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Night Hawks down Trinity 50-35

Hettinger-Scranton takes 50-35 win over Trinity.

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Junior guard Bailee Pierce strong offensive play helps lift Night Hawks over Trinity with 24 points. (file image/The Dickinson Press)

Fans had long awaited the matchup between Hettinger-Scranton and Dickinson Trinity. With Monday's matchup being the only time in the regular season the teams would meet, both teams featuring powerhouse seniors in the paint and both teams being projected to meet in the Class B Region 7 championship game in March, it was to be an all out tick-for-tack battle.

It didn't go as planned. At least, for the home team.

Hettinger-Scranton (6-2) came into the contest with high confidence after earning a 61-48 win over Harding County on Saturday, compared to the Titans (2-3) which returned to the court after losing to Wilton-Wing on Dec. 29.

With this matchup being projected the potential championship, Hettinger-Scranton didn't hesitate to show its opponent, and the entire region, it will stop at nothing to earn its third-straight regional title with an insurmountable 50-35 victory over the Titans.

"I was just really ecstatic with their overall energy and effort," Night Hawks' Head Coach Kelly Pierce said. "Defensively I thought we executed the way we wanted to, the girls just really came out to play and we were able to get the win."

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Night Hawks' senior Samantha Oase lived up to the hype by being a strong force for the Hettinger-Scranton team and came out with eight points in the victory. Junior guard Bailee Pierce had a strong outing for the Night Hawks by being the overall leading scorer with a total of 24 points in the matchup.

"Oase really dominated the game tonight from a perspective that didn't always include scoring the basketball," he said. "She just anchors our defense and did a nice job against Abbey Kubas, rebounding the heck out of the ball."

"Offensively, Bailee Pierce got us going and put the ball in the basket," he added. "She played the type of game that she's capable of playing."

As for the Titans, the team hoped to find some strength on its home court but was unable to find its rhythm and was outscored in three of the four quarters. Junior Kali Kubas was the team's leading scorer with 11 points, followed by senior Abbey Kubas with 10.

"Just not a very good shooting night," Titans Head Coach Trevor Ernst said. "We came out and played together in the first half, but the Hettinger defense forced us to take some tougher shots than we're used to and just didn't knock out a lot of shots tonight."

From the opening tip, Hettinger-Scranton seemingly had the upper hand against the Titans by taking the ball to the hole and drawing fouls and hitting five of its seven free throw attempts. At the end of the first quarter, the Night Hawks held a solid 15-9 lead.

The Titans seemed to be ready to bounce back with an answer in the second by playing stronger basketball, but still had to battle a strong Night Hawks defense. Despite hitting two 3-pointers and scoring on three of its four free throw attempts, the Titans were only able to outscore the Night Hawks 13-12, going into the half with a 27-22 deficit.

Pierce scored 16 of her 24 points in the first half. Trinity senior Kara Wanner was the leading scorer at the half for the Titans with after draining a 3-pointer in the first and second quarter. Wanner was then unable to score again in the game.

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Trinity attempted to come out with a passion in the second half with solid defense, but so did Hettinger-Scranton. As a result, the quarter saw very low scoring with the Night Hawks barely outscoring the Titans 8-5, with Oase being the main factor by scoring six of her eight points in the quarter. As a result, the Night Hawks took a 35-27 lead into the fourth quarter.

With an eight point deficit, Trinity still had a chance to come back into the game and tried its best to keep the game close. Abbey Kubas attempted to help her team climb back from the narrow deficit by scoring four of her 10 points in the quarter.

Eventually, the Titans were forced to foul and Pierce swished six of her seven free throws in the quarter. The team hit eight of its nine in the quarter to outscore Trinity 15-8 to take the 50-35 victory.

Kelly Pierce believes it was Hettinger-Scranton's solid defense that paved the way for the victory.

"Our team's communication and connectivity on the defensive end was on point, we really wanted to take away driving lanes, really get on the weak side defense, take away their post game and make them beat us from the perimeter," he said.

Ernst also gave credit to the Night Hawks' defense in the loss.

"They just took away some of the things that we do well," he said. "They made us go to our second and third options and just playing nice pressure defense like they always do and we just didn't have a very good night shooting the basketball."

Despite the loss, Trinity will have very little time to dwindle on the negative outcome as it prepares to take on Mott-Regent at home on Tuesday.

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"We're a tough defensive team and that's got to set the tone for how we want to play and sometime we're going to have to use our defense to get offense," he said. "Tuesday we're going to come back with another tough region game so we got to get right back at it."

As for Hettinger-Scranton, the team is now 6-2 in region play and will hope to carry its confidence into its upcoming matchup on Saturday in a non-region matchup against Trenton.

HETTINGER-SCRANTON: 50

DICKINSON TRINITY: 35

Hettinger-Scranton: Laela Jensen 2, Ella Jensen 9, Samantha Oase 8, Bailee Pierce 24, Beth Lien 5, Casitee Miller 2.

Trinity: Kara Wanner 6, Kali Kubas 11, Amaya Willer 5, Hope Fath 3, Abbey Kubas 10.

Related Topics: DICKINSONBASKETBALL
Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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