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Heart River keeps their head above water in close battle with New England

The Cougars got back on track after losing their last game against Beulah.

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Terence Dillinger (24) fights Jaren Rafferty for the rebound ending on the ground with Dillinger taking a heavy fall in New England versus Heart River regional game on Tuesday, Feb. 8.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press
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With less than a month in the Class B Region 7 boys basketball season, every game comes with an extra amount of pressure with each mistake being as costly as the last. Fortunately for Heart River (5-2, 12-5) they were able to stay ahead of New England (2-7, 5-11) after accumulating 10 fouls in the first half alone of their game Tuesday night.

It was entertaining up to the final shot attempted with a two-point gap between them. The final result was 55-53. Despite being the winning side, head coach Eric Klein gave proper recognition to their opposition for providing a well fought contest.

“I give a lot of credit to New England tonight because we had them down a few times and they could have easily let us extend that lead and they never did,” Klein said. “They dug in, they were gritty… It was a rough and physical game tonight.”

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Head Coach Eric Klein leans forward, waiting for the ball to come in play.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

The first quarter was the Cougars’ highest scoring quarter with 19, giving them a seven-point lead. Despite their deficit, the Tigers continued to press on and would outscore Heart River in the second quarter 16-13.

New England was in double bonus by the second quarter. Sophomore guard Tallen Binstock took advantage of that, toeing the free-throw line for 2-of-3. Binstock tallied 12 points in the first half. It ended 32-28 with the Tigers hunting for the lead.

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Heart River extended their lead in the third quarter to nine points, but before New England took a momentary one-point lead at 33-32 with less than seven minutes remaining. The Cougars re-established their lead, going on a 13-7 run with a minute remaining in the third. The quarter ended 49-40.

Missed shots and the Tiger’s non-stop strong defense kept the score close in the third and would allow them to once again outscore Heart River 13-6.

Still, the Cougars would win the game despite allowing eight turnovers. Their top scorer was senior forward Braden Obrigewitch with 16, delivering four shots from beyond the arc. They had three players in double figures.

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Senior Braden Obrigewitch (11) is Heart River's sharp shooter that had a good shot selection against New England on Tuesday, Feb. 8.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

“I think again that we got stagnant in offense tonight, but I attribute that to New England playing a very good basketball game tonight and I think it kind of shows the competitiveness of our region,” Klein said. “We did have some mental mistakes that for New England just didn't pan out for them. The ball didn't bounce their way for them to take advantage of.”

The next game for Heart River will be against Grant County-Mott-Regent on Friday, Feb. 12. New England will look to end their two-game losing streak when they face Killdeer on Thursday, Feb. 11.

“Every regional game is huge.Every regional game in my opinion, we approach it like it's the district tournament,” Klein said. “There isn't one team in our region that I am confident to go play, so it is going to be a lot of fun going down the stretch.”

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Senior guard Nathan Kaufman at the line.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

BOX SCORE

HEART RIVER: Braden Obrigewitch 16, Austin Buckman 11, Cayden Kling 10, Beauden Krueger 8, Tarence Dillinger 6, Grayden Quimby 2, Jordan Koppinger 2; NEW ENGLAND: Nathan Kaufman 14, Tallen Binstock 12, Mathew Bock 9, Zackary Jalbert 8, Jaren Rafferty 6, Brock Ehlis 3, Justin Kathrein 1

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Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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