Bowman County upsets top-seeded Mott-Regent in semifinalsNext season, Mott-Regent coach Wayne Heckaman might feel better if his Wildfire did not earn the No. 1 seed for the District 13 boys basketball tournament.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Next season, Mott-Regent coach Wayne Heckaman might feel better if his Wildfire did not earn the No. 1 seed for the District 13 boys basketball tournament.
For the second straight year, the Wildfire came into the tournament with a bye and without a loss in district play. And for the second straight year, Mott-Regent lost in the semifinals to a lower-seeded team led primarily by underclassmen after giving up a sizeable halftime lead.
Behind a torrid second-half shooting performance, No. 4 seed Bowman County shocked the top-seeded Wildfire 66-63 on Friday night at Scott Gymnasium.
Junior Colter Braaten made seven 3-pointers, including three big ones in the fourth quarter to lead the Bulldogs (10-11), who shot 63 percent from the field in the second half.
“All the kids kind of got on Colter’s back and went with him,” Bowman County head coach Gary Ballard said. “They could see that he was ready to go.”
Braaten and the Bulldogs gradually rallied back from a 37-26 halftime deficit despite Mott-Regent senior Nate Fries, a 6-foot-6 center, having his way in the post early in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs went on a 15-4 run over a 5:26 span in the third to cut Mott-Regent’s lead to 45-43.
Fries and Wildfire senior guard Chad Mosbrucker, their leading scorer, sat out the final 2:32 of the third quarter.
“I could have taken a time out, but I thought our guys could handle it,” said Mott-Regent head coach Wayne Heckaman, whose team had a 10-game win streak snapped.
Bowman County took its first lead since late in the first quarter on Brandon Fischer’s shot in the post with 20 seconds left. The junior forward scored 14 points.
However, Jonah Honeyman hit a jumper with 5 seconds remaining to give Mott-Regent a 51-50 lead going into the fourth quarter. That set the stage for a back-and-forth fourth.
There were six lead changes and three ties in the fourth quarter but Bowman County never trailed after Braaten made his second 3-pointer of the quarter and sixth of the game to give them a 61-59 lead with 4:43 to play.
“After I made that shot, they kept leaving me open, so I figured I’d shoot it and make ‘em pay,” Braaten said.
Mike Palczewski hit a jumper from the right wing to put the Bulldogs ahead 63-61 and Braaten added the dagger with his seventh 3-pointer with 3:27 to play.
Mott-Regent’s only points the rest of the way came on a layup by reserve guard Logan Haberstroh with 2:40 left.
The Wildfire (15-5) missed numerous shots down the stretch.
Fries had 15 points, 11 rebounds and six assists to lead the Wildfire. Mosbrucker and McCahen Schweitzer each scored 13 points.
“It is what it is, and you know, every team is going to have its ups and downs,” Heckaman said. “We had our down for a quarter and a half there. The same thing that happened to us a year before. It’s hard. It really is.”
Palczewski had eight points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Bulldogs.
Mott-Regent led 33-18 with 2:42 left in the second quarter after an 11-0 run. But Braaten and his younger brother, freshman Chandler Braaten, fired back with eight unanswered points to begin chipping away.
“The kids just never said die,” Ballard said.
Bowman County will face Heart River at 7 p.m. Monday in the championship game. Mott-Regent faces Beach in a region-qualifier game at 5:30 p.m.
“It means a lot, especially having a young team,” said Ballard, who starts one senior, three juniors and a sophomore and played just two freshman reserves. “These kids, it’s going to be such an advantage for them to have that advantage to play in a district championship game.”
BC 16 26 50 66
MR 16 37 51 63
BC: Colter Braaten 23, Brandon Fischer 14, D.J. Good Shield 10, Mike Palczewski 8, Chandler Braaten 5, Tanner Fischer 4, Bondon Scott 2.
MR: Nate Fries 15, Chad Mosbrucker 13, McCahen Schweitzer 13, Jonah Honeyman 8, Taylor Zentner 6, Jacob Greff 4, Tyler Zentner 2, Logan Haberstroh 2.
3-pointers: BC 9 (Co. Braaten 7, Good Shield 2), MR 2 (Fries 1, Mosbrucker 1). Free throws: BC 1-3, MR 9-10. Total fouls: BC 10, MR 11. Rebounds: BC 28 (T. Fischer 8), MR 30 (Fries 11). Assists: BC 13 (Palczewski 6), MR 17 (Fries 6). Steals: BC 6 (Co. Braaten 2), MR 6 (Schweitzer 2). Blocks: BC 0, MR 2 (Fries 2). Turnovers: BC 7, MR 7.