Tigers take regional win in Heart River
In the Class B Region 7 girls basketball matchup between Heart River and New England, it was a close fought battle that ended in heartbreak for the home team.
The two squads met inside the Belfield Public School gymnasium Monday night. The Tigers secured a ten-point lead before halftime, but the lead would go back and forth in the second half. The game seemed destined for overtime but the Tigers executed an offensive play to win at 53-51.
New England head coach Jason Jung praised his team's execution through the game and his top shooters of the game.
“It was a battle. We had a nice lead in the first half, but we knew they would fight back,” Jung said. “I just give our kids a ton of credit for staying the course, being organized and focused. They played four quarters of good basketball and we have been looking for that consistency this year and we got it tonight.”
Heart River head coach Ronnie Stewart gave proper recognition to the traveling team, putting the loss as a lack of desire from his side.
“They (New England) wanted it more and our girls decided to maybe not give it their all until the second half and in our region you can't afford to take some plays off,” Stewart said. “We stayed away from our game plan … Our press break is designed specifically to break a 2-2-1 press and we still failed to go back to what simplified this.”
The Cougars fell behind in the first quarter with New England pressuring and being active in the gaps. A majority of Heart River’s points came from two of their seniors, Jordan Buckman and Meg Silbernagel. Combined they had 19 points in the first half and 38 total.
The Tigers had shooters from all over in the first quarter to take the lead 18-14. In the second they would hold a ten-point lead with less than a minute remaining, but the Cougars gained some ground back ending the first half 30-23.
Heart River found more confidence in the second half outscoring New England in both quarters, but it would come too little too late.
The game was tied at 51 with 17 seconds on the clock in the final quarter when New England took a timeout. They set up their last play of the night that came together perfectly. The Cougars tried to push the ball down the court, but would turn it over and the Tigers held the ball until the buzzer.
“We actually executed the play before we just missed the shot,” Jung said. “However, we got another chance and the girls just kept their composure and I am so happy for them and it is a huge regional win for us.
New England's top scorer was Irea De Paz Nogueira with 13, followed by Hannah Frank with 12. Frank led in steals with five and tied Jersey Binstock for most rebounds with six.
Meg Silbernagel led Heart River in points with 20 with four shots coming from beyond the arc. Buckman had 18 points and went 4-for-7 at the line.