Miners march to title: Beulah beats Hazen for Region 7 championship, punches ticket to state
If the Region 7 championship game wasn’t Randi Julson’s best defensive performance of his career, it was close.
“It’s got to be up there,” Julson said with a smile. “Everyone on Hazen is hard to guard and I usually end up guarding a few different people throughout the night. I switched from post to guard to wing all throughout the game. We just came with the right mentality tonight.”
Beulah extended its win streak to 16 and punched its ticket to the North Dakota Class B state tournament with a 60-53 victory over Hazen on Thursday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
Julson wasn’t the only player with a solid defensive performance, as the rest of the Miners followed suit. Beulah held the Bison to 18 of 61 (30 percent) from the field.
“Defensively, we played well and we played hard,” Beulah head coach Jeremy Brandt said. “I really thought we defended real well and we rebounded pretty well. Those were the two things we talked about coming in.”
Beulah (19-5) didn’t have trouble finding the bottom of the basket going 21 of 48 (44 percent). The Miners also went 6 of 11 from 3-point range and 12 of 18 from the free-throw line.
Hazen head coach Randy Johnson said Beulah played with defensive intensity throughout the entire game.
“We have to give Beulah a lot of credit,” said Johnson, who was named Region 7 coach of the year. “They did a job defensively on us. We didn’t shoot the ball very well and playing in a game of this nature you have to put some points up too. Our kids fought hard. We just didn’t get it done.”
In a game which both opponents knew each other quite well, the teams took a few minutes to get settled in.
In the first 4 minutes of the game there was a total of seven points. However, over the next 4 minutes, each team went back-and-forth as Beulah junior guard Jett Hettich drained a 3-pointer for the final points in the quarter. Hettich finished with a game-high 16 points, four assists and three rebounds.
“Once we got going a little bit, things started to pick up,” Brandt said. “It took three or four minutes, but you can expect that in this type of game.”
During the second quarter, Beulah and Hazen traded leads. The Miners took the lead for good after Cole Messerschmidt and Hettich hit back-to-back 3-pointers. The pair of 3’s helped Beulah take a 30-22 lead.
Hazen senior forward Austin Cieslak scored the final two points in the half. Cieslak ended with 13 rebounds and 11 points.
In the second half, the Miners continued to extend its lead and had their first double-digit advantage — 39-28 — after junior forward Luke Blood supplied a putback. Blood ended with 14 points and eight rebounds.
The closest Hazen (19-5) came to retaking the lead was five points — 53-48 — after freshman forward Wyatt Carr hit a pair of free throws.
Cielsak, who was named Region 7 player of the year, said it was tough to see the time run out.
“It was pure devastation watching the clock hit zero and us being down,” he said. “We are happy for Beulah, because they are going to go into state and they are going to do well.”
Beulah sophomore forward Casey Walcker finished with 10 points and four rebounds, while Messerschmidt added seven points.
Kyle Lindquist — a Hazen senior guard — had 15 points and four steals. Carr posted 12 points and seven rebounds.
Julson, who was a bench player for the Miners when they won the 2012 North Dakota Class B state title, said there’s a little more excitement heading back to state.
“It definitely sweeter this time, because you feel like you did more to get there,” he said with a smile. “It is more rewarding.”
Hazen 14 24 37 53
Beulah 14 30 45 60
H: Kyle Lindquist 15, Wyatt Carr 12, Austin Cieslak 11, Josh Erhardt 8, Collin Maas 4, Conner Doll 3.
B: Jett Hettich 16, Luke Blood 14, Randi Julson 12, Casey Walcker 10, Cole Messerschmidt 7, Ty Schaper 1.
3-pointers: H 3 (Erhardt 2, Lindquist 1), B 6 (Walcker 2, Hettich 2, Julson 1, Messerschmidt 1). Free throws: H 14-26, B 12-18. Total fouls: H 19, B 19. Rebounds: H 38 (Cieslak 13), B 39 (Julson 10). Assists: H 10 (Dominick Opp 2, Doll 2), B 12 (Hettich 4). Steals: H 16 (Lindquist 4), B 12 (Julson 4). Blocks: H 2 (Cieslak 1, Lindquist 1), B 8 (Julson 6). Turnovers: H 11, B 16. Records: H 19-5, B 19-5.
Trinity rallies in final minutes to beat Tigers
The No. 2-seed Dickinson Trinity boys basketball team survived a comeback from No. 4-seed New England.
The Tigers committed five turnovers in five possessions in the final minute.
Freshman forward Shawn Stoltz posted 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Titans en route to a 55-49 third place win over New England.
Trinity (14-9) held a 25-17 lead at halftime. Cole Wilhelmi finished with 11 points and four steals, while Brock Messer came off the bench to supply 10 points. Austin Deichert posted nine points, six steals, five assists and four rebounds.
New England junior guard John Urlacher had 19 points, while junior forward Daniel Prince finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Junior forward Ty Nordby supplied 10 rebounds and eight points. The Tigers closed out the season with a 19-5 record.
Trinity 13 25 38 55
New England 10 17 35 49
T: Shawn Stoltz 16, Cole Wilhelmi 11, Brock Messer 10, Austin Deichert 9, Willy Jahner 8, Joe Mayer 1.
NE: John Urlacher 19, Daniel Prince 12, Ty Nordby 8, Mason Stang 7, Brady Bender 2, Gavin Fitterer 1.
3-pointers: T 3 (Deichert 2, Jahner 1), NE 4 (Urlacher 3, Prince 1). Free throws: T 14-21, NE 9-15. Total fouls: T 15, NE 13. Rebounds: T 34 (Stoltz 12), NE 37 (Prince 10, Nordby 10). Assists: T 13 (Deichert 5), NE 10 (Bender 5). Steals: T 20 (Deichert 6), NE 13 (Prince 3). Blocks: none. Turnovers: T 13, NE 21. Records: T 14-9, NE 19-5.