District 13 Boys Basketball Tournament: Tigers rally to defeat Night HawksAs it trailed Hettinger-Scranton by 15 points with just under 3 minutes remaining in the first quarter, the New England boys basketball team could have packed it in and prepared for a region-qualifier game on Monday.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
As it trailed Hettinger-Scranton by 15 points with just under 3 minutes remaining in the first quarter, the New England boys basketball team could have packed it in and prepared for a region-qualifier game on Monday.
Instead, the fifth-seeded Tigers find themselves a win away from the District 13 Tournament championship game.
New England shook off a poor start and rallied behind the play of sophomore Daniel Prince and senior Levi Hollinger en route to a 50-43 victory over the fourth-seeded Night Hawks on Friday night during the tournament’s opening round at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
“You just kind of work through it,” New England head coach Luke Powers said. “I asked the kids, ‘Have you ever lost a game in the first quarter? Have you ever won a game in the first quarter?’”
New England gradually chipped away and took their first lead, 35-34, on senior Alex Nielsen’s only bucket of the game — a turnaround shot in the post with 6:33 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“I was so pumped up after that,” said Prince, who tied a career high with 22 points. “He really gave us a spark right there. … We took off from there.”
Prince took over from there.
The 6-foot-3 center got the free-throw line and worked Hettinger-Scranton’s post defenders after Night Hawks senior Stephen Kristy went to the bench with four fouls.
Prince finished 8 of 10 from the free-throw line and was 7 of 12 from the field.
Hollinger, who added 14 points and five rebounds, combined with Prince to draw 15 fouls. The Tigers shot 15 of 22 from the free-throw line.
“We did a nice job inside out and did a nice job getting to the foul line and shooting some free throws,” Powers said. “Overall, just a great team effort.”
The Tigers (10-10) face No. 1 seed Mott-Regent (13-6) at 5:30 p.m. today in the semifinals. Hettinger-Scranton (7-13) plays at 4 p.m. Monday against the loser of the semifinal game between No. 2 seed Heart River and No. 3 seed Bowman County.
It was all Hettinger-Scranton in the first quarter.
Sophomore Damon Mellmer hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the game and senior Tanner Stippich hit another as the Night Hawks built a 13-0 lead just 3:33 into the game.
Mellmer finished with 17 points after canning five 3-pointers. Stippich added 11 while Kristy, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, was held to five points, eight rebounds and four assists.
“He (Mellmer) was one of our few perimeter guys who were aggressive,” Night Hawks head coach Adam Hill said. “It seems like we stood around and just played catch all night. You can’t win a ballgame standing around playing catch.”
Hettinger-Scranton’s lead grew to 18-3 before New England slowly began chipping away. Hollinger hit a 3 and had a fast-break layup to help the Tigers go end the first quarter ahead 20-8. New England ended the second quarter on a 7-2 run and went into halftime trailing 27-19.
The Night Hawks scored just five points in the third quarter, letting New England further close in on their lead. Going into the fourth, Hettinger-Scranton lead’s was down to a point for the first time, 32-31, and that set the stage for the Tigers’ dominating performance in the fourth.
“We executed really good in the second half and I think that’s why we got the victory,” Prince said.
NE 8 19 31 50
HS 20 27 32 43
NE: Daniel Prince 22, Levi Hollinger 14, Austin Fitterer 5, Lane Herberholz 4, Brady Bender 3, Alex Nielsen 2.
HS: Damon Mellmer 17, Tanner Stippich 11, Hayden Sadowsky 6, Stephen Kristy 5, Kye Erickson 2, Christian Kilwein 2.
3-pointers: NE 3 (Bender, Herberholz, Hollinger), HS 8 (Mellmer 5, Stippich 3). Free throws: NE 15-22, HS 3-6. Total fouls: NE 11, HS 20. Rebounds: NE 24 (Hollinger 5), HS 28 (Kristy 8). Assists: NE 13 (A. Fitterer 7), HS 12 (Kristy 4). Steals: NE 7 (Prince 2, Hollinger 2), HS 3 (three with 1). Blocks: NE 0, HS 3 (Kristy 2). Turnovers: NE 13, HS 15.
Bowman County 62, Beach 48
Junior Tanner Fischer had game highs of 20 points and had 13 rebounds and helped No. 3 seed Bowman County pull away from Beach late in the opening round of the District 13 Tournament.
Despite shooting just 36 percent from the field, the Bulldogs had enough firepower to break free of the sixth-seeded Buccaneers in the fourth quarter.
Bowman County led 45-40 going into the fourth and outscored Beach 17-8 over the final 8 minutes. The Bulldogs (10-10) were up just 27-26 at halftime.
Brandon Fisher had 13 points and seven rebounds while Michael Palczewski added 14 points and three steals to help Bowman County.
Danny Skoglund had 16 points and five rebounds for the Buccaneers (2-17) while Carl Muckle added seven points and seven rebounds before fouling out.
Bowman County faces Heart River at 7 p.m. today in the semifinals. Beach will face the loser of the semifinal game between Mott-Regent and New England at 4 p.m. Monday.
Beach 12 26 40 48
BC 12 27 45 62
B: Danny Skoglund 16, Kirby Maus 13, Carl Muckle 7, Anthony Weinreis 6, Marshall Nunberg 4, Brandon Stockwell 1, Alex Novotny 1.
BC: Tanner Fischer 20, Michael Palczewski 14, Brandon Fischer 13, Colter Braaten 7, Chandler Braaten 6, Chane Moran 2.
3-pointers: B 3 (Skoglund 2, Weinreis 1), BC 0. Free throws: B 11-20, BC 14-17. Total fouls: B 19, BC 15. Fouled out: Muckle. Rebounds: B 31 (Muckle 7), BC 41 (T. Fischer 13). Assists: B 8 (Weinreis 3), BC 10 (Co. Braaten, T. Fischer 3). Steals: B 7 (Maus 3), BC 16 (Co. Braaten 4). Blocks: B 2 (Nunberg 2), BC 1 (Palczewski). Turnovers: B 21, BC 11.
District 13 Tournament
At Knights of Columbus Activities Center, Dickinson
1) No. 5 New England 50, No. 4 Hettinger-Scranton 43
2) No. 3 Bowman County 62, No. 6 Beach 48
3) No. 1 Mott-Regent vs. New England, 5:30 p.m.
4) No. 2 Heart River vs. Bowman County, 7 p.m.
Region qualifier: Hettinger-Scranton vs. Game 4 loser, 4 p.m.
Region qualifier: Beach vs. Game 3 loser, 5:30 p.m.
Championship: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 7 p.m.