Miners' veteran length propels them to third consecutive region final
HAZEN -- The Beulah boys basketball team held a 34-27 lead at halftime, but considering the fight in Heart River, the team knew it wasn't a sufficient advantage.
HAZEN - The Beulah boys basketball team held a 34-27 lead at halftime, but considering the fight in Heart River, the team knew it wasn't a sufficient advantage.
The Miners came out of the locker room and burst into a 13-2 run, earning an 18-point lead, their largest of the night. While the lead varied from then on out, it remained, with Beulah taking the 72-58 victory.
"Anytime you play Heart River you know they're going to play hard. Those kids, they play so hard, they compete hard. It was no different tonight," Beulah head coach Jeremy Brandt said. "To me the difference was maybe that run we made in the third quarter. We were able to stretch our lead out a little bit to give ourselves a little cushion. Obviously, we needed it with the way things got a little helter skelter at the end."
Senior Derek Ferebee led the Miners in all aspects of the game, as he has all season, putting up a game-high 28 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
His length and athleticism isn't an anomaly for Beulah, which boasts a starting lineup of seniors 6-foot-1 or taller. Their experience and size combined proved fatal for the Cougars.
"It helps alot. We're all about 6'2'', lengthy guards and it helps a lot on the defensive end," Ferebee said. "We're all fast. We have no slow guys so we can just run all the time. We just run against any team so that's a strength of ours and we try to use it as much as we can."
With four and a half minutes left in the second quarter, Heart River cut a nine point deficit to three, completed by a pair of free throws from senior Caleb Chruszch.
The Cougars got a stop and sophomore Lane Chruszch brought the ball under the net, stopped in preparation to pass or shoot, and his right knee gave out underneath him. The young player started his first varsity game the day before to carry a new 1-3-1 Cougar defense.
"I don't want to blame the game on that by any means, but he brings a lot of energy for us on the defensive side," Heart River head coach Greg Pruitt said. "It's sad to see something like that happen but it's kind of one of those things at every sporting event, that's why you have 15 people on the bench. Somebody has the opportunity to step up. I thought Jesse (Canode) came in and did a good job. We just didn't have what we needed tonight."
From there, the Beulah lead only grew. Behind Ferebee, seniors Logan Miller and Jacob Weigel contributed 16 and 9 points, respectively, helping the Miners shoot 60.4 percent from the field on the night.
C. Chruszch led the Cougars with 19 points, driving to the basket and popping up for a jumper nearly every time. He pushed through a Beulah defense that was trying to limit him.
"We were trying to contain him a little bit better than we did," Brandt said. "He played a really great game tonight. He was hard to guard and gave us fits at times. He's the key to their team."
With the Miners cutting off the inside lane, Heart River senior Jayden Krivoruchka and junior Cauy Shypkoski, who scored 18 and 14 points respectively, were forced to step up and take more shots near and behind the three-point arc. Krivoruchka netted his first to end Beulah's run in the third quarter and his second with just over a minute remaining in the contest, cutting into the deficit.
"That was a good game plan on Coach Brandt's part," Pruitt said. "We wanted to get the ball inside. We didn't have very good ball movement, but the thing is, I'm proud of the guys. They battle until the end."
While the Miners committed 14 turnovers, 11 in the second half, and had players get into foul trouble, that all occurred towards the very end of the contest, when the game got chippier.
"We're fortunate we have some athletic kids, but sometimes we get in bad habits and gamble rather than play position," Brandt said. "I thought tonight at times we did that where we got out of position defensively and you saw some of the fouls at the end there. We're trying to block shots. We shouldn't be blocking shots, we should be boxing out and rebounding."
Mistakes won't roll off as easy in the championship contest where Beulah will face Dickinson Trinity, which they've faced in the championship the past two years.
"The last two years we lost both times, so we're obviously not trying to make it a three-peat of losses," Ferebee said. "We'll get some rest tonight, get healed up and hopefully we come out tomorrow and get the win."
No. 1 Beulah 72, No. 5 Heart River 58
HR 12 15 7 24
B 17 17 15 23
HR: Caleb Chruszch 19, Jayden Krivoruchka 18, Cauy Shypkoski 14, Trace Jacobson 5, Jesse Canode 2.
B: Derek Ferebee 28, Logan Miller 16, Jacob Weigel 9, Aaron Vallejo 7, Mason Dolbec 6, Trey Brandt 6.
3-pointers: HR 4-17 (Krivoruchka 2-7), B 4-13 (Ferebee, Weigel 2-6). Free throws: HR 14-19, B 10-19. Total fouls: HR 19, B 16. Fouled out: B Dolbec. Rebounds: HR 31 (Jacobson 5), B 35 (Ferebee, Weigel 6). Assists: HR 9 (Jacobson, Chruszch, L. Chruszch, Shypkoski 2), B 15 (Ferebee 7). Steals: HR 5 (C. Chruszch), B 4 (Ferebee 2). Blocks: B 4 (Weigel 2). Turnovers: HR 9, B 14. Records: HR 12-12, B 19-4.