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Night Hawks top Cougars in 2OT: Hettinger-Scranton rallies in 2nd half, defeats Heart River in double overtime

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Hettinger-Scranton sophomore forward Brandon Pierce goes up for a layup against Heart River during a Region 7 game on Tuesday in Belfield. The Night Hawks defeated the Cougars 60-57 in double overtime.

BELFIELD — If Tuesday’s game between the Heart River and Hettinger-Scranton boys basketball teams is any indication, the Region 7 boys tournament — which is four weeks from now — is going to be a dogfight.

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A dogfight until the bitter end.

Hettinger-Scranton rallied in the second half to take a 65-62 Region 7 double overtime win over Heart River on Tuesday.

“You can’t let up in this region,” Hettinger-Scranton head coach Adam Hill said. “It makes it exciting. As we go through the rest of the season, they are mostly all regional games and each one is going to be bigger and bigger as we go.”

Heart River head coach Greg Pruitt added: “It really doesn’t matter what seed you are going to be this year in our Region 7. Whether you are the fifth seed or the 12th seed, it’s going to be a dogfight. It’s a great region and tonight was a tournament type atmosphere.”

In the second overtime, Hettinger-Scranton (7-6, 2-1 Region 7) received an immediate boost from eighth-grader Isaiah Kludt. The 5-foot-3 guard scored the opening four points to give the Night Hawks a 64-60 lead. Kludt ended with 13 points.

“He’s our spark plug that we need,” said Hettinger-Scranton senior guard Kye Erickson, who finished with nine points. “We trust him with the ball whenever we need tough shots.”

Heart River senior guard Tyson Kudrna supplied a layup to get within two with 7 seconds remaining. In the next Hettinger-Scranton possession, Erickson was foul and went to the free-throw line. He made his second extended the Night Hawks lead to three, 65-62. Heart River (5-6, 1-2 Region 7) couldn’t the game-tying shot in the final 7 seconds.

“In the second half, we were really happy with the team effort from passing, shooting and playing defense,” Erickson said.

The end for the Night Hawks was a far cry on how the game started.

At the end of the first quarter, the Cougars held a 14-8 lead. Heart River didn’t slow down from there.

The Cougars added to their lead and took its first double-digit advantage — 19-8 — when Cade Shypkoski knocked down a 3-pointer. The biggest lead Heart River held in the first half was 13 twice. The first time (21-8) was after Blayne Smith knocked down a pair of free throws and the second (23-10) on a Cole Olson jumper. At halftime, the Cougars had a 27-19 lead.

“We jumped out to a pretty good start,” said Kudrna, who finished with a team-high 16 points. “We got things going and we just lacked intensity coming out in the second half.”

Over the next 16 minutes, the Night Hawks battled back and forced overtime after Brandon Pierce knocked in a free throw with less than a second left in the regulation. Hayden Sadowsky scored seven points in the fourth quarter. Sadowsky finished with a team-high 16 points.

Hettinger-Scranton called a timeout after Pierce missed his first of two free throws. Hill said the timeout wasn’t called just for Pierce, but the entire team. The sophomore forward finished with 11 points.

“To me, we had all the momentum even though we had to make that last free throw to send it,” Hill said. “We just talked about doing the things that we were doing. We had to get stops on defense and get rebounds.”

Heart River’s Dion Madler posted 11 points, while Cade Shypkoski added 10 and Seth Privratsky had nine. As a team, the Cougars went 15 of 19 from the free-throw line.

The Night Hawks returns home to host Region 7 opponent New England at 7 p.m. Friday. Heart River also hosts Region 7 opponent Mott-Regent 7 p.m. Friday.

HS 8 19 35 52 60 65

HR 14 27 35 52 60 62

HS: Hayden Sadowsky 16, Isaiah Kludt 13, Brandon Pierce 11, Kye Erickson 9, Nevan Weaver 4, Tanner Sanford 4, Damon Mellmer 2, Sam Kludt 2, Ben Pearson 2.

HR: Tyson Kudrna 16, Dion Madler 11, Cade Shypkoski 10, Seth Privratsky 9, Blayne Smith 8, Cole Olson 6.

3-pointers: HS 2 (Erickson, Sadowsky 1), HR 3 (Shypkoski 2, Kudrna 1). Free throws: HS 15-25, HR 15-19. Total fouls: HS 20, HR 25. Records: HS 7-6 (2-1 Region 7), HR 5-6 (1-2 Region 7).