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WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published February 28, 2012, 06:22 PM

North Star Fans, Players Bring Small-town Pride to Class B Tourney

CANDO, ND (WDAZ-TV) - The North Star boys basketball team will bring its 51-game winning streak from Cando to Grand Forks this week to defend its state title.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

CANDO, ND (WDAZ-TV) - The North Star boys basketball team will bring its 51-game winning streak from Cando to Grand Forks this week to defend its state title.

Even though they've been there before, players, coaches and fans say the tournament will be unlike anything they've experienced before.

Cando is a town of only 1,100 people, but they will make their presence known this week at the state basketball tournament.

Everyone in Cando old enough to talk is cheering on North Star this week.

"Pretty excited. The whole community loves sports and all the players and they're really supportive," North Star senior Morgan Peters said.

Fans have snatched up more than 300 tickets for the state tournament. People who ignore sports are now caught up in the madness.

"We're ecstatic. My best friend isn't even in a sport and he's excited to go watch them. I mean, it's exciting seeing your fellow classmates out on the field just having fun and winning," North Star senior Hayden Larson said.

Living in a small town gives fans more of a stake in the action.

"I know that guy! You see him on tv and he's my best friend. I eat lunch with him every day," Larson said.

North Star coach Jeff Hagler says the school has recovered from last week's heart-stopping regional tournament and should bring the noise to Grand Forks this week.

"Today the hallways are buzzing pretty good, so I think everybody's rested up over the weekend and good to go," Hagler said.

That energy will have to last until Thursday, when North Star tips off against Grafton in a re-match of last year's championship game. Star player Jacob Hagler says playing the games will be the easy part of the experience.

"The hardest part is waiting for it to happen, just waiting and waiting and thinking about it all the time," North Star player Jacob Hagler said.

The team needs to win three more games to repeat as champions.

"I'm not gonna be able to predict," Jeff Hagler said.

But the fans say they do have an idea of who will cut down the nets at the end of the day.

"Go Bearcats. Bring home the title, man," Larson said.

Hagler says his team has outplayed his expectations this year.

Most of his key players will return next year. He expects them to be even better then.

The tournament starts Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Alerus Center.

North Star tips off against Grafton at 2:45 p.m.

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