Beulah throttles Mott-Regent 79-41 in Region 7 semifinals
All it takes is one mistake, one opening and the Beulah boys basketball team finds a way to make its opponents pay.
On Tuesday night, that mistake happened in the waning seconds of the first quarter when Mott-Regent junior Tyler Zentner reached for a loose ball before letting it go out of bounds and unknowingly giving Beulah back the possession of the basketball.
On the ensuing in-bounds pass, the Miners found senior Jesse Hettich at the top of the key for a 3-pointer just as time expired. That shot sparked a momentum swing that helped Beulah turn a two-point game into a double-digit advantage that they added to until the final buzzer of the Region 7 Tournament semifinal game.
The No. 1-ranked Miners had a balanced offensive effort en route to a 79-41 drubbing of Mott-Regent at Knights of Columbus Activities Center, setting up a showdown against No. 3 Dickinson Trinity at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Region 7 championship game.
"They're the No. 1 team in the state for a reason," Mott-Regent head coach Wayne Heckaman said.
It took Beulah two and a half minutes to build its 20-15 first-quarter lead into a 28-15 advantage after senior Trevor Zacher hit a 3-pointer in transition. The Miners never let the Wildfire get any closer than 10 the rest of the way.
"I thought that was a big one in transition too," Beulah head coach Jeremy Brandt said. "That really got us momentum. I thought our kids played pretty well defensively. We got behind some cutters once in a while and the Zentner kid made some plays."
Mott-Regent senior guard Taylor Zentner scored a game-high 25 points and had his team fighting early, but the defending Class B state champion Miners (23-0) were just too much for the Wildfire (15-8) to handle as they rolled to their 39th consecutive win dating back to last season.
"Karson Hintz did a great job on Zentner," Hettich said. "If he scores a lot, you don't let the other guys score."
Zentner scored 11 of his team's 13 points in the second half as the Miners pulled away. He was 8 of 22 from the field and 8 of 9 at the free-throw line.
"We came out and we were right there," Heckaman said. "You know, a few breaks here and a bucket there and a rebound here and a change of momentum and it might be a different story."
The Wildfire face Heart River at 6 p.m. Thursday in the third-place game that is a rematch of the District 13 championship game.
As the game wore on it, however, it was clear Beulah wasn't going to let Mott-Regent have much of a say in the result.
Zacher finished with 21 points and seven rebounds while Hettich had 17 points, six rebounds, five steals and three blocks. Senior Randi Julson added 11 points and five rebounds off the bench and Noah Iverson added 10 points.
Beulah shot 30 of 57 (53 percent) from the field and 14 of 19 (74 percent) from the free-throw line.
"These guys have been through this before," Brandt said. "They know what it takes."
The Miners turned a 41-28 halftime lead into a 60-37 advantage by the end of the third quarter.
Beulah held a 43-25 advantage on the boards, an edge compounded on when Mott-Regent senior post Jonah Honeyman fouled out midway through the third quarter.
"We used our size and advantage big time," Hettich said. "We've got to box out a little better, but we got some rebounds and we just had the momentum."
MR 15 28 37 41
Beulah 20 41 60 79
MR: Taylor Zentner 25, Tyler Zentner 9, Logan Haberstroh 4, Austin Kautzman 2, Jonah Honeyman 1.
B: Trevor Zacher 21, Jesse Hettich 17, Randi Julson 11, Noah Iverson 10, Cody Nelson 6, Casey Walcker 5, Cole Messerschmidt 3, Alec Battest 2, Jett Hettich 2, Karson Hintz 2.
3-pointers: MR 1 (Tay. Zentner 1), B 5 (Zacher 2, Jes. Hettich 1, Messerschmidt 1, Julson 1).
Free throws: MR 12-15, B 14-19. Total fouls: MR 15, B 16. Fouled out: Honeyman. Rebounds: MR 25 (Ty. Zentner 6), B 43 (Zacher 7). Assists: MR 11 (Honeyman 4), B 13 (Nelson 4). Steals: MR 8 (Tay. Zentner 3, Honeyman 3), B 16 (Jes. Hettich 5). Blocks: MR 4 (Tay. Zentner 2, Ty. Zentner 2), B 7 (Hettich 3). Turnovers: MR 23, B 20.