Cougars cruise past Bulldogs for 1st District 13 championshipThere was no second-place trophy for the Heart River boys basketball team this time.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
There was no second-place trophy for the Heart River boys basketball team this time.
For the first time in the four-year history of the cooperative agreement between Belfield and South Heart, the Cougars are champions — and they did so in convincing fashion.
Heart River throttled Bowman County for a 66-34 victory in the District 13 tournament championship game Monday night at Scott Gymnasium.
“It feels great,” Heart River head coach Greg Pruitt said. “Last year, after we took the runner-up, we made one goal and that was to get back to the district championship again and try to finish business.”
Last year, Heart River finished as the runners up in the Roughrider, District 13 and Region 7 tournaments.
That made this one feel real special.
“It feels great. I love it,” Heart River senior Jordan Strecker said. “Senior year, it’s a perfect starting to the end of our basketball career.”
The No. 3 seed Cougars limited the No. 4 seed Bulldogs in just about every facet of the game.
Not only did Heart River’s tenacious defense give up its fewest points of the season, it held Bowman County to its lowest total of the year.
Pruitt said the team has had a goal of keeping teams to less than 35 points all season.
It hadn’t happened before Monday.
“Coach told us defense will win the game,” said Heart River senior Dylan Northrop, who had 13 points and was one of four Cougars in double figures. “Thirty-five points is what he made our goal and we got ‘em in this one.”
Heart River didn’t even give Bowman County a chance to make it close.
After building a 21-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, Heart River scored 15 unanswered points in the second as it put together a 36-15 advantage.
The Cougars (17-5) led 44-24 at halftime and put the exclamation point on a spectacular tournament by limiting the Bulldogs (10-12) to just three points in the third quarter.
The Cougars led by as much as 37, 66-29, in the fourth quarter before emptying their bench. They shot 31 of 56 (55 percent) from the field after shooting 20 of 32 (63 percent) in the first half.
Bowman County shot 2 of 16 from the field in the second half to finish 11 of 37 (30 percent) for the game.
“It was like nothing could go in, but they cause a lot of that too,” Bowman County head coach Gary Ballard said. “We knew it was going to be tough coming in with the physicality and their scrappiness they have and they play with.”
Strecker and junior center Isaiah Marschner were nearly unstoppable in the post. Strecker had 18 points and eight rebounds. Marschner had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Cougars junior guard Seth Ewoniuk wheeled his way up and down the court for 10 points. He also dished out three assists.
Mike Palczewski led Bowman County with nine points, all of which came on 3-pointers.
The Cougars now move on to play Killdeer, the No. 4 seed from District 14, in the quarterfinals of the Region 7 tournament at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20 at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. Bowman County closes out the first day of the tournament against Hazen, District 14’s No. 3 seed.
“I’m just proud of the kids,” Pruitt said. “I’m proud of their work ethic all summer long and I’m proud of everything they did. You can’t say enough about the group of kids I have to work with.
HR 21 44 56 66
BC 14 24 27 34
HR: Jordan Strecker 18, Dylan Northrop 13, Isaiah Marschner 12, Seth Ewoniuk 10, Jarek Haverluk 6, Tyson Kudrna 5, Riley Obrigewitch 2.
BC: Mike Palczewski 9, Tanner Fischer 6, Brandon Fischer 5, Chandler Braaten 5, Colter Braaten 4, D.J. Good Shield 3.
3-pointers: HR 2 (Kudrna 1, Northrop 1), BC 4 (Palczewski 3, Ch. Braaten 1). Free throws: HR 2-5, BC 8-14. Total fouls: HR 16, BC 8. Rebounds: HR 39 (Marschner 11), BC 19 (T. Fischer 5). Assists: HR 8 (Ewoniuk 3), HR 7 (Good Shield 3). Steals: HR 6 (Marschner 3), BC 5 (Co. Braaten 3). Blocks: HR 1 (Strecker), BC 0. Turnovers: HR 8, BC 13.
Mott-Regent 83, Beach 78, OT
The No. 1-seeded team in the tournament survived one heck of a scare in its region-qualifier game as the Wildfire held off No. 6 seed Beach in overtime.
Mott-Regent had to rally after the Buccaneers held five-point leads at the end of the second and third quarters.
But the Wildfire (16-5) had the firepower to do so.
District 13 co-senior athlete of the year Chad Mosbrucker had 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists while Nate Fries had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Taylor Zentner had 20 points and five rebounds.
Mott-Regent earned District 13’s No. 3 seed in the Region 7 tournament and take on District 14 runner-up Dickinson Trinity at 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20.
Landon Lechler had game highs of 36 points and 17 rebounds as the Buccaneers’ (8-12) went down fighting.
The 6-foot-8 senior center was flat-out dominant in the post. He had 10 points in overtime after being limited to a pair of free throws in the fourth quarter.
The Buccaneers had their chance to win the game at the end of regulation when Fries inexplicably fouled Beach’s Marshall Nunberg with 0.6 seconds on the clock and the score tied at 68.
Nunberg missed the front end of the bonus opportunity to force overtime.
Just four players scored for the Buccaneers, who had a season high in points.
Danny Skoglund had 14 points and four assists. Lloyd Weinreis added 12 and Anthony Weinreis had eight.
It was the most points the Buccaneers had scored in a game all season.
Mott-Regent head coach Wayne Heckman was named District 13 Coach of the Year.
MR 19 31 50 68 83
Beach 21 36 55 68 78
MR: Chad Mosbrucker 27, Nate Fries 23, Taylor Zentner 20, Tyler Zentner 8, McCahen Schweitzer 4, Jonah Honeyman 1.
B: Landon Lechler 36, Danny Skoglund 14, Lloyd Weinreis 12, Anthony Weinreis 8,
3-pointers: MR 4 (Taylor Zentner 2, Fries 1, Mosbrucker 1), B 3 (A. Weinreis 2, Skoglund 1).
Free throws: MR 19-25, B 11-18. Total fouls: MR 20, B 20. Fouled out: MR, Schweitzer; B, L. Weinreis. Rebounds: MR 38 (Fries 10), B 42 (Lechler 17). Assists: MR 13 (Mosbrucker 5), B 20 (A. Weinreis 5). Steals: MR 12 (Taylor Zentner 3, Mosbrucker 3). Blocks: MR 4 (Fries 4), B 3 (Lechler 3). Turnovers: MR 18, B 23.
New England 78, Hettinger-Scranton 57
New England had one of its best offensive performances of the season and all of its starters scored in double figures as it locked up the No. 4 seed by defeating Hettinger-Scranton.
Kaine Hanson, who was named the District 13 co-senior athlete of the year with Mott-Regent’s Chad Mosbrucker, led the way for the Tigers, who shot 73 percent from the field in the second half.
Hanson had 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Levi Hollinger made four 3-pointers and to add 17 points. Nick Wolf had16 points, four assists and four steals. Clarence Binstock had 11 points and four assists while Devin Plaggemeyer had 11 points and seven rebounds.
The Tigers (16-5) were 16 of 22 from the field in the second half and shot 27 of 46 (59 percent) in the game.
New England, who entered the district tournament as the No. 2 seed but lost to Heart River in the semifinals, will face District 14 champion Beulah at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20 in the Region 7 tournament.
It was the end of a tumultuous season for the No. 5 seed Night Hawks (9-11), who lost two starters for the season and endured numerous injuries a Jan. 13 bus accident.
The Night Hawks finished the season with a 9-11 record. They were 2-7 after the accident.
Hettinger-Scranton’s seniors led the way as they tried to salvage their season.
Ben Laufer had game highs of 24 points and 10 rebounds while Justis Caldwell had 19 points and nine rebounds.
NE 18 34 56 78
HS 10 21 38 57
HS: Ben Laufer 24, Justis Caldwell 19, Kye Erickson 5, Damon Mellmer 3, Dylan Teske 2, Dalton Reitz 2, Jarett Hestikan 2.
NE: Kaine Hanson 21, Levi Hollinger 17, Nick Wolf 16, Clarence Binstock 11, Devin Plaggemeyer 11.
3-pointers: HS 4 (Laufer 2, Erickson 1, Mellmer 1), NE 5 (Hollinger 4, Binstock 1).
Free throws: HS 7-13, NE 19-28. Total fouls: HS 19, NE 12. Technical fouls: NE, Binstock. Rebounds: HS 27 (Laufer 10), NE 26 (Plaggemeyer 7). Assists: HS 11 (Erickson 3, Caldwell 3), NE 14 (Hanson 5). Steals: HS 5 (Laufer 2), NE 11 (Wolf 4). Blocks: HS 1 (Laufer), NE 1 (Hanson). Turnovers: HS 13, NE 9.
District 13 Awards
Co-Senior Athlete of the Year: Kaine Hanson, New England; Chad Mosbrucker, Mott-Regent.
Coach of the Year: Wayne Heckaman, Mott-Regent
Unanimous selections: Kaine Hanson, New England, Chad Mosbrucker, Mott-Regent; Nate Fries, Mott-Regent; Clarence Binstock, New England; Ben Laufer, Hettinger-Scranton; Jordan Strecker, Heart River; Stephen Kristy, Hettinger-Scranton.
Non-unanimous: Nick Wolf, New England; Dylan Northrop, Heart River; Landon Lechler, Beach; Colter Braaten, Bowman County; Jarek Haverluk, Heart River.
Honorable mention: Seth Ewoniuk, Heart River; Mike Palczewski, Bowman County.