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Bearcats feature many returners and new head coach

In its first game of the 2017-18 campaign, the Glen Ullin-Hebron boys basketball team collected a 65-61 victory over Heart River in the opening round of the Roughrider Tournament.

Bearcats junior guard Braden Zuroff attempts a shot in the lane against Bowman County during the 2017 Roughrider Tournament on Dec. 14 from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
Bearcats senior guard Braden Zuroff attempts a shot in the lane against Bowman County during the 2017 Roughrider Tournament on Thursday, Dec. 14, from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon/The Dickinson Press)

In its first game of the 2017-18 campaign, the Glen Ullin-Hebron boys basketball team collected a 65-61 victory over Heart River in the opening round of the Roughrider Tournament.

More than two months later, the Cougars ended the Bearcats' season with a 57-49 triumph during the first round of the Region 7 Tournament.

Sandwiched in between those two games, the two teams battled during a regular season contest in which Heart River emerged with a 62-59 win in double overtime.

Greg Pruitt coached against the Bearcats during that closely-contested trifecta, but after a decade of leading the Cougars, he enters his first season as the Glen Ullin-Hebron head coach.

"It's nice to get to coach those kids this year, instead of having to prep to play those kids this year," Pruitt said. "I was recently the coach of Heart River for 10 years, so normally this time of the year, we're prepping for teams and putting in the fundamentals, but I'm really excited with what we have at Glen Ullin-Hebron."

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From his view on the opposing bench, Pruitt says the one thing that stood out about the Bearcats was their athleticism, and he believes it can carry them a long way. However, the attribute that may propel them into a postseason run is their experience on the court with one another.

Returning a senior-starting lineup of forwards Braden Zuroff, Mason Gerving, and Braxton Rolle alongside guards Chase Remboldt and Garret Soupir, Glen Ullin-Hebron carries one of the few rosters in Region 7 that did not lose any talent from a year ago.

"As a coach's point of view, there's no better feeling than returning your entire team. For me though, being that it's my first time with them, I wish those guys actually were juniors and sophomores because I think we could do a lot more and have a lot more success," Pruitt said. "Those guys are returning, it's just them starting to understand a new style of basketball. That's the thing that I have to do, is to try and get them to understand my style, and I think from there good things can happen."

Glen-Ullin Hebron also expects to receive contributions from sophomore guards Grant Gerving and Dawson Zuroff in reserve roles. Senior forward Cade Kaster will also come off the bench, rounding out a senior class that will have its fourth different head coach in as many years.

The Bearcats have compiled a 24-42 record over the previous three seasons, including a 5-17 overall mark and a 2-12 showing against regional opponents one year ago.

Nonetheless, the 2018-19 campaign is the start of a new year, one in which the Bearcats hope to follow in the successful footsteps of the school's football team, who were the 9-man state runner-ups. Many of the program's featured players on the hardwood are just weeks removed from glory on the gridiron.

"They definitely know how to win being that they played in the state football championship game," Pruitt said. "They're all multi-sport athletes. Braden Zuroff and Garret Soupir, they're two All-State selections in 9-man football. They know how to win a game."

Glen Ullin-Hebron will kick off its season again against Heart River during the Roughrider Tournament on Tuesday, Dec. 11. While the start to this year is similar to last year, the Bearcats are aiming to avoid the same finish.

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"I'd really like to see these guys get into the regional tournament. Unfortunately they've been on the short end of the stick the last few years with that. But I would like to get these groups of seniors in the regional tournament, not just the play-in game," Pruitt said. "I personally believe we can be a top-4 team in the region; it's just a matter of the shortness of time in trying to get the kids ready in a new system."

Glen Ullin-Hebron junior forward Braxton Rolle looks to score inside against Heart River on Feb. 27 from South Heart High School. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)
Glen Ullin-Hebron senior forward Braxton Rolle looks to score inside against Heart River on Feb. 27, from South Heart High School. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

Related Topics: GLEN ULLIN-HEBRON BEARCATS
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