Warriors Upset 18th Ranked Jimmies

Falmata Tula came up with the swat, Kaden Verdin grabbed the rebound, and the Warriors claimed the upset win on the road.

Waldorf men’s basketball team continued a recent tradition of upsets over Top-25 foes, topping host and 18th-ranked Jamestown, 71-68, on Friday night in North Star Athletic Association action.

“I’m proud of how our guys played,” Waldorf head coach Nigel Jenkins said, “it was a battle until the end and we found a way to win.”

The Warriors (5-7 overall, 2-0 NSAA) battled out to a 24-18 lead in the opening half after a Brian Smith 3-pointer, led 43-37 early in the second half following a Jordan Portee basket, and pushed their advantage to as much as 55-46 with 11 minutes to play on a Verdin deuce.

But the highly-ranked Jimmies (9-5, 0-3) battled back with a 14-3 run that set up a fantastic finish.

A basket by Verdin put Waldorf on top, 66-65 with a minute and a half left, then the Warriors inched toward the upset one free throw at a time, and with stingy defense.

Verdin tossed in two freebies, as did Tula, and Portee had one more, giving Waldorf just enough offense for the upset.

An upset secured on the defensive end as Portee made a steal to thwart one Jamestown possession, the Jimmies missed on two more shot attempts, and a swat by Tula and rebound by Verdin helped ice the victory in the final 10 seconds.

“Those guys are good,” Jenkins said of the Jimmies. “Our defense did a very good job down the stretch.”

Helping secure yet another Top-25 upset for the Jenkins-led Warriors, who in the past four season secured no less than two victories a year over Top 25 foes, including an upset of then No.2-ranked Cardinal Stritch in the 2014-15 season (69-68). Friday’s win was the 11th in the past four-plus seasons over a ranked opponent for the Warriors.

A Waldorf team playing with confidence as it continues a weekend road-trip by playing at Valley City State on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Verdin led the Warriors with 18 points and nine rebounds in the win, while Tula added 16 points, along with his key block, and Kuchinka scored 13 for Waldorf.