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Late comeback, buzzer-beater puts Mott-Regent in Region 7 semis

The Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks, so keyed in on Tanner Zentner, who finished with 25, and Brady Wegh, who added 21, forgot all about Sean Hertz. After a mad scramble for a loose ball in the final seconds of Mott-Regent's matchup with the Night...

Mott-Regent's Sean Hertz goes for a layup in the third quarter against Hettinger-Scranton Monday night at the Knights of Columbus Activites Center. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)
Mott-Regent's Sean Hertz goes for a layup in the third quarter against Hettinger-Scranton Monday night at the Knights of Columbus Activites Center. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)

The Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks, so keyed in on Tanner Zentner, who finished with 25, and Brady Wegh, who added 21, forgot all about Sean Hertz.

After a mad scramble for a loose ball in the final seconds of Mott-Regent's matchup with the Night Hawks in the Region 7 Tournament quarterfinals, the Wildfire, tied at 68, had one final chance to win the game in regulation.

With 2.3 seconds left, Hettinger-Scranton (16-6) had Zenter and Wegh accounted for, but Hertz slipped free right under the basket.

Dylan Ambers, the inbounder, found him for a layup as time expired, giving Mott-Regent the 70-68 win on Monday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

Mott-Regent (17-5), which had to win a play-in game last week just to make it to the tournament, moves on to play Dickinson Trinity in the semifinals on Tuesday.

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"They really keyed on Brady in the middle, looking for the lob. Tanner was out the wing, they were keying on him for a three-pointer," said Hertz, who scored 11. "I made perfect eye contact with Dylan Ambers, and he got me the pass right in the right spot. I knew I just had to make one bucket, and I was lucky enough to put it in."

That Zentner and Wegh were the main focus for Hettinger-Scranton was no secret; trailing for most of the game, the Wildfire were kept alive by those two. Zentner had 16 in the second half and finished 10 of 18 from the field and 5 of 12 from deep. Wegh, despite paying with four fouls for the final 11 minutes of the game, scored 11 of the Wildfire's final 16 points.

They were the reason the Night Hawks' previous lead had evaporated with just seconds to spare, so, confirmed Night Hawk head coach Jeremy Dietchman, those two were definitely the priority.

"We were focused on a couple of guys, with their two best players having 46 points, we knew we had to stop them," he said. "We got caught cheating on to the corner, and they snuck a guy we weren't really worried about behind, but give him credit, they drew up the play and it worked."

The Night Hawks, led all night by the nifty play of 5-foot-6 junior point guard Isaiah Kludt, who had 18 and five assists, were ahead by six at the half, six after three quarters and six with five minutes left.

Up to that point, they had found a way to stop every run by the Wildfire had. Jared Mattis matched Kludt with 18, and Carson Schalesky chipped in 16 on 8 of 10 shooting to spark the Night Hawks up until that point.

But that lead-60-54 with five to go-is when Wegh began his run of 11 points in the final few minutes.

Mott-Regent took a lead with 3:30 left, then Hettinger-Scranton's Ethan Dupper hit a three. The lead changed hands four more times from that point, and the final tie came when Kludt hit a game-tying three with 1:41 left to make it 68-68.

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No one scored from then on out until Hertz's shot at the buzzer. But, as Mott-Regent coach Nate Zachmann noted, there would be no buzzer-beater glory without the hard work of his two leading men.

"Brady and Tanner are just competitors, they love to compete, you should see them at practice," he said. "Brady does so many intangible things, things you can't scout. I was proud of how he played through his foul trouble. A lot of athletes would have checked themselves. Tanner didn't back down all night long, that's what I love about Tanner-just so proud of the boys, it feels good."

 

Mott-Regent 70, Hettinger-Scranton 68

MR 14 19 16 21

HS 17 22 16 13

MR: Tanner Zentner 25, Brady Wegh 21, Sean Hertz 11, Cody Perkins 7, Hunter Crist 4, Dylan Ambers 2.

HS: Isaiah Kludt 18, Jared Mattis 18, Carson Schalesky 16, Ethan Dupper 6, Tate Resner 5, Jaxon Mellmer 3, Jordan Dilse 2.

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