Bowman County's superb defense rattles Grant County-Mott/Regent
The Wildfire turned the ball over 29 times as the Bulldogs took advantage.
DICKINSON — The Region 7 postseason tournament has historically consisted of gritty physical play, demanding the best of each athlete. On Tuesday, #4 Bowman County took their physicality to new levels in a performance in the opening round against #5 Grant County-Mott/Regent. The two sides entered the Dickinson Trinity court touting a strong pressing defense aimed at taking the win, but it would be the Bulldogs who would pull ahead to win the game 71-55.
The Wildfire did a lot of things right, but getting touches from all Five offensive players on each possession wasn't one of them. Bowman County took advantage of slow and inaccurate passes to tally 32 points off turnovers, half of which came before the second half.
“Whenever you have 20 plus turnovers in a game it is going to be hard to win that game," Wildfire head coach Nate Zachmann said. "We just didn't take care of the ball the way that we needed to, but I couldn't be more proud of our guys’ effort through the year."
Grant County-Mott/Regent established strong inside rebounding positions throughout the first quarter, taking a momentary lead in the early minutes courtesy of sophomore forward Weston Zacher.
The Bulldogs waited until the right moment, as full-court play slowed down, to deploy their patented full-court press — eliminating strong moves to the basket and shutting down passing lanes with pressure.
Zacher and junior forward Adam Kautzman each contributed 10 points and three rebounds in the first half, but it wasn't enough as Bowman County’s sophomore Bohden Duffield caught fire going 2-for-3 from three-point range and tallying 15 points in the first half alone.
“I'm pretty pleased with our kids’ effort. Probably one of the better defensive efforts we had in about the last eight weeks so I am really proud of our kids and starting the tournament out right,” Bowman County head coach Nick Miller said. “I thought Bohden got himself in a rhythm in the second quarter that was really nice.”
The Bulldogs lead continued to grow in the second half with solid ball handling and the continuation of their full-court press. The largest lead would come in the fourth quarter at 65-41.
Despite the loss, the Wildfire never extinguished completely, battling through the final buzzer and making the final points of the game with a three that brought their family and friends to their feet cheering.
Overall Grant County-Mott/Regent tallied more rebounds than Bowman County and had 17 points made off second chances, but got into foul trouble with Zacher fouling out and senior Josh DenBoer accumulating four before being taken out. DenBoer tallied four defensive rebounds.
“You can get over a loss in a couple of days, but losing those seniors is what really hurts,” Zachmann said. “That is one thing that takes time to heal and process. Between Micheal, and Levi and Josh, three seniors who have done everything we asked of them, saying goodbye to them is one of the hardest things to do.”
Bulldogs had two players score in double figures, Bohden Duffield and Bishop Duffield with 21 and 15. The twin brothers had three 3-pointers and five boards between them.
Bowman County will now need to prepare for a bitter semifinal matchup against #1 Beulah who defeated New England 59-31.
“We all know it is a different animal when you have one of the best players in the state and one of the best coaches in the state,” Walker said. “We are going to have to execute at a very high level for a full 32 minutes, but I think our kids will look forward to the challenge.”
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Bowman County: Bohden Duffield 21, Bishop Duffield 15, Carson Massey 9, Roman Fossum, Aidan Thompson 7, Teigen Marmon, Sam Andrews 4, Kyler Paulson, Kirklan Meschke 2; Grant County-Mott/Regent: Weston Zacher 16, Adam Kautzman 12, Jesse Reich 11, Josh Benboer 5, Levi Wegh, Alex Doe, Matthew Huether 3, Brandon Brunelle 2