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New England scorched by Wildfire

Mott-Regent senior Isaac Frey paced the Wildfire with 23 points in a win over New England during the first round of the Roughrider Tournament on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)1 / 3
New England junior forward Cooper Granger attempts a layup against Mott-Regent in the Roughrider Tournament on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)2 / 3
Mott-Regent senior Asad Watson Buffalo puts the offense in motion against New England on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)3 / 3

For the first three minutes, the Mott-Regent boys basketball team struggled, as New England trotted out to a 9-2 lead. Wildfire head coach Pat Perkins called a timeout and from there, his team scored 11 straight points to take a 13-9 lead.

In each quarter, Mott-Regent improved their production, routing Region 7 opponent 71-49 on Tuesday, December 11 at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

"For some reason, we always get to a start slow, dig ourselves a little bit of a hole before we go to work," Perkins said. "I don't know if it's just something to challenge themselves or what, but we're trying to change that culture or mindset so we can come out and start fast and play fast."

Once they were reminded of that, the Wildfire offense could not be stopped as seniors Isaac Frey and Cody Perkins scored 23 and 22 points, respectively. Ahead of halftime, the 6-foot-4 Perkins netted eight straight to stretch the lead to 28-22.

Frey, who couldn't remember a time he's scored 23 points, shot 9 of 18 from the field and led the team behind the three-point line going 3-for-6. Perkins was slightly more efficient going 9-for-15 from the field.

Frey said there was a few things that led to their success on offense.

"We always talk about dribble penetration and on-ball screens and that would open it up for the next person," Frey said. "It all worked out how it should have."

If they weren't pulling up jumpers, senior Asad Watson Buffalo was driving to the basket. The 6-foot-2 guard/forward earned the game's only double-double, scoring 14 points while sucking in 10 rebounds.

Still, Coach Perkins saw plenty to improve on.

"Our offense was a little rough. We did a lot of standing around," he noted. "For the most part they worked hard. I'm a new coach, so there's always a problem with continuity when you change coaching staff, so that's something that's going evolve."

In addition to the Mott-Regent's rapid-fire offense, 18 turnovers held New England back. Out-of-bound passes, fouls and 10 Wildfire steals were a big detriment to the Tigers.

"That's one thing that our defense really does well is turn teams over," Coach Perkins said. "We do that as much to get the guys working as anything. Their offense seems to feed off of pressure defense."

Other than the opening stretch, in which juniors Jaxon Hewson, Cooper Granger and senior Zach Madler combined to build a 9-2 lead, New England struggled.

"We're a pretty young team yet," Tigers head coach Kaine Hanson said. "We still have a lot of learning to do on the defensive end of the floor, and offense, how to play with a lead."

Hewson stayed consistent, accumulating 15 points and five boards.

"He was aggressive," Hanson said. "He knew he had to pick it up because we need scoring on our team. We struggle to score the ball sometimes."

Mott-Regent 71, New England 49

MR 15 17 22 17

NE 12 14 13 10

MR: Isaac Frey 23, Cody Perkins 22, Asad Watson Buffalo 14, Caleb Candrian 3, Jaden Hauck 3, Teddy Mayer 2, Logan Lutz 2, Sam Huether 2.

NE: Jaxon Hewson 15, Aiden Rebel 10, Ace Fischer 6, Michael Frank 6, Zach Madler 5, Cooper Granger 5, Logan Wolf 2.

3-pointers: MR 6-18 (Frey 3-6), NE 5-12 (Rebel, Hewson 2-4). Free throws: MR 5-9, NE 8-11. Total fouls: MR 13, NE 12. Rebounds: MR 37 (Watson Buffalo 10), NE 33 (Hewson, Frank 5). Assists: MR 6 (Candrian, Watson Buffalo, Perkins 2), NE 6 (Granger 2). Steals: MR 10 (Perkins 4), NE 5 (Hewson, Rebel 2). Blocks: MR 2 (Perkins), NE 1 (Joseph Harmon). Turnovers: MR 8, NE 18. Records: MR 2-0, NE 0-2.