Bowman County upsets Beulah to advance to Region 7 championship
The Bulldogs flipped the script in the postseason tournament, having lost to the Miners 85-52 in the regular season.
DICKINSON — The Bowman County Bulldogs were perceived as the underdogs heading into their Region 7 semifinal matchup with the Beulah Miners Tuesday night, the top seed in the region.
Not only were the Miners the No. 6 team in the state in the latest media poll, but they handled business against the No. 4 seed Bowman County in their regular season matchup, winning 85-52.
All signs pointed towards the Miners securing their spot in the Region 7 championship game for the seventh consecutive year.
Not so fast, said the Bulldogs.
Behind a stellar offensive night from their backcourt and locking down Beulah’s best player, they dashed the Miners’ dreams of a state tournament appearance, winning 65-54 to advance to their first region championship since 2009.
The sophomore guard tandem of Bishop and Bohden Duffield were on full display like they have been for the Bulldogs all season, combining for 43 points, including some clutch shots in the second half to keep Beulah out of reach.
“The one thing with Bishop and Bohden is you know exactly what you’re going to get,” Bowman County head coach Nick Walker said. “For being sophomores they have grown up in a hurry and do a great job of leading our team.”
Bowman County’s second quarter was the difference. They outscored the Miners 17-7 and after being down 17-9 at one point, finished the quarter with a 17-4 run to take a 26-21 halftime advantage. They never relinquished the lead.
In that run, there was one defensive play by Bowman County that epitomized their effort on the night. On a regular inbound play, senior forward Carson Massey picked up the ball handler full court and forced a loose ball into the back corner. He dove for it, didn’t recover it and it fell back into the hands of Beulah.
But Massey’s hustle and determination did the job as the Miners couldn’t cross half court in time, instead being whistled for a backcourt violation. On the ensuing possession, the Bulldogs knocked down a 3-pointer.
“He’s never let me down,” Walker said about Massey. “He has competed for me for four years in multiple sports and the one thing I know is every time there are referees and a ball he will play.”
They made it a ten-point game at 36-26 in the third quarter while they shut down Beulah senior guard Trey Brandt. He struggled heavily all night long, going 3-of-20 from the field with 11 points, including 0-of-10 from three-point range. He was the focal point of Bowman County’s defense.
The players that didn’t impact the score much for the Bulldogs, sophomore Roman Fossum and junior Teigen Marmon to name a few, did their part on Brandt, who Walker described as one of, if not the best player in Class B, to keep their lead around ten for a majority of the second half.
“He’s a player you don’t see in maybe 20 years, a guy like him,” Walker said. “I’m just so proud of our kids. We had a little bit of a struggle in the back half of our season. We as a coaching staff and our kids believed we could make a run like we are in this tournament.”
Bishop Duffield had the better game between the twins, registering 27 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 10-of-12 at the free-throw line. He converted back-to-back three-point plays late in the fourth quarter to prevent any hopes of a comeback.
Bohden Duffield had 16 points and six rebounds. Another key contributor for the Bulldogs who hit a number of big shots was sophomore guard Aidan Thompson. He too had 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc and every 3-pointer seemed to come at a crucial moment in the game.
Bowman County shot 50 percent (12-24) in the second half and held Beulah to 17 percent (5-28) from three overall.
With Trinity and Beulah dominating the Region 7 tournament for the last decade-plus, there hasn’t been room for other teams to make their mark in the tournament. That’s been the Region 7 championship matchup for the last seven years, with at least one of the teams featured since 2009.
That’s also the same year Bowman County last made the Class B state tournament, defeating Trinity in the Region 7 championship 52-48.
“This is a big win for Bowman County,” Walker said. “First time we’ve been here since 2009. I told them in the locker room they get this game and once we know who we’re playing it’s time to get to work because the prize on Thursday is bigger than the prize tonight.”
They’ll go against another team hungry to get back to the state tournament Thursday night. #3 Hazen defeated #2 Trinity to book their first appearance in the championship since 2014. The Bison haven’t been to the state tournament since 1985.
BOWMAN COUNTY: Bishop Duffield 27, Bohden Duffield, Aidan Thompson 16, Roman Fossum 4, Teigen Marmon 2
BEULAH: Trapper Skalsky 22, Trace Beauchamp 16, Trey Brandt 11, Jack Koppelsloen 5