Cougars counter late Bearcats claw: Heart River powers past Glen Ullin-Hebron in Region 7 play-in
Decided by a combined total of seven points, the Heart River boys basketball team have split a pair of games this season against Glen-Ullin Hebron.
To no one's surprise, the rubber match on Tuesday night was closely contested.
The Cougars built a 17-point lead and held off a furious Bearcats comeback in the second half to capture a 57-49 victory in a Region 7 Play-In game from South Heart High School.
Putting the game away with a 9-0 run late in the fourth quarter, No. 5 Heart River will play No. 12 Beach in the Region 7 tournament quarterfinals on Monday, March 5.
"We told the kids at halftime we won the first half, the second half is 0-0. We have to come out with the same intensity as the first half and give our kids credit, they weathered the storm," Heart River head coach Greg Pruitt said. "Glen Ullin gave us a big punch there and our kids weathered it."
Spearheaded by guard Caleb Chruszch and forward Jayden Krivoruchka, the Cougars (11-11) burst out of the gate.
After getting a shooter's roll on a 3-pointer, Chruszch drove coast-to-coast for a layup, resulting in a Glen Ullin-Hebron timeout. He scored nine of his team's first 12 points.
On their first offensive possession following stoppage, Krivoruchka drilled a 3-pointer, giving Heart River a 15-4 advantage in the first quarter.
The two seniors combined for 26 points in the first half as the Cougars entered halftime with a 32-15 lead.
"We were just getting in a rhythm and hitting shots," said Chruszch, who scored 17 points in the first half. "It just felt like every shot was going in and being confident was the main thing I think. Working with your team, not all of those shots where of me dribbling down and shooting it. You got to pass the ball around and credit your teammates with a lot of assists and good looks."
Exiting the locker rooms, Glen Ullin-Hebron (5-16) was the aggressor.
The Bearcats opened the third quarter on a 7-2 run following a pair of baskets from junior forward Mason Gerving and a 3-pointer from junior forward Braxton Rolle.
A steal and layup from Bearcats freshman guard Dawson Zuroff cut the deficit to 36-28, the first time Glen Ullin-Hebron was within single digits since the end of the first quarter.
"If we could put it all together, if we can play hard together as a team, not individually, we can pretty much run with anybody and that's what happened in the second half," Bearcats head coach Kelly Hochhalter said. "They got after it, they weren't tentative, played pretty good defense on them and we ran our offense in the second half to try and back in the game again. I wish that happened in the first half first, though."
A jump shot from Glen Ullin-Hebron sophomore guard Chase Remboldt and a three-point play from Gerving brought the score to 41-37 just seconds into the final period. Gerving led the Bearcats with 15 points.
The four-point gap held steady through much of the fourth quarter as Heart River searched for answers.
"We got a little flustered," Chruszch said. "They went into a zone, but we just had to stay confident. We've been playing together since we were two feet tall so we know each other. We've been playing in tight games all year long so we had confidence that no matter what, we can come together at the end and hopefully get the win."
Following a pair of baskets inside from Krivoruchka, Chruszch utilized a pump fake to free himself from a defender and bank in an easy shot in the paint. Senior guard Trace Jacobson drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key, pumping the lead up to 55-42 and putting the game away.
Chruszch led the charge, scoring six of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter. Krivoruchka added 19 points for Heart River.
"Hats off to Glen Ullin, I thought they played their hearts out," Pruitt said. "With a 17-point lead going into halftime, you'd think the opposing team might lay down a little bit, but give credit to those guys. They came out and played really, really hard."
Heart River 57, Glen Ullin-Hebron 49
GUH 9 6 17 17
HR 17 15 9 16
GUH: Mason Gerving 15, Braden Zuroff 8, Chase Remboldt 8, Dawson Zuroff 7, Garret Soupir 5, Braxton Rolle 3, Grant Gerving 3.
HR: Caleb Chruszch 23, Jayden Krivorushka 19, Trace Jacobson 5, Cauy Shypkoski 3, Jesse Canode 3, Lane Chruszch 2, Andy Hodell 2.
3-pointers: GUH 2 (Rolle 1, G. Gerving 1), HR 5 (Krivorushka 2). Free throws: GUH 11-14, HR 4-6. Total fouls: GUH 11, HR 15. Records: GUH: 5-16, HR 11-11.