No. 1-ranked Beulah cruises in Region 7 Tournament opener
It took a quarter for the No. 1-ranked boys basketball team in Class B to get its bearings.
Once Beulah found its flow, there was little Hettinger-Scranton could do to stop it.
Senior guard Trevor Zacher led the Miners' balanced effort with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals en route to a 55-25 victory over the Night Hawks in the quarterfinals of the Region 7 Tournament on Monday afternoon at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
"That first one is always the scariest one, to any coach, to try and get by that one and give yourself a chance after that," Beulah head coach Jeremy Brandt said. "They're only going to get tougher from here on out."
Beulah faces District 13 runner-up Mott-Regent at 6 p.m. today in the semifinals. The Wildfire beat Hazen 73-69 in Monday's quarterfinals.
After leading just 11-7 at the end of the first quarter, Beulah broke out on a 10-0 run early in the second quarter, punctuated by Zacher's steal and two-handed dunk -- his first of two in the quarter -- to establish a 23-9 lead and continued to build from there.
"Obviously we want to get to Thursday, but we can't look past anyone," Zacher said. "That first quarter was a little dicey, but we got through it."
The Miners led 28-11 at halftime.
When Hettinger-Scranton senior center Stephen Kristy was whistled for his fourth foul just 3 minutes into the third quarter, it spelled doom for the Night Hawks.
The Miners (22-0) exploded for a 21-0 run over an 8-minute span at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth that put them ahead 51-17 and put the finishing touches on their 38th consecutive victory dating back to the 2011-12 season.
Hettinger-Scranton had pulled within a dozen, 28-16, following a 3-pointer from junior Tanner Stippich 2 minutes into the third quarter.
"The thing is, we weren't really even executing great," Hettinger-Scranton head coach Adam Hill said. "You have to give them a lot of credit, they were taking us out of a lot of stuff we were running. The two or three times we executed right, we got layups out of it. It's just a matter of having a young team and executing a little bit better."
Kristy had seven points, eight rebounds and five blocks to lead the Night Hawks, the No. 4 seed from District 13 who finished the season with an 8-14 record.
Beulah senior center Noah Iverson had 12 points and five boards while senior guard Cody Nelson had 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers at the end of its 21-point run. Senior forward Jesse Hettich added eight points, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
"We tried to preach to our kids that we're not going to live at the 3-point line," Brandt said. "We're going to try and break that zone down and attack it and get in gaps. I thought we did a pretty good job for the most part. Most of our 3-pointers, not all of them but most of them, came from penetration inside out. I thought our kids did a good job of sticking to what we want to do and try and attack the lane."
HS 7 11 17 25
Beulah 11 28 41 55
HS: Stephen Kristy 7, Tanner Stippich 6, Ben Pearson 4, Kye Erickson 3, Christian Kilwein 2, Brandon Pierce 2, Tanner Sanford 1.
B: Trevor Zacher 15, Noah Iverson 12, Cody Nelson 10, Jesse Hettich 8, Casey Walcker 5, Karson Hintz 2, Cole Messerschmidt 2, Randi Julson 1.
3-pointers: HS 3 (Stippich 2, Erickson 1), B 2 (Nelson 2). Free throws: HS 4-10, B 9-13. Total fouls: HS 15, B 17. Rebounds: HS 25 (Kristy 8), Assists: HS 7 (Erickson 2, Kristy 2), B 13 (Nelson 3). Steals: HS 9 (three with 2), B 9 (Zacher 3). Blocks: HS 5 (Kristy 5), B 5 (Hettich 3). Turnovers: HS 21, B 13. Records: HS 8-14, B 22-0.