Bowman County punches ticket to the finals

The NDHSAA Region 7 Class B tournament semifinals witnessed the Bulldogs down Hazen on the Bison's home court, while the Titans were picked apart by the Miners of Beulah.

Region 7 Tournament host Hazen were defeated by Bowman County in the semifinals.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

HAZEN – Sometimes, you just know (but you still keep your fingers crossed).

The Bowman County Bulldogs came into Tuesday’s semifinal contest on the Bison’s home-court on a roll, having outlasted Killdeer on Monday in an 88-82 thriller. The team seemed poised for a second-consecutive trip to the Region 7 Class B Tournament Finals, but they had to do so on Hazen’s home-court and in front of their very rowdy and supportive fans.

However, from almost the opening tip of the ball, Bowman County (20-2) was able to corral the Bison and stampede into the finals with a comprehensive, 75-61 victory.

The Bulldogs benefitted from an opening-quarter 9-3 run and bounced from that to an 11-3 run shortly thereafter and open up an early 22-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. While BCHS junior guard Bishop Duffield turned in a 40-point outing versus Killdeer on Monday, his brother, Bohden Duffield took over the game in the first eight minutes. Bohden scored 15 points in the opening period, including a pair of 3-pointers, and completed a 3-point play to pace Bowman County and keep the Bison on their back-hooves.

With air beneath his feet, Bohden Duffield (2) executes a three-point shot.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

“They've got some excellent ballplayers, and they play maybe a little deeper off the bench, but we know that we've just got to just really put the pressure on their best players,” Ronnie Stewart, Bowman County head coach, said. “Because we really felt like we were probably the team that was in a little bit better shape and we know we need to capitalize on it and got to come out and get off to a good start.”


But Hazen managed a mini-comeback of sorts in the second quarter, despite 6 points from Bishop Duffield – who had 10 in the first half – and steady scoring from Bowman County’s other starters.

Hazen crafted a blow-by-blow response to the Bulldogs and chewed into their lead with a 17-point second quarter that was taken over by Hazen guard Talan Batke, who took the team on his shoulders and scored four tres and 16 points in the opening 16 minutes. Batke shot almost 43-percent from the field during that time.

Meanwhile, Bowman County took advantage of second-chance opportunities and held a 24-16 advantage on the boards to hold off the Bison from charging further into the game as the two teams headed into the locker room.

“Our boys were a little more focused today; it definitely was a good wake-up call against Killdeer the other night and we just said, 'We've got to be the the team that's going to go ahead and give the first punch,' and that's what they did,” Stewart said.

In much the same fashion as Monday’s game, when the Bulldogs came out of the locker room on fire, they scorched Hazen (15-8) in the third-period as well, snapping off a 16-6 run in the opening minutes of the second half that seemed to break the backs of the Bison. BCHS closed out the third quarter with a 9-0 run as well, and that was pretty much all-she-wrote.

Talan Batke (3) comfortably shooting a three-pointer with a hand in his face.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Batke continued his brilliance during that spell, however, and scored 22 points in the second half in a yeoman’s effort that could have used a second Hazen scorer. But Bowman County did a brilliant job throughout the game by not offering outside shots to Bison sharpshooter Tyson Wick – who was held to only 6 points in the game coming off a 22-point outing in the win over Glen Ullin/Hebron on Monday – and Rylan Van Inwagen, who scored 11 on Monday and only 3 against Bowman County.

“Batke, for them, still had 38 points, so, that's two games in a row he's got over 30 points on us,” Stewart said. “So, I'm going to tip our hat to him as a senior and he's had a great career and he's been fun to watch.”

That said, Bowman County’s Aiden Thompson had a great night from behind the arc, where he shot 4-of-11 and scored 12 total points in the game.


The stat-lines didn’t read very well for the Bison, who shot only 37.3-percent from the field overall, and were overwhelmed on the boards to the tune of a 46-34 rebounding advantage. Bishop Duffield had a team- and game-high 12, while Bohden and Aiden Thompson had 7 each.

Neither team was victimized too much by turnovers, with Bowman’s 8 and Hazen’s 10, and the game avenged a January loss by the Bulldogs to Hazen on the same court, 62-60.


Region 7 boys basketball Tournament semifinals.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Bowman County now will face the number-two-ranked Beulah Miners after they held off Dickinson Trinity, 52-29, in a game that didn’t even seem that close. The Miners sunk the Titans (15-8) into a deep, first-quarter hole on the strength of numerous clutch inside shots and second-chance scoring that never allowed Trinity to come up for air.

The Titans were held to only 5 points in the first eight minutes, while Beulah buried them under a 9-2 run and continued that stretch with a 13-4 run in the second period and left Trinity trudging into the locker room with an 11-24 halftime deficit. Trinity shot only 23.5-percent in the half, while Beulah drained 52.4-percent from the field during the same span. In fact, the Titans bench outscored the starters in the first half with 7 combined points from Ty Dassinger and Anthony Spradley.

Ty Dassinger (22) keeps the ball moving.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

It honestly didn’t go much better in the second half for the Titans, who only scored on four separate field goals from four separate players in the closing 16 minutes. Spradley ended up leading Trinity in scoring off the bench with 8, but no Titans ended up in double-figures in the game.

"I thought they (Beulah) did a job about it, you know when the ball goes in the hole it makes life a lot easier," Trinity head coach Gregg Grinsteinner said. "You've got a bigger pep in your step, and we had to work hard for everything we were trying to get. We missed some easy shots right away and that's what happens."

Trinity struggle on offense keeps them out of the championship game of the Region 7 Tournament.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

The loss sets up a third-place consolation game between Hazen and Trinity on Thursday at 6 p.m., while the Region 7 Class B Boys Basketball Tournament Finals will be hosted at 7:30 p.m. at the Bison Arena at Hazen High School.

For more information about the Region 7 Class B Boys Basketball Tournament, please see the pages of The Dickinson Press next Wednesday or visit www,

Gaylon is a sportswriter from Jensen Beach, Fla., but has lived all over the world. Growing up with an athletic background gave him a love of sports that led to a journalism career in such places as Enid, Okla., Alamogordo, N.M., Pascagoula, Miss. and Viera, Fla. since 1998. His main passion is small-town community sports, particularly baseball and soccer.
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