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New England Tigers holds off Killdeer Cowboys for Region 7 road victory

KILLDEER -- Shawn Flaherty wanted to see some fight from his team, and Killdeer was a willing opponent.The New England boys basketball coach said his team showed more effort down the stretch Friday than it had in its two-game losing streak, and t...

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New England senior guard Hunter Wolf, right, attempts a shot over Killdeer sophomore Garrett LeMieux Friday at Killdeer High School. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)

KILLDEER - Shawn Flaherty wanted to see some fight from his team, and Killdeer was a willing opponent.
The New England boys basketball coach said his team showed more effort down the stretch Friday than it had in its two-game losing streak, and the Tigers were rewarded with a 56-52 victory over the Cowboys at Killdeer High School.
“In the past few games, we’ve shown that we have some quit in us,” Flaherty said, “but tonight, when they made a little bit of a run at us, we kept our composure and made the plays when we needed to.”
A desperation 3-pointer from Killdeer junior guard Hoyt Zander went through the net with 2 seconds remaining to cut the Tigers’ lead to 54-52, but after the ensuing inbounds pass, Tigers senior guard Hunter Wolf nailed two free throws to put the game out of reach right at the end.
Senior guard Brady Bender scored 22 points to lead New England, and junior center Cody Holt backed him up with 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Wolf finished with eight points for the Tigers (11-7, 5-5 Region 7).
“We knew that Brady was going to take us to the hole every time,” Cowboys head coach Andy Murphy said. “He’s a good shooter, a very good basketball player. We knew we’d have to cut him off on the baseline but also take care of Cody at the same time. We knew we were in for a long night with those two.”

Killdeer (4-13, 2-7) led 12-9 after the first quarter but trailed by four at halftime. The second quarter was the game’s highest scoring, with New England outscoring the Cowboys 23-16.
Killdeer, particularly in the middle quarters, used a series of backdoor cuts and penetration into the paint to mount a mini-comeback and tie the game at 38 going into the fourth.
“They’re all really long and athletic, and I think that’s what got to us,” Bender said. “They played some really good defense, but we started taking care of the ball a little more and that’s what did it for us.”
Killdeer’s 41-29 rebounding advantage kept the game close. The Cowboys relied on their 17 offensive rebounds and put-backs to keep the pressure on New England to convert at the other end.
Killdeer sophomore forward Alex Sadowsky tallied 21 points and 14 rebounds, and sophomore guard Garrett LeMieux followed with 12 points and 15 boards.
“Alex has the job of guarding the big guy, and (Holt) is the second 6-foot-8 guy he’s guarded this season, and he’s stepped right up to the challenge,” Murphy said. “He’s gone step-for-step with these guys that are 3 inches taller than him - 21 and 14 against Cody Holt shows he’s growing a lot.”
Despite the loss, Murphy said he liked his team’s execution on offense, calling it “the best game we’ve played all season.”
For the Tigers, Bender said the team can use the emotional momentum from this game to carry it through the end of the season.
“Last few games, we didn’t have the intensity that we needed,” he said. “This game was a 180-degree turnaround. We looked to get out and go, and we were a lot more intense. It was nice to see that.”

NE 9 32 38 56
K 12 28 38 52
NE: Brady Bender 22, Cody Holt 18, Hunter Wolf 8, Carter Stang 4, Denit Sorensen 4.
K: Alex Sadowsky 21, Garrett LeMieux 12, Hoyt Zander 10, Zeb Doe 5, Hayes LeMieux 4.
3-pointers: NE 5 (Bender 2, Wolf 2, Stang 1), K 3 (Zander 2, Sadowsky 1). Free throws: NE 5-8, K 9-14. Total fouls: NE 13, K 10. Rebounds: NE 29 (Holt 15), K 41 (G. LeMieux 15). Assists: NE 8 (Wolf 3), K 8 (H. LeMieux). Steals: NE 10 (Wolf 3), K 5 (Sadowsky 2). Blocks: NE 5 (Holt 3), K 3 (3 tied, 1). Turnovers: NE 13, K 14.

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