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Dufault battles flu, drops 30 on Bulldogs

KILLDEER -- Even at less than full strength, Austin Dufault can't be stopped. The Killdeer senior poured in 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds despite battling the flu in the Cowboys' season-opening 53-45 victory over Bowman County Friday at the K...

KILLDEER -- Even at less than full strength, Austin Dufault can't be stopped.

The Killdeer senior poured in 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds despite battling the flu in the Cowboys' season-opening 53-45 victory over Bowman County Friday at the Killdeer High School gymnasium.

Dufault had 10 points in the first half before vomiting in the locker room at halftime.

"I have the entire weekend to get better," Dufault said. "I didn't want to miss this game. This is my last opening night at home."

The 6-foot-8 floor leader certainly must have felt better at the start of the second half, and more importantly for Killdeer (1-0), in the fourth quarter.

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Dufault, a returning first-team all-state selection, had nine points in the third quarter to help Killdeer outscore the Bulldogs (0-1) 15-4 after the Cowboys trailed 27-21 at the half.

As exciting as he was in helping Killdeer hold a 36-31 lead at the third-quarter break, the show he put on in the fourth was downright impressive.

After Dufault scored a basket to put the Cowboys up 40-37 midway through the fourth, he came down and hit 3-pointers on Killdeer's next three possessions to give the Cowboys a 49-39 lead.

Bowman County senior Alex Wolf nailed a 2-pointer during the run, but Dufault was not to be denied.

His 11 points in 1:44 was too much for the Bulldogs, who led the entire first half. Killdeer shot 72 percent in the second half.

"We have to give them a lot of credit," Bowman County coach Gary Ballard said. "Dufault kept backing up and making shots. I give all their kids credit. They have a nice team."

Even though the Cowboys entered the contest with just two players who had ever started a varsity game, they got great contributions from role players including center Drew Gartner, who had nine points in his first game as a varsity starter and finished the contest despite getting flagged with three first-half fouls.

"He really learned how to play with fouls," Killdeer coach Rich Dufault said.

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Killdeer finished with 19 assists as senior point guard Micheal Wagner had seven assists and junior Ethan Harris chipped in five helpers.

"We have unselfish kids," Rich Dufault said. "They know where the leadership has to come from."

Bowman County's young squad held its own in the first half, jumping out to a 13-4 lead and staving off Killdeer runs.

Wolf was the star of the first half, scoring 11 points and getting seven rebounds. The 6-4 center had his own 6-0 run in the second quarter including a slam dunk to top it off.

"We talked about it at halftime," Rich Dufault said of playing defense against Wolf. "We had to know where he was all the time. If you lose him, he'll score on you and if you guard him one-on-one down low, he'll get you in foul trouble.

"He's very good with his body."

Wolf finished with a team-high 15 points. Sophomore Brock Boos had 10 points.

"We're trying to become a post-oriented team," Ballard said. "We're trying to find a happy mixture."

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Killdeer 53, Bowman County 45

Bowman Co. 14 27 31 45

Killdeer 9 21 36 53

BC: Brock Boos 10, Kenzie Robertson 8, Tyson Harding 9, Tyler Fischer 1, Brennan Dyk 2, Alex Wolf 15.

Killdeer: Gabe Fettig 4, Ethan Harris 2, Micheal Wagner 6, Austin Dufault 30, Drew Gartner 9, Wade Trotter 2.

3-pointers: Boos 2, Robertson 2, Dufault 4. Free throws: BC 7-12, Killdeer 7-13. Total fouls: BC 14, Killdeer 17. Rebounds: BC 27 (Wolf 9), Killdeer 28 (Dufault 11). Assists: BC 16 (Boos 5, Logan Cox 5), Killdeer 17 (Wagner 7). Steals: BC 11 (Cox 6), Killdeer 14 (Fettig 4). Turnovers: BC 23, Killdeer 19. Records: BC 0-1, Killdeer 1-0

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