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New Cougar defense halts Beach producers

HAZEN -- In the quarterfinals of the Region 7 tournament, the Heart River boys basketball team made a big change. Head Coach Greg Pruitt started sophomore Lane Chruszch over senior Jesse Canode. The reason, a new 1-3-1 zone defense the team has w...

Heart River senior Caleb Chruszch puts the ball on net in a Region 7 quarterfinal against Beach on Thursday, March 8 at Bison Arena in Hazen. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Heart River senior Caleb Chruszch puts the ball on net in a Region 7 quarterfinal against Beach on Thursday, March 8 at Bison Arena in Hazen. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

HAZEN - In the quarterfinals of the Region 7 tournament, the Heart River boys basketball team made a big change. Head Coach Greg Pruitt started sophomore Lane Chruszch over senior Jesse Canode. The reason, a new 1-3-1 zone defense the team has worked on for about a week.

Chruszch ended up scoring 14 points and played a huge defensive role in the Cougars 72-63 win over Beach on Thursday, March 8 at the Bison Arena in Hazen.

"Hats off to Jesse Canode because he normally starts for us. A very unselfish individual to let Lane Chruszch come in and do his job. I'm proud of the guys. We stayed course," Pruitt said. "The one focus was to increase the pressure on the defensive side, make them earn their shots and I thought we did that really well."

Despite being a sophomore, a non-starter and new to the defense, Chruszch was a leader on the floor, sending reminders to his teammates of where they were supposed to be, and where opponents were moving.

"First game starting varsity and all I knew was I needed to bring the intensity to help the team on defense that we just started playing," Chruszch said. "I'm the guy that has to talk to my brother (Caleb) who's at the top of the key and we communicate where the offense is at, where the better players are at so they don't get wide open looks."

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The switch-up caught Beach off guard, throwing off potent scorers senior Gunnar Farstveet and sophomore Gage Swanson. The Cougars also forced 18 turnovers, which resulted in 11 points. Meanwhile, Beach forced six turnovers, and didn't capitalize on them.

"They did a good job of taking us out of our offense" Beach head coach Al Swanson said. "We tried to run an inside game and they took it away from us. ... Turnovers were definitely a factor. The biggest reason was they just took us away from our offense."

While the Cougars' defense won them the game, their offense controlled the pace, racing in transition and constantly moving the ball.

Caleb Chruszch led all scorers with 21 points while senior Cauy Shypkoski added 14 points while Canode netted 10.

The Chruszch brothers, as well as senior Trace Jacobson excelled at driving to the basket, scoring a combined 34 points from the paint.

"The one thing we told them is you can't be scared of 6'7''," Pruitt said referencing Beach's post G. Farstveet. "The way that you play against 6'7'' is you attack 6'7'' and they did a great job doing that."

Through the Cougar defense, G. Farstveet led the Buccaneers with 17 points, followed by Josiah Orluck and Gage Swanson who netted 13 and 12, respectively.

The loss ends Beach's turn around season. After winning just one game in the 2016-2017 campaign, the Buccaneers went 14-7 and entered the tournament as the fourth seed.

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"We have four good seniors (Cole Erickson, John Summers, Josiah Orluck, G. Farstveet) who worked hard for me, this is my second year coaching them," Swanson said. "They're just a good, hard-working group of kids. You can see it on the floor."

Next up, the Cougars face Beulah, the top seed in the tournament who topped Heart River 59-56 in an early season matchup.

"Team basketball, that's what our main thing is," Chruszch said of the game plan. "Good defense and control offense and just play good together. We've played them before and that's what we did before."

Heart River 72, Beach 63

HR 18 15 19 20

B 9 15 18 21

HR: Caleb Chruszch 21, Lane Chruszch 14, Cauy Shypkoski 14, Jesse Canode 10, Trace Jacobson 8, Jayden Krivoruchka 4, Andrew Hodell 1.

B: Gunnar Farstveet 17, Josiah Orluck 13, Gage Swanson 12, Jhett Farstveet 11, John Summers 6, Cole Erickson 4.

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3-pointers: HR 3-14 (Shypkoski 2-7), B 7-18 (J. Farstveet 2-2). Free throws: HR 21-32, B 8-14. Total fouls: HR 15, B 25 Fouled out: B (Erickson, Orluck. Rebounds: HR 40 (Krivoruchka 9), B 41 (Orluck 7). Assists: HR 7 (C. Chrusch 3), B 6 (Summers 2). Steals: HR 10 (Shypkoski 4), B 5 (Swanson 2). Blocks: B 1 (Swanson). Turnovers: HR 6 (Krivoruchka 1), B 18 (G. Farstveet 4). Records: HR 12-11, B 14-7.

Beach senior Gunnar Farstveet reach Heart River junior Cauy Shypkoski takes a shot on Thursday, March 8 at Bison Arena in Hazen. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Beach senior Gunnar Farstveet reach Heart River junior Cauy Shypkoski takes a shot on Thursday, March 8 at Bison Arena in Hazen. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

Related Topics: HEART RIVER COUGARSBEACH BUCCANEERS
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