with superior energy from the outset.
Tanner Martinez produced a game-high 17 points plus nine rebounds, and the Indians never trailed to secure a semifinal clash with top seed Valle Catholic as scheduled for Wednesday.
While both teams unofficially ended with 21 turnovers, the more aggressive tone was established by Bismarck through its work along the offensive glass.
Sven Wilson grabbed 10 rebounds and scored two early baskets while Martinez earned second-chance free throws. Junior guard Gavin Butery provided the defensive spark.
Butery made four steals, and coaxed a five-second violation on the perimeter before a transition layup by Trevor Politte handed Bismarck an 11-6 lead through one quarter.
Valley (10-15) was hindered by seven giveaways over the first seven minutes, and struggled to spring its dangerous 3-point threats throughout much of the afternoon.
Freshman guard Drew McClain was the exception with three 3-pointers off the bench, and tried to keep the Vikings afloat with 11 of his team-high 13 points in the second quarter.
Bismarck refused to relent before halftime. Daven Miller and Butery each dished interior assists in traffic that Martinez finished before scoring twice more through contact.
Politte found Garrett Mork in the right corner to match a McClain 3-pointer, and Bismarck stormed into the locker room holding a 33-20 advantage.
Valley responded to allow no field goals through five minutes of the third quarter, but could only trim three points off its deficit during that span.
Colby Maxwell made it 34-26 by draining a jumper in the lane, but the Indians answered with a crucial 11-4 push before the stanza concluded.
Miller hit a key 3-pointer out of a scramble, and Butery streaked to the trim for a layup and 45-30 lead with 5 seconds left after a heavy collision on a shot at the other end drew no whistles.
Politte drew a charging foul early in the fourth, and finished a fast break before two Butery free throws created the maximum separation at 54-35.
Butery and Politte each contributed 12 points to the victory. The Indians finished a collective 16-of-29 from the line compared to 9-of-20 by the Vikings.
K.J. Tiefenauer reached double digits with 10 points, and Maxwell added eight for Valley. Carter Jackson compiled 10 rebounds, six points and three steals.
New Haven walloped Viburnum 64-15, and Crystal City topped Principia 49-38 in the other half of the bracket.