Bowman County defeats Glen Ullin-Hebron in regular season finale, momentarily holds top spot in Region 7
The Bearcats’ perfect record in the region came to an end Saturday night.
BOWMAN, ND — Bowman County junior forward Ellie Powell was sent to the free-throw line with her side up 70-69 over Glen Ullin-Hebron with 17.1 seconds left. She knocked down both free throws to extend it to a three-point lead.
Even with that much time left, the Bearcats were looking for the tie from three instead of a quick two. The Bulldogs sensed that and had the perimeter on lockdown. They forced Glen Ullin-Hebron into taking a tough mid-rage shot, which if made, would’ve only left a few seconds left on the clock.
The shot was missed and rebounded by Powell as Bowman County began to celebrate the 72-69 win over the Bearcats in their final regular season game Saturday night at Bowman High School.
“When you have younger players out there that aren’t used to a varsity game, you hope they can catch and advance it and not do something like throw it under the basket,” Bowman County co-head coach Jaden Schoch said about the last sequence of events. “Everything they did worked out perfectly for us. We got the rebound, made our free throws and we played good defense when it counted.”
The importance of this game could not be overstated. Glen Ullin-Hebron came into the game 9-0 in Region 7, while the Bulldogs sat right behind them at 9-1. The Bearcats could’ve clinched the top seed in the Region 7 tournament with a win, but will have to wait another game to possibly achieve that.
Freshman Raegen Honeyman gave Bowman County the lead late with a basket to make it 70-69 with under a minute remaining. Glen Ullin-Hebron’s shot on the other end was exactly what they were looking for, but it didn’t find the bottom of the net.
A three-point attempt from junior guard Kaley Schatz, who had 29 points at this stage of the game, misfired as the Bulldogs collected the rebound. She made five 3-pointers on the night, with a sixth potentially giving the Bearcats the lead late. Powell rebounded the miss and was sent to the free-throw line.
Glen Ullin-Hebron’s success this season has stemmed from their defensive scheme and timely shot-making. Their 2-3 zone gave the Bulldogs fits in the first quarter, falling behind 7-0, but once they figured it out, they had a much easier time finding offense.
“The girls saw the open looks,” Bowman County co-head coach Jaci Mrnak said. “They saw where the passes were and were not, and got to the right spots and had the ball moving.”
A 2-3 zone defense allows for some open shots on the perimeter and more opportunities for offensive rebounds, since defenders aren’t matched up to a specific player. The Bulldogs seized those opportunities and gave them a boost as the game progressed.
“It gave us a lot of confidence because our plan was to get those,” Powell said about attacking the glass. “And to be more aggressive that way because we have a lot more height than them.”
It was a bit of a miracle that Powell remained in the game until the end, finding herself in foul trouble in both halves. She was whistled for her third foul with 2:47 in the second quarter and fourth foul in the third with 1:02 remaining. But she remained disciplined on defense, knowing how important it was for herself to be on the court.
“I got angry but I knew I couldn’t let that affect me,” Powell said. “I knew my team was counting on me and needed me and had to get over myself and play the game.”
She finished with 19 points and dominated the glass, with the Bearcats having all sorts of trouble slowing her down.
“Against that zone you have to be physical,” Schoch said. “You have to attack it and not let them dictate what you do. She (Powell) was the one that got us going in that direction tonight.”
Bowman County’s first lead came with 4:07 left in the second quarter at 25-24 after a made 3-pointer by sophomore guard Jaci Fischer. As impressive of a game Powell had dominating the interior, Fischer paced the Bulldogs with 25 points, including five 3-pointers. It seemed like every 3-pointer she hit came at a critical point in the game.
Glen Ullin-Hebron hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded for the end of the first half to take a 36-34 lead.
After being down 42-41, Bowman County went on an 8-0 run in the third quarter to take a 49-42 lead. But the Bearcats, led by Schatz’ hot hand from beyond the arc, drew them closer. She had eight points in the third quarter.
The two sides traded baskets after a slow start to the fourth quarter. A 57-56 Bulldogs lead quickly became 68-67 with clutch shot-making on both sides. Bowman County had seven 3-pointers as a team.
The Bulldogs did all they could to put themselves in a position for the top seed in the Region 7 tournament. Their regular season is over and will have to wait for Glen Ullin-Hebron and Beulah to play their regular season finales.
As it stands, Bowman County is in first at 10-1. Glen Ullin-Hebron and Beulah are right behind at 9-1. The Bearcats will take on Trinity, while the Miners host Mott-Regent, both on February 15. If both teams win on Tuesday, there will be a three-way tie.
The tiebreaker then goes to the team with the largest margin of victory over one another. Beulah defeated Bowman County by six, Glen-Ullin-Hebron beat the Miners by ten, and the Bulldogs won against the Bearcats by three.
So while the loss may sting for Glen Ullin-Hebron Saturday night, they are still in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed.
The next time Bowman County will step onto the court will be Feb. 21 at Trinity High School, surely brimming with confidence.
“To get a win in the last game at home for our seniors and fans here, we take that any day,” Schoch said. “You want to have momentum going into that tournament and just the thought that you can play with the best team in the region is big.”
BOWMAN COUNTY: Jaci Fischer 25, Ellie Powell 19, Sophia Headley 10, Reagan Honeyman, Andrea Rodakowski 9;
GLEN ULLIN-HEBRON: Kaley Schatz 29, MiKayla Schneider 19, Taylor Christensen 9, Courtney Soupir 8, McKenzie Gerving 4.