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Bowman County defeat Beulah in Roughrider tournament final

The Bulldogs and Miners squared off in the Roughrider tournament championship game in Killdeer.

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Bowman County senior Andrea Rodakowski (13) looks for an open teammate in the second quarter against Beulah in the Roughrider tournament final on Saturday, Dec. 11 in Killdeer. (Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press)

A pair of Region 7 favorites met in the championship game of the 46th annual Roughrider girls basketball tournament in Killdeer Saturday night.

Bowman County defeated New England and Heart River on their way to the final, while Beulah went through Richardton-Taylor and Hettinger-Scranton.

Two teams believed to be atop the region standings come late February got an early look at each other. From the opening tip, the Bulldogs were relentless on defense and crashing the boards and came away with a 53-49 victory to win the tournament.

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The Bowman County bench celebrates a made 3-point basket in the second quarter against Beulah in the Roughrider tournament final on Saturday, Dec. 11 in Killdeer. (Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press)

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“It benefits us so we can see where we’re at and what we can work on,” Bowman County co-head coach Jaci Mrnak said about facing a good region foe early. “It’s early in the season and we have a long way to go but it’s always great to compete against good teams.”

Paired with an opportunistic defense, Bowman County nailed four 3-pointers in the first quarter, two by eighth-grader Mickellyn Walker, for a 14-9 lead. Four more 3-pointers followed in the second quarter, including three from sophomore Jaci Fischer, to continue the barrage from beyond the arc.

The Bulldogs offense was in rhythm from the opening tip, moving the ball around the perimeter and finding open shooters. At times the ball was thrown inside to post players Raegen Honeymann and Ellie Powell, who then kicked the ball back out to the perimeter for an open look.

It was 30-20 at halftime and despite the size advantage Beulah had on the inside with 6-foot-2 junior Harys Beauchamp, Bowman County’s aggression on defense was overwhelming the Miners.

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Bowman County junior Ellie Powell (right) goes up for the block on Jenna Koppelsloen (left) in the second quarter against Beulah in the Roughrider tournament final on Saturday, Dec. 11 in Killdeer. (Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press)

“They showed an amazing effort,” Mrnak said. “They’re always preaching in practice to get up and pressure the ball. They work hard and when they do, everyone feeds off it and they get into the game and encourage each other.”

The Bulldogs had one one more 3-pointer for the rest of the game, but kept up the pressure on defense, forcing multiple turnovers in the backcourt and ten-second violations. With each passing turnover came an even louder cheer from the Bowman County faithful in the stands.

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Beulah outscored the Bulldogs 20-14 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback as they were down 39-29 going into the final quarter.

A tournament final meant a trophy was on the line which the Bulldogs promptly celebrated at the conclusion of the game. A win against a quality opponent like Beulah in the opening weeks of the season will certainly boost the confidence of a young and hungry Bulldogs team.

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Bowman County celebrate their Roughrider tournament championship. (Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press)

“It gives us some confidence,” Mrnak said. “But like we said we have a long way to go and some kinks to fix but it gets the girls excited for the rest of the season and see how we compete against everyone else in the region.”

Fischer finished with a team-high 17 points with four 3-pointers. Walker was the next highest scorer with nine.

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BOX SCORE

BC - 14 16 9 14, 53

BM - 8 12 9 20, 49

Bowman County leading scorers - Jaci Fischer, 17; Mickellyn Walker, 9; Sophia Headley, Reagan Honeymann, 8; Ellie Powell, Andrea Rodakowski, 4; Jayda Miller, 3.

ROUGHRIDER TOURNAMENT SCORES

3rd place game - Hettinger-Scranton 47, Heart River 36

5th place game - Stanley 65, New England 53

7th place game - Killdeer 38, Richardton-Taylor 30

Related Topics: BASKETBALLBEULAH MINERSGIRLS BASKETBALL
Race Archibald is a former sports reporter with The Dickinson Press.
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