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Late stops carry Bowman County past Heart River

In a contest decided by a couple of bounces, the Bowman County girls basketball team utilized defense and free throw shooting to advance to the Region 7 Tournament championship game on Thursday, Feb. 22 against Killdeer.

Bowman County senior forward Meggie Fischer attempts a jumper over the contest of a pair of Heart River players during the Region 7 Tournament Semifinal held at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center on Tuesday, Feb. 20. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)
Bowman County senior forward Meggie Fischer attempts a jumper over the contest of a pair of Heart River players during the Region 7 Tournament Semifinal held at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center on Tuesday, Feb. 20. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

In a contest decided by a couple of bounces, the Bowman County girls basketball team utilized defense and free throw shooting to advance to the Region 7 Tournament championship game on Thursday, Feb. 22 against Killdeer.

Tied in the game's final seconds, the Bulldogs clutch plays down the stretch amounted to a 48-44 victory over Heart River on Tuesday, Feb. 20 from the Knight of Columbus Activities Center.

"Defense has always been our thing," Bulldogs head coach Jaden Schoch said. "We work on defense probably more than anything in practice. We know shooting might not be there some nights, but our defense can always be there. That's what wins you championships. We firmly believe that as a team."

Down 44-40 with 1:11 following a pair of missed free throws of from Bulldogs sophomore forward Ashlynn Dix, Cougars senior guard Bailey Olson natched the rebound and doubled the length of the court for a layup. Following a stop on defense, Olson was rewarded for her aggression as she drew a blocking foul on Dix and sank her two free throws to tie it.

Following a Bowman County timeout on the ensuing inbounds, Bulldog senior forward Meggie Fischer was fouled before a pass could be made. She calmly made the first attempt, but had her second attempt spin out of the hoop.

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Olson again got the ball and made a hard push to the basket. However, unlike her last made field goal, Bulldog defensive pressure concluded in Olson releasing an off-balance shot in the lane that bounced off of the back rim.

The Bulldogs were fouled, and again made one of two free throw attempts.

With the game hanging in the balance and the final seconds ticking, Bowman County fought off all angst, drawing back to previous experiences and tight battles.

"There was definitely a lot of nervousness, but we've been in this game before," Fischer said. "We knew what we had to do. A lot of pressure but we got [the win] because we've played in the championship game before and know what pressure feels like."

With under 20 seconds remaining in the game, Heart River senior guard Bayli Krance drove toward the baseline, but her pull-up jumper was cleanly blocked by junior Abigail Bartholomay.

Immediately fouled, the guard sealed the semifinal victory with two free throws.

Fischer led all scorers with 20 points while Olson paced the Cougars with 12 points.

Afterward, Cougars head coach Gary Ballard was gracious in defeat.

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"Had our chances, but sometimes the ball doesn't fall in the hoop," Ballard said. "You hope you make all those ones that you miss. [Bowman County] did a nice job, they are a nice basketball team. It should be a good championship game between them and Killdeer."

Bowman County 48, Heart River 44

HR 7 16 5 16

BC 14 4 11 19

HR: Bailey Olson 12, Ashlyn Privratsky 10, Bailey Boltz 5, Laken Jacobson 5, Afton Shypkoski 5, Caylee Wilke 4, Bayli Krance 3.

BC: Meggie Fischer 20, Ellie Stafford 10, Ashlynn Dix 7, Maury Burke 5, Abigail Bartholomay 3, Cassidy Walby 3.

3-pointers: HR 4 (Boltz 1, Krance 1, Privratsky 1, Shypkoski 1), BC 1 (Bartholomay 1). Free throws: HR 12-13, BC 13-22. Total fouls: HR 20, BC 15. Fouled out: 2 (HR: Privratsky 1, BC: Stafford). Rebounds: HR 23 (Olson 6), BC 35 (Burke 8). Assists: HR 4 (Olson 2), BC 7 (Burke 3). Steals: HR 7 (Jacobson 3), BC 6 (Fischer 3). Blocks: HR 0, BC 2 (Fischer 1, Stafford 1). Turnovers: HR 12, BC 16. Records: HR 16-7, BC 18-5.

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Heart River senior forward Ashlyn Privratsky goes up for a shot inside against Bowman County on Tuesday, Feb. 20 from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)
Heart River senior forward Ashlyn Privratsky goes up for a shot inside against Bowman County on Tuesday, Feb. 20 from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

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