Cougars cruise by BucsJordan Strecker wasn’t feeling too good at halftime.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Jordan Strecker wasn’t feeling too good at halftime.
Heart River’s senior leader had a solid first half against Beach in the opening round of the District 13 boys basketball tournament, but he spent halftime with his head in a locker room toilet.
It didn’t seem to matter though.
Strecker had 16 points, seven rebounds and four steals and helped keep Beach center Landon Lechler in check as the No. 3 seed Cougars picked up a 52-41 victory over the No. 6 seed Buccaneers on Thursday night at Scott Gymnasium.
“He had us a little nervous at halftime because he was down here puking his guts out, so we weren’t sure if he was going to play or not,” Heart River head coach Greg Pruitt said. “But he’s a tough kid and that’s what he means to our program. When he’s on the floor, he’s a tough kid to stop.”
After scoring nine points to help his team capture a 35-21 halftime lead, Strecker didn’t start the second half and Beach took advantage.
The Buccaneers scored the first six points of the second half, which prompted Strecker’s return.
And he wasted little time propping up his team, scoring six of the Cougars’ next eight points.
Most of the 6-foot-3 forward’s points came in the post, where he was being defended by Lechler, who is 6-8.
“You can’t go at him and be scared, otherwise he’s going to swat all your shots,” Strecker said. “You just gotta go at him and hopefully pick up a foul here and there.”
Oh, and the culprit behind Strecker’s stomach sickness? The double bacon cheeseburger he’d eaten shortly after school.
The meal didn’t have much of an effect on Strecker in the early going as he and the Cougars (15-5) rolled out to a 12-3 lead just 3 minutes into the game.
Lechler and Anthony Weinreis rallied the Buccaneers and cut Heart River’s lead to 16-12 by the end of the first quarter.
That was as close as they’d get.
Jarek Haverluk and Seth Ewoniuk each hit 3-pointers during a 13-0 run that stretched the Cougars’ lead to 29-13 just 2:31 into the second quarter.
“It looked like tonight we really didn’t come physically, definitely not mentally, ready to go,” Beach head coach Troy Hoffer said. “They’re so quick, so deep and coach Pruitt does such a good job with them. But they rattled us and we could never get into a flow.”
Haverluk added 14 points and seven boards for the Cougars.
Lechler did everything he could to keep the Buccaneers (9-11) close. He lead Beach with 21 points and 16 rebounds, including 12 on the offensive end, and three blocks.
Beach now must wait until tonight to see who it faces at 5:30 p.m. Monday in a Region 7 tournament qualifying game.
Heart River gets a date with No. 2 seed New England at 7 p.m. today in the semifinals. The Tigers have defeated the Cougars twice this season.
As the Cougars head into a tougher matchup, Pruitt said he was pleased with his team’s focus.
“I told the kids, we’ve been here,” he said. “We’ve been in the districts once. We just need to come out and execute. I thought we did a good job of that.”
Beach 12 21 31 41
HR 16 35 39 52
B: Landon Lechler 21, Anthony Weinreis 8, Danny Skoglund 6, Kirby Maus 6.
HR: Jordan Strecker 16, Jarek Haverluk 14, Seth Ewoniuk 9, Dylan Northrop 7, Tyson Kudrna 4, Isaiah Marschner 2.
3-pointers: B 2 (Weinreis 2), HR 4 (Haverluk 2, Northrop 1, Ewoniuk 1). Free throws: B 3-6, HR 2-5. Total fouls: B 16, HR 11. Rebounds: B 41 (Lechler 16), HR 28 (Strecker 7, Haverluk 7).
Assists: B 3 (Skoglund 2), HR 11 (Northrop 7). Steals: B 1 (Tyrel Sime 1), HR 10 (Strecker 4). Blocks: B 3 (Lechler 3), HR 0. Turnovers: B 17, HR 10. Records: HR 15-5, B 9-11.