Heart River blasts Richardton-Taylor in Region 7 quarterfinals
The Heart River boys basketball team desperately wants to upset the Region 7 apple cart this week.
On Monday night, the Cougars took their first step toward doing that.
Heart River caught fire early and never let up, blasting Richardton-Taylor for a 78-41 victory in the Region 7 Tournament quarterfinals at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
"We wanted to make a statement," Heart River senior guard Seth Ewoniuk said. "We wanted to come out and play like we were the No. 1 seed and that's what we ended up doing in the first quarter and the second half."
The Cougars, who won the District 13 championship on the same floor a week earlier, were all but unstoppable in the second half as they shot 19 of 26 (73 percent) from the field to expand on a 31-22 halftime lead with strong play by seniors Riley Obrigewitch and Isaiah Marschner in the post to compliment Ewoniuk and junior Tyson Kudrna on the perimeter.
"We have an inside team and an outside team," Heart River head coach Greg Pruitt said. "But we've always got to go inside out. We can't settle for the outside shots without getting post touches. Most of the time when we get post touches, good things happen. That was our game plan and we've got to stick with that."
Ewoniuk scored 11 of his 14 points in the first quarter and dished out eight assists the rest of the way.
Obrigewitch had 14 points and five boards while Kudrna added 12 points and five assists. Marschner and seniors Cole Hecker and Brady Olson each added seven points.
"Everybody stepped up tonight," Pruitt said. "We had great bench play tonight. We had great minutes and I think that wore Richardton-Taylor down, so tomorrow we'll have to see."
The Cougars (18-4) face No. 3-ranked Dickinson Trinity, the tournament host, at 7:30 p.m. today in the semifinals. Two of Heart River's four losses came against Trinity at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
"Everyone is beatable in regionals," Ewoniuk said. "It's going to be tough, but it's going to be tough for them too."
Senior Chad Gullickson did what he could to will the Raiders (12-10) back into the game after Heart River scored the first six points of the third quarter to go ahead 37-22.
While Gullickson scored 11 of his team-high 16 points, it wasn't nearly enough to stop the bleeding. He added eight boards.
Senior Ryder Bohlman added 11 points while junior Lane Voltz, who averages 19 points per game, was held to six points and six rebounds.
"When you're only holding the ball for seven seconds on the offensive side of the floor and you're not making your shots, it's going to cost you the game," Richardton-Taylor head coach Rob Bartz said. "They did a good job of bottling up Voltz. Chad took over like he has all year. He's been the kid who has stepped up for the most part, and attacked the rim."
Heart River expanded their lead late in the fourth quarter when both teams emptied their benches. The Cougars scored the last 13 points of the game.
It was a good season for the Raiders, who doubled their combined win total from the past three seasons thanks to a senior-led team that had, until Monday, never been a part of a Region 7 Tournament.
"It was good for the kids to get here," Bartz said. "They're upset they didn't show up as well as they thought they should have tonight. But those young kids, at least they know they can get here now. It was huge. It's good for the program."
RT 12 22 33 41
HR 24 31 56 78
RT: Chad Gullickson 16, Ryder Bohlman 11, Lane Voltz 7, Paul Koppinger 6, Kasey Dressler 2, Coal Kuntz 2.
HR: Seth Ewoniuk 14, Riley Obrigewitch 14, Tyson Kudrna 12, Cole Hecker 7, Isaiah Marschner 7, Brady Olson 7, Kyle Schoch 7, Cole Olson 4, Jordan Wagner 4, Paul Hutzenbiler 2.
3-pointers: RT 1 (Bohlman), HR 7 (Kudrna 3, Ewoniuk 1, Hecker 1, B. Olson 1, Schoch 1). Free throws: RT 8-18, HR 13-27. Total fouls: RT 23, HR 18. Rebounds: RT 36 (Dressler 8, Gullickson 8), HR 37 (Obrigewitch 5). Assists: RT 8 (Koppinger 3), HR 20 (Ewoniuk 8). Steals: RT 5 (five with 1), HR 11 (Ewoniuk 3, Kudrna 3). Blocks: RT 4 (Bohlman 3), HR 3 (Obrigewitch 2). Turnovers: RT 21, HR 8. Records: RT 12-10, HR 18-4.