CLASS B BOYS: Beulah battles back, knocks off BertholdGRAND FORKS — Beulah was buried at halftime, on the wrong end of a 15-point deficit.
By: Wayne Nelson, Forum Communications Co.
GRAND FORKS — Beulah was buried at halftime, on the wrong end of a 15-point deficit.
Nothing went right for the Miners in the first 16 minutes — a stretch that saw them go 5-for-25 from the field.
“We were kind of timid in the first half,” Beulah junior Jesse Hettich said.
But the Miners decided to dig down a little deeper in the second half, hard work that produced one of the more notable comebacks in the Class B state boys basketball tournament.
Behind a pressure defense in the second half, Beulah rallied for a 54-50 overtime win against previously unbeaten Berthold on Friday night in the tournament’s semifinals — a victory that gives the Miners (24-3) a berth in tonight’s championship game and another shot at top-ranked and undefeated defending state champion North Star.
The teams played on Dec. 22 with undefeated North Star taking a 74-49 road win.
“They pumped us pretty good the first time,” Hettich said.
But the Miners will bring in considerable momentum against the Bearcats after their improbable win. At halftime, Berthold led 27-12 and was firmly in control.
The second half and overtime, however, belonged to Beulah, which rallied behind full-court pressure that resulted in some easy baskets.
“I told the guys at halftime we’ve got to put up a fight,” Beulah coach Jeremy Brandt said. “They attacked us in the first half. We didn’t have an answer.
“We wanted to get their lead to single digits by the fourth quarter. Then, you never know.”
That’s exactly what happened. Hettich’s basket with three seconds left in the third cut Berthold’s lead to 33-24.
The Miners kept plugging away in the fourth.
Two Cody Nelson free throws with 1:50 left in regulation tied the game at 41.
Both teams had chances to win in the final minute, but the game went to overtime — and the Miners got off to a much better start than they did in the first quarter.
Hettich scored at 3:33. Berthold’s Alex Bloms tied it at 3:17, before Trevor Zacher’s offensive rebound and basket at 2:30 gave Beulah a 45-43 advantage.
Berthold (26-1) then committed a turnover, which led to Nelson’s 3-pointer with 2:06 to go. Beulah’s 48-43 lead was too much for Berthold to overcome.
Hettich and Nelson led the Miners with 15 points each. Casey Duppong added 10 for Beulah, which shot 17-for-39 in the final two quarters.
Berthold was led by Alex Bloms (21 points) and Daniel Yale (19). They each grabbed 15 rebounds.
“I don’t know how to explain this one,” Brandt said. “We had a lot of things go right for us in the second half. Our pressure got them to rush some of their shots.”
The comeback started in the Beulah locker room at halftime. Brandt did the talking.
“We were all silent,” Nelson said.
But Miners made some noise in the second half.
And Beulah now has a chance for a memorable state tournament.
If the Miners win, they will have defeated three teams that came in unbeaten — Central Cass, Berthold and North Star.
“We have a chance to beat three undefeated teams,” Hettich said. “That would be a good story.”
Beulah 2 12 24 41 54
Berthold 10 27 33 41 50
Beulah: Jesse Hettich 7-16 1-4 15, Cody Nelson 5-11 2-2 15, Casey Duppong 4-12 2-5 10, Trevor Zacher 3-14 0-0 8, Tyler Murray 2-3 0-0 4, Tanner Dolbec 1-5 0-1 2, Noah Iverson 0-2 0-0 0, Erik Ham 0-1 0-0 0.
Berthold: Alex Bloms 9-17 2-4 21, Daniel Yale 9-27 1-5 19, Logan Gunderson 1-4 0-0 3, Austin Lee 1-1 0-0 3, Cale Neshem 1-2 0-0 2, Jaeden Jenson 1-4 0-0 2, Adam Birdsall 0-5 0-0 0, Mitchel White 0-1 0-0 0.
3-pointers: Beulah 5 (Nelson 3, Zacher 2), Berthold 3 (Bloms 1, Gunderson 1, Lee 1). Free throws: Beulah 5-12, Berthold 3-9. Total fouls: Beulah 10, Berthold 18. Fouled out: Berthold White. Rebounds: Beulah 36 (Hettich 11), Berthold 41 (Bloms 14, Yale 14). Assists: Beulah 7 (Zacher 2), Berthold 4 (Yale 2). Steals: Beulah 12 (Duppong 4), Berthold 10 (Yale 4). Blocks: Beulah 4 (four with 1), Berthold 3 (Bloms 2). Turnovers: Beulah 13, Berthold 16.
Nelson is the sports editor of the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.