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Press Photo by Royal McGregor Beulah senior guard Cole Messerschmidt, left, goes for a 3-pointer against New England junior forward Mason Stang during the Region 7 Tournament semifinals on Tuesday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

Miners handle, cruise by Tigers to reach finals

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The Beulah and New England boys basketball teams weren’t shy about shooting the long ball.

The teams combined for 30 3-point attempts.

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However, once the top-seeded Miners started on a roll, the No. 4-seed Tigers couldn’t stop them.

“We were a little short on energy after our battle (against Killdeer on Monday),” New England head coach Luke Powers said. “We wanted to switch up between man and zone and do different things to get a little rest every now and again. Every time we were in someone’s face, they shot the ball and it seemed like they all went in.”

Beulah held a 23-point halftime lead and didn’t give up much ground in the second half en route to a 64-46 win over New England during the Region 7 semifinals on Tuesday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

“Offensively, we had a nice start,” Beulah head coach Jeremy Brandt said. “I was a little disappointed defensively, but offensively we were able to counter that. It was one of those nights where kids made shots. It was nice first half without a doubt and we started to settle in defensively as the half went on too.”

In the first half, Beulah was 14 of 30 (47 percent) from the field. The Miners were even better from beyond the arc going 7 of 14.

The Tigers — at times — couldn’t find the bottom of the basket. In the first quarter, New England jumped out to an 8-6 lead with 5 minutes, 23 seconds remaining. Over the next 4 minutes, the Miners (17-5) went on a 12-0 run.

“That’s one thing that we really like about this team is that we don’t have to rely on one person for all of our scoring,” Beulah senior forward Randi Julson said. “Anyone could get hot any night. It always helps your defensive momentum when you can knock shots down.”

Beulah’s 12-0 run also marked the team’s first double-digit lead — 18-8 — after Julson hit back-to-back free throws. The closest the Tigers came in the final 26 minutes was nine after Gavin Fitterer hit one free throw as the Miners had a 18-9 lead.

Julson, Casey Walcker and Cole Messerschmidt each finished with a team-high 13 points. Julson also finished with six rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

The Miners continued to increase their lead in the second quarter. Beulah’s biggest lead was 23 points when Julson closed out the first-half scoring with a pair of free throws.

The Miners didn’t slow down in the second half. Beulah maintained its high double-digit lead throughout a majority of the final 16 minutes. Beulah’s Luke Blood came off the bench for nine points and three rebounds, while Jett Hettich supplied six points, five assists and three rebounds.

New England (19-4) junior forward Ty Nordby finished with a game-high 14 points and seven rebounds. John Urlacher — a junior guard — had 12 points, while sophomore guard Brady Bender chipped in 11.

The Tigers’ leading scorer junior forward Daniel Prince suffered a sprained ankle in the final minutes of the quarterfinals game against Killdeer on Monday. The ankle swelled up to the size of a softball, but Prince played nearly 30 minutes and finished with seven rebounds and six points.

“That was awfully mentally and physically tough of him,” Powers said. “I know and his teammates appreciate him stepping up and fighting. It was hard for him. He couldn’t explode and he does a lot for us offensively. It just wasn’t there tonight.”

Beulah plays No. 3-seed Hazen for the Region 7 championship at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

New England hopes to close out its season with 20 wins during the third place game against No. 2-seed Dickinson Trinity at 6 p.m.

“The kids feel good that they have the opportunity on Thursday, we’ll take advantage of that and play our best game,” Brandt said. “We want to give ourselves the best chance on Thursday night.”

New England 9 19 31 46

Beulah 18 42 51 64

NE: Ty Nordby 14, John Urlacher 12, Brady Bender 11, Daniel Prince 6, Mason Stang 2, Gavin Fitterer 1.

B: Randi Julson 13, Casey Walcker 13, Cole Messerschmidt 13, Luke Blood 9, Jett Hettich 6, Alec Battest 4, Ty Schaper 3, Mason Brouwer 3.

3-pointers: NE 3 (Urlacher 2, Bender 1), B 8 (Walcker 3, Messerschmidt 3, Schaper 1, Julson 1). Free throws: NE 17-23, B 8-12. Total fouls: NE 15, B 20. Fouled out: NE, Nordby. Rebounds: NE 32 (Nordby 7, Prince 7), B 33 (Julson 6). Assists: NE 6 (Hunter Wolf 2, Stang 2), B 17 (Julson 6). Steals: NE 11, B 9 (three tied with two). Blocks: NE 1 (Nordby 1), B 2 (Julson 2). Turnovers: NE 10, B 12. Records: NE 19-4, B 17-5.

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Royal McGregor
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