Binstock’s late 3-pointer gives Tigers a victory over Heart RiverSOUTH HEART — New England waited almost the entire fourth quarter to hit its dagger shot. But that’s why they have Clarence Binstock.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
SOUTH HEART — New England waited almost the entire fourth quarter to hit its dagger shot.
But that’s why they have Clarence Binstock.
The Tigers’ 5-foot-7 senior point guard hit the game-clinching 3-pointer with 22 seconds left and New England rode out a 55-51 District 13 victory Tuesday night at the South Heart High School gymnasium.
“How about that Clarence Binstock?” New England head coach Luke Powers said with a smile after the game.
Binstock had 13 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. However, none of his contributions were as big as the 23-foot 3-pointer he hit as the shot clock expired to put New England ahead by four and make it a two-possession game for the Cougars (9-5, 1-2 District 13).
“We were trying to get a play, it didn’t work out,” Binstock said. “The shot clock was winding down and I chucked it to Levi (Hollinger). Levi couldn’t do anything, he kicked it out and I just happened to be there and hit that wide-open shot.”
It capped a back-and-forth battle that has become almost typical between the two rivals. They’ve played six times in the past two seasons with New England winning the last four games, which have all been competitive.
Heart River scored the game’s first eight points before New England went on a 33-7 run that lasted the final 5 minutes of the first quarter and first 6 minutes of the second quarter.
“We came out pretty strong, but I felt we had a little bit of a letdown there,” Heart River head coach Greg Pruitt said. “I think our kids got too relaxed, too comfortable and you can’t do that against a good team like New England.”
The Tigers’ held their biggest lead at 33-15 after Kaine Hanson’s three-point play — the only points of the night for the team’s senior forward and leading scorer, who came in averaging 17 points per game — with 2:19 left in the first half.
Hollinger led the Tigers (11-4, 3-1 District 13) with 17 points and scored 15 in the first half. Nick Wolf added 11.
The Tigers led 33-20 at halftime, but the Cougars chipped away quickly in the third quarter, cutting it to 33-27 before New England built the lead back to double digits.
Heart River made sure it didn’t go down easy.
Though the Cougars never led in the fourth quarter, they trimmed the Tigers’ lead to two, 48-46, after Jordan Strecker capped an 8-0 run with a third-chance basket in the post with 4:46 remaining.
Strecker had game highs of 18 points and 12 rebounds.
It looked to be setting up as a fight to the finish, but neither team scored for more than 2 minutes.
“We had many, many, many opportunities to win that game and we didn’t execute down the stretch,” Pruitt said.
Finally, Tigers junior guard Austin Fitterer came off the bench and scored four points — a fast-break layup facilitated by a Wolf steal and a 15-foot jumper — to keep his team in the lead.
Heart River senior Dylan Northrop answered Fitterer’s jumper with a 3-pointer from the right wing with 1 minute left to cut New England’s lead to 52-51.
Northrup had 14 points and a game-high four 3-pointers.
Binstock sealed the win on the Tigers’ next possession.
“That was kind of a wild one,” Powers said. “We got up early and we played to our potential about 15 minutes of the first half. From a minute left in the first half through the whole second half, we just stopped attacking and wanted to hold on to a lead. They were playing from behind and they were really scrambling.”
Though the teams were playing for seeding in the District 13 tournament — New England put itself in the driver’s seat for the No. 2 seed with the win — the gym had a postseason atmosphere.
“I guess everybody knows that when New England and Heart River get together that it’s going to be a battle,” Pruitt said.
NE 15 33 46 55
HR 13 20 37 51
NE: Levi Hollinger 17, Clarence Binstock 13, Nick Wolf 11, Austin Fitterer 4, Devin Plaggemeyer 5, Kaine Hanson 3, Austin Maershbecker 2.
HR: Jordan Strecker 18, Dylan Northrop 14, Jarek Haverluk 7, Isaiah Marschner 7, Seth Ewoniuk 5.
3-pointers: NE 6 (Binstock 3, Hollinger 3), HR 5 (Northrop 4, Ewoniuk 1). Free throws: NE 3-6, HR 4-7. Total fouls: NE 11, HR 10. Rebounds: NE 22 (Binstock 6), HR 26 (Strecker 12) Assists: NE 15 (Binstock 5), HR 9 (Ewoniuk 4). Steals: NE 8 (Binstock 3, Hanson 3), HR 4 (Haverluk 2, Ewoniuk 2). Blocks: NE 0, HR 1 (Marschner 1). Turnovers: NE 7, HR 10. Records: NE 11-4, 3-1 District 13; HR 9-5, 1-2 District 13.