Hazen outlasts Bowman County in foul-decided semifinal

The Hazen and Bowman County girls basketball teams went down to the wire and, due to foul trouble, each team went to the free-throw line time after time.

Paige Burling and Macy Smyle
Press Photo by Dustin Monke Hazen senior Paige Burling, right, takes a shot in the post over Bowman County sophomore Macy Smyle on Tuesday during the Region 7 girls basketball tournament semifinals at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

The Hazen and Bowman County girls basketball teams went down to the wire and, due to foul trouble, each team went to the free-throw line time after time.

The teams combined to shoot 64 free throws as the Bison edged the Bulldogs 52-50 in the semifinals of the Region 7 tournament on Tuesday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

"It was a game against two very evenly matched teams," Bowman County head coach Pam Fisher said. "Both teams got into foul trouble and tried to put together some semblance with bench personnel. Give Hazen credit. They played hard, but our kids played hard too."

The teams combined for 55 fouls and five players fouled out.

Bowman County held the edge in the free-throw percentage, going 26 of 34 (76 percent), while Hazen was 17 of 30 (57 percent).


However, Hazen made two of the most important free throws -- game-winners.

"It was so important," said Hazen point guard Morgan Karges, who started the game with back-to-back 3-pointers. "We had a few misses. It was just kind of nerve-wracking, but I knew my team could do it."

The Bison (13-11) held the lead for a majority of the game until the Bulldogs went ahead 38-37 when sophomore Kaitlyn Dix drained a jumper with 5 minutes, 37 seconds left in the game.

Hazen answered with a Paige Burling's 3-point play and two Sadie Bolton free throws and the Bison retook the lead 42-38. Burling had a game-high 18 points while sitting out less than 2 minutes.

"We count on Paige inside," Hazen head coach John Ward said. "I looked at Paige and told her she's got to be big tonight, but I can't expect Paige to play that many minutes every game."

Bowman County (14-9) didn't wait long to tie the game at 42 after a pair free throws from Kayla Palczewski. The senior forward had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

"It's was really exciting," Palczewski said. "It was great for us to even get here. Last year we only won two games and to get this far this year is a big step up for us."

After a minute of play, the Bison held a three-point advantage, 50-47, before Dix drained the game-tying 3-pointer with 36.3 seconds left.


"Kaityln's forte is offense and shooting," Fisher said. "We were kind of short on the offensive end at the end of the game and she hit a big bucket for us."

Hazen didn't back down and Mariya Schneider nailed two free throws on different trips to the free-throw line. The two free throws proved to be the game-winners.

The one player that Bowman County missed down the stretch was junior Kit Miller, who only played less than 11 minutes because of foul trouble and fouled out less than 3 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Miller still posted a team-high 12 points.

"It's going hard for us to win a ball game without Kit playing more minutes than that," Fisher said. "She just had some bad luck tonight."

Hazen's leads included an 18-11 advantage after the first quarter, 25-21 at halftime and 37-34 after the third.

"We like to come out right away strong," Karges said. "We kind of let up, but we knew had to stay in the game and give them our best shot."

Hazen faces its next test the No. 8-ranked Beach Buccaneers in the Region 7 championship at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.


"We can't expect to make it any further without playing the best teams," Ward said. "Beach is the best team and we have to go through them. We'll have to play our best game of the year."

BC 11 25 34 50

Hazen 18 29 37 52

BC: Kit Miller 12, Kayla Palczewski 10, Haley Sabe 8, Kaylee Heinrich 7, Kaitlyn Dix 5, Brittany Hansey 4, Morgan Woodley 4.

H: Paige Burling 18, Morgan Karges 10, Ashton Carter 8, Mariya Schneider 6, Racheal Biffert 4, Sadie Bolton 2, Rachael Hansana 2, Courtney Ost 2.

3-pointers: BC 2 (Dix 1, Palczewski 1), H 5 (Karges 3, Carter 2). Free throws: BC 26-34, H 17-30. Total fouls: BC 27, H 28. Fouled out: BC, Hansey, Heinrich, Miller, H, Bolton, Ost. Rebounds: BC 43 (Palczewski 10), H 27 (three with five). Assists: BC 8 (three with two), H 12 (Carter 4). Steals: BC 10 (three with two), H 2. Blocks: BC 0, H 3. Turnovers: BC 20, H 16. Records: BC 14-9, H 13-11.

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