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Mott-Regent defeats Hazen behind Taylor Zentner's huge night

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Mott-Regent senior Taylor Zentner, right, slips past Hazen junior Josh Erhardt on Monday during the Region 7 boys basketball tournament quarterfinals at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. Zentner scored a tournament-high 34 points to lead Mott-Regent to the win.

Hazen's main focus was limiting Mott-Regent's Taylor Zentner.

Instead, the 6-foot-2 senior guard had a heyday.

Zentner supplied 34 points, including a 7-of-10 performance from 3-point range, as the Mott-Regent boys basketball team defeated Hazen 73-69 in the quarterfinals of the Region 7 Tournament on Monday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

"He's a special player," Mott-Regent head coach Wayne Heckaman said. "People that saw him play tonight found out what kind of difficulty he has going against him. Hazen was pressuring him all night and he handled himself with class."

After draining his final shot in warm-ups, Zentner knew it was going to be a good day. The senior guard was 11 of 20 from the field and went 5 of 6 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and a team-high five assists.

"I felt very comfortable," Zentner said. "The game was just coming to me and they left me open on a few shots and I was willing to take those shots."

Zentner's two favorite targets on the floor were his younger brother, Tyler, and senior center Jonah Honeyman. Tyler Zentner, a junior guard, posted 17 points, while Honeyman added eight points and seven rebounds.

"He got his teammates involved and he makes everyone better around him," Heckaman said. "We always have to remind everyone to be ready, because you never know when Taylor is going to zing a ball toward you with a no-look pass."

Mott-Regent (15-7) received its jump start from the Zentner brothers, which combined for 26 of the team's 34 points in the first half. The two scored 51 of the team's 73 points. The Wildfire held a 10-point, 34-24, lead at halftime.

"We knew that we were going to have to build an early lead if we wanted to stay in the game," Taylor Zentner said. "We're pretty happy with the way we played tonight, but we have a couple things that we need to work on for the next game."

Though Mott-Regent held a double-digit lead, Heckaman knew it could disappear in a few possessions.

"Any lead is nice, but in a region matchup any lead can be gone in a matter of seconds with turnovers or bad possessions," Heckaman said. "Our guys did a wonderful job at staying focused, defending well and just grinding it out."

Hazen attempted to make that lead disappear.

However, the Zentners didn't let that happen. Taylor had 18 second-half points, while Tyler added seven after halftime. Senior forward Logan Haberstroh posted seven second half points, all from the free-throw line where the Wildfire shot 15 of 18 (83 percent).

"It's really fun to play out there with (Tyler)," Taylor Zentner said. "It's going to be kind of depressing not being out there with him next year."

The Bison (14-9) got within four points of the lead after back-to-back 3-pointers from Kyle Lindquist to close out the game.

Senior Stetson Carr and junior Austin Cieslak did their best to make it interesting in the second half. Carr had a team-high 22 points and six assists, while Cieslak posted 18 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

Hazen outscored Mott-Regent 45-39 in the second half.

"We probably weren't there to start the game," Hazen head coach Randy Johnson said. "We had to work mentally to get over that. We've got to give Mott-Regent a lot of credit. They were aggressive to the basket."

Mott-Regent's road to the Region 7 finals doesn't get any easier as it plays No. 1-ranked Beulah at 6 p.m. today.

The Miners rolled the Wildfire 80-47 on Dec. 4. Heckaman hopes the loss at the beginning of the season fuels his team's fire.

"They're the No. 1 team in the state for a reason," Heckaman said. "They move the ball really well, but I think our guys are up for the challenge. Everybody knows they beat us the second game of the year, so our guys are looking forward to the challenge."

Hazen 12 24 46 69

MR 16 34 53 73

H: Stetson Carr 22, Austin Cieslak 18, Josh Erhardt 8, Dominick Opp 6, Kyle Lindquist 6, Michael Maas 6, Collin Maas 3.

MR: Taylor Zentner 34, Tyler Zentner 17, Jonah Honeyman 8, Logan Haberstroh 7, Brett Messmer 5, Jacob Greff 2.

3-pointers: H 4 (Lindquist 2, Carr 1, C. Maas 1), MR 8 (Ta. Zentner 7, Ty. Zentner 1). Free throws: H 11-15, MR 15-18. Total fouls: H 19, MR 17. Fouled out: H, Carr, Cieslak. MR, Ty. Zentner. Rebounds: H 32 (Cieslak 8), MR 33 (Ta. Zentner 9). Assists: H 15 (Carr 6), MR 15 (Ta. Zentner 5). Steals: H 7 (Lindquist 3), MR 9 (Honeyman 4). Blocks: H 5 (Cieslak 2, Carr 2), MR 0. Turnovers: H 13, MR 15. Records: H 14-9, MR 15-7.