Emotional victory

The Heart River boys basketball team walked through the line to shake hands with Killdeer players after their game on Monday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

Jordan Strecker
Press Photo by Dustin Monke Heart River junior forward Jordan Strecker, left, drives to the hoop against Killder senior forward Broderick Balderaus on Monday during a Region 7 tournament quarterfinal game at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

The Heart River boys basketball team walked through the line to shake hands with Killdeer players after their game on Monday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

It took a while though since nearly every Heart River player stopped to hug or console Killdeer sophomore Brock Pittsley.

The Cougars walked away with a heartfelt 63-54 Region 7 tournament quarterfinal victory the same day as Pittsley's father, David, was buried.

"My heart goes out to Brock. You cannot come out and play a game like that," Heart River head coach Greg Pruitt said. "It brought tears to my eyes. The kid's a great kid. His dad is looking down and smiling upon him."

Pittsley had 12 points and seven rebounds and shot 5 of 7 from the field to help keep Killdeer in the game and received a thunderous ovation for every shot he made and every board he grabbed.


The emotional lift he brought to the Cowboys, however, wasn't enough to push them past the Cougars (13-10), District 13's No. 2 seed.

Heart River began shutting the door when Dalton O'Brien buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 6:10 left and Dylan Northrop followed 30 seconds later with three free throws.

Jordan Strecker came off the bench once again and had 20 points and nine rebounds to lead the Cougars, who gradually gained control of a game that had 11 lead changes.

Heart River trailed 14-9 at the end of the first quarter, but went up 29-28 at halftime. It was tied at 44 at the end of the third quarter.

"We got back into the game and started playing right and getting our heads back into the game and doing what we had to do," Strecker said.

Strecker wasn't the end-all, be-all for Heart River's bench either.

Junior Jarek Haverluk added 14 points and six rebounds off the bench. Senior Jordan Zarak added five points.

Heart River will face District 14 champion Beulah at 6 p.m. today in the semifinals.


"Our seniors really stepped up tonight," Pruitt said.

Killdeer, District 14's No. 3 seed, ends its season at 9-13 after losing seven of its first eight games.

The Cowboys stayed in the game with big shots at opportune moments. Killdeer led 19-11 early in the second quarter after Austy Sadowsky's three-point play. Sadowsky finished with a team-high 18 points.

Colt Mavity got going in the second quarter too, scoring 10 of his 13 points over the 8-minute stretch.

"I couldn't be more proud of our team," Mavity said.

Killdeer 14 28 44 54

HR 9 29 44 63

K: Austy Sadowsky 18, Colt Mavity 13, Brock Pittsley 12, Ben Pelton 6, Calum Blankenship 2, Broderick Balderas 2, Brodie Candrian 1.


HR: Jordan Strecker 20, Jarek Haverluk 14, Dalton O'Brien 6, Zach Krivoruchka 6, Dylan Northrop 5, Jordan Zarak 5, Seth Ewoniuk 4, Sean Johnson 3.

3-pointers: K 1 (Pittsley 1), HR 3 (O'Brien 2, Haverluk 1). Free throws: K 11-18, HR 12-21. Total fouls: K 19, HR 17. Rebounds: K 30 (Mavity 9), HR 33 (Strecker 9). Assists: K 14 (Candrian 4), HR 13 (Northrop 4). Steals: K 7 (Pelton 3), HR 6 (O'Brien 2). Blocks: K 2 (Blakenship 2), HR 1 (O'Brien 1). Turnovers: K 18, HR 13.

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