Spectacular start: Bulldogs beat Night Hawks on Palczewski’s shot with 2 seconds leftMike Palczewski loved the look. But it almost never materialized.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Mike Palczewski loved the look. But it almost never materialized.
The Bowman County junior took the in-bounds pass, lost his handle on the ball momentarily and then got himself to the right baseline where he rattled in a game-winning jumper with 2 seconds left to defeat Hettinger-Scranton 59-57 on Thursday night in the opening round of the District 13 boys basketball tournament at Scott Gymnasium.
“That last shot … was a lucky one,” said Palczewski, who scored 15 points. “I’ve been shooting that shot throughout the season. It’s kind of been my shot.”
Palczewski’s game-winner was a perfect ending to a wild fourth quarter that had four lead changes early and a tying 3-pointer by Hettinger-Scranton senior Ben Laufer with 12 seconds remaining.
“You’ve got to give them credit,” Hettinger-Scranton head coach Adam Hill said. “They kept stepping up and making shot after shot. The last one was obviously huge. I mean, all you can ask for is a chance to win.”
The No. 5 seed Night Hawks had rallied from 10 points behind in the second quarter thanks to four 3-pointers by senior Justis Caldwell, including one just before time expired in the half, to cut the No. 4 seed Bulldogs’ halftime lead to 25-23.
Caldwell had game highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds and added his fifth 3-pointer with 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter that cut Bowman County’s lead to 43-42 and sparked the race to the finish.
Hettinger-Scranton shot 10 of 20 from 3-point range in the loss with Tanner Stippich coming off the bench to added three from deep.
Bulldogs head coach Gary Ballard said that stemmed from chasing Laufer, the Night Hawks’ leading scorer who had 16 points but only two in the first half.
“Our box-and-one worked really well, especially in the first half, but we gave up some 3s right at the end of the half,” Ballard said. “We just got a little mixed up with our guards there. Somebody didn’t rotate.”
The Bulldogs kept pushing the Night Hawks away in the second half, only to watch them come flying right back.
A 9-0 run in the third quarter gave Bowman County a 39-31 lead with 1:03 left.
Hettinger-Scranton had cut it to 41-36 by the fourth quarter.
Leading 57-54 with 32.6 seconds left, Palczewski threw away an inbounds pass and set up Laufer’s game-tying 3-pointer.
“It looked like we were going to be able to go to overtime,” Hill said. “Their last two shots rolled around and went back in. That’s the breaks.”
Brandon Fischer had a team-high 18 points for the Bulldogs, who shot 23 of 45 (51 percent) from the field and 9 of 12 (75 percent) from the free-throw line.
“I was so happy with our shooting percentage,” Ballard said. “We were trying to attack the lane and the basket more.”
Bowman County faces top-seeded Mott-Regent in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. today. Hettinger-Scranton has to wait until tonight to see who it will play in the Region 7 tournament qualifying game at 4 p.m. Monday. It faces the loser of No. 2 New England and No. 3 Heart River.
While some teams wouldn’t like that at tournament time, Hill said the Night Hawks could use a lengthy break and time to prepare for its next opponent. He said they’re still suffering lingering effects from the team’s Jan. 13 bus accident that led to it losing two starters for the season.
“For us that’s probably good,” Hill said. “We’re still not 100 percent.”
Note: The game was Hettinger-Scranton assistant coach Jeremy Dietchman’s first game back on the sidelines since the bus accident. He was severely injured in the accident but is expected to make a full recovery.
HS 6 23 46 57
BC 12 25 51 59
HS: Justis Caldwell 23, Ben Laufer 16, Tanner Stippich 9, Damon Mellmer 5, Jarett Hestekin 2, Dylan Teske 2.
BC: Brandon Fischer 18, Michael Palczewski 15, Colter Braaten 8, Devin Good Shield 8, Tanner Fischer 8, Bondon Scott 2.
3-pointers: HS 10 (Caldwell 5, Stippich 3, Mellmer 1, Laufer 1), BC 4 (Braaten 2, Good Shield 2). Free throws: HS 5-7, BC 9-12. Total fouls: HS 14, BC 10. Fouled out:Good Shield. Rebounds: HS 29 (Caldwell 10), BC 26 (T. Fischer 7). Assists: HS 12 (Stippich 4), BC 14 (Good Shield 5). Steals: HS 3 (Laufer 2), BC 4 (Palczewski 2, Good Shield 2). Blocks: HS 0, BC 0. Turnovers: HS 11, BC 8.