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Mott-Regent wrestles win from Heart River, sets matchup with Trinity

Mott-Regent's Brady Wegh and Heart River's Tristen Schuhrke fight for a loose ball Thursday night at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)

Mott-Regent's Brady Wegh might just have cracked the code to prep basketball.

In the Wildfire's 66-50 win over Heart River in the Roughrider Tournament Thursday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center, the senior relentlessly crashed the offensive glass, compiling a 27-point, 16-rebound night. He was 11 of 13 from the field, with virtually every point coming within a foot of the basket.

The majority of his scores were on weak-side offensive rebounds that turned into easy tip-ins.

But according to Wegh, it was just a night that went according to plan.

"In high school basketball, a lot of coaches teach the box out, but a lot of players don't actually follow through and do that box out, so when the ball is shot, say, on the left side of the court, 70 percent of the time it will end up on the right side, so that's the side you crash boards on," Wegh explained. "I guess I just follow the ball. I don't have it all figured it out, but that's what my strong suit is, what I look to do in games."

With the win, Mott-Regent moves on to the tournament finals against Dickinson Trinity, which earlier beat Bowman County.

Behind the unrelenting play from Wegh from the very beginning of the game, the Wildfire jumped out to a 17-9 first-quarter lead. Heart River kept it even for most of the remainder of the game, matching point totals for the next two quarters, but ultimately couldn't keep up with the energy on both ends that Wegh's play sparked.

"Brady Wegh, he's a man amongst boys. Seems like he had probably 25 rebounds," Heart River coach Greg Pruitt said. "Credit to them, they outplayed us tonight and we have to get better. I loved the effort we had, but they were better tonight. We're going to try and get ourselves better and give them a better run if we meet them down the stretch."

The Cougars, led by 22 points on 9 of 24 shooting from Dion Madler, kept their defensive press up all night, and managed to force 20 Wildfire turnovers.

They clawed their way to within eight points with a little over two minutes left, but a Wegh layup, a Sean Hertz jump shot and another Cody Perkins layup in rapid succession put the Wildfire up 14 and in charge for good.

Outside of Wegh, Mott-Regent shot just 14 of 42, but always seemed to find ways to score when Heart River was putting together a run.

Tanner Zentner was second in points with 14, and had a game-high six assists. Perkins connected on 4 of his 5 shots and finished with nine, and Hertz was next with eight.

Both teams combined to hit just 7 of 31 3-pointers and finished with a combined 39 turnovers.

It wasn't necessarily a pretty game, but Wildfire coach Nate Zachmann said it was effective.

"Coach Pruitt and I both have the same philosophy, to get after each other defensively," he said. "At times it got out of control and let their defense dictate our offense, which means no rhythm. But we'll take it with the defense we played."

Mott-Regent 66, Heart River 50

HR 9 17 10 14

MR 17 17 10 22

V: Dion Madler 22, Zane Besler 14, Tristen Schuhrke 6, Caleb Chrusch 4, Jayden Krivoruchka 3,Cauy Shypkoski 1.

H: Brady Wegh 27, Tanner Zentner 14, Cody Perkins 9, Sean Hertz 8, Dylan Ambers 6, Josh Wallace 2.

3-pointers: HR 3-17 (Madler 2-7, Krivoruchka 1-4, Schuhrke 0-3, Besler 0-2), MR 4-14 (Zentner 2-8, Perkins 1-1, Wegh 1-3, Hunter Crist 0-1, Ambers 0-1). Free throws: HR 12-24, MR 5-10. Total fouls: HR 17, MR 20. Rebounds: HR 31 (Besler 7), MR 41 (Wegh 16). Assists: HR 9 (Three with two), MR 11 (Zentner 6). Steals: HR 17 (Besler 3), MR 15 (Zentner, Hertz 2). Blocks: HR 0, MR 1 (Ambers 1). Turnovers: HR 19, MR 20.