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Mott-Regent upsets top-seeded Glen Ullin-Hebron for spot in Region 7 championship

The Wildfire will take on Beulah in the championship game on Thursday.

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Samantha Greff jump shot for two in their semifinal game agasint Glen Ullin-Hebron on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

The semifinals of the Region 7 tournament took place Tuesday evening with the first matchup being between #1 Glen Ullin-Hebron and #5 Mott-Regent. It was a well fought contest between the two that had the lead change seven times, but the Wildfire held a decisive lead down the stretch to win the game 59-45.

Just as Wildfire head coach Sara Seidler predicted, aggressive rebounding and accurate shooting would be the key to them winning the game and her group of veteran players made sure to deliver.

“Once again we outrebounded the team we played and that is what we said this whole year, that is what is going to win us games in this region,” Mott-Regent head coach Sara Seidler said. “We had to get every board and take care of every possession.

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Madison Rafferty(24) gets in front of the pass to block it and send it out of bounds, in the first half of their semifinal game against Glen Ullin-Hebron on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

The first half was a narrow contest with the Bearcats using good ball handling to maneuver around the basket and implemented pressure throughout. Mott-Regent collected 16 rebounds and had success from the three-point line.

The Wildfire found themselves trailing 11-8 in the early stages, but senior guard Madison Rafferty took advantage of Glen Ullin-Hebron's 2-3 zone defense and made back-to-back 3-pointers to take the lead.

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Though the first quarter ended 16-13, the Bearcats’ junior guard Kaley Schatz quickly tied it up with a three-point shot at the beginning of the second quarter.

A bounce pass inside the paint gave Glen Ullin-Hebron the lead, which they then extended to 23-18 with a three-point play from their junior guard Taylor Christensen, after being fouled by Rafferty.

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Taylor Christensen(23) drives it up the paint for a layup.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

The Wildfire were lucky to get a three-point play themselves after taking advantage of their opponent tripping over themselves, relinquishing possession. It cut the lead to one, but Christensen claimed the final points of the first half from the foul line to make it 29-26.

Three minutes into the third quarter, the game was tied at 32 when the Bearcats began changing up their defense and deployed their full-court press once again after they secured a small lead of 36-32.

“The girls have prepared so much they just changed with the defense and it was like they did not skip a beat,” Seidler said. “That is why this group of girls is so special.”

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Mott-Regent topple Glen Ullin-Hebron in the semifinals that was held inside Dickinson Trinity's gymnasium on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Senior forward Hailee Olson tied it at 36 with a putback to help put Mott-Regent back in the lead at the end of the third at 43-41.

The fourth quarter brought a dominating defensive performance from the Wildfire as they outscored Glen Ullin-Hebron 16-4.

Most of their points came from the free-throw line after entering the double bonus. Rafferty went to the line six times and was 8-for-11 in the final quarter alone. The Bearcats entered double bonus themselves, but were not nearly as successful, going 2-for-5.

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Madison Rafferty went 7-for-9 in the Wildfire's semifinal game against the Bearcats.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

With nearly a minute left in the game, junior guard Jenessa Zentner fouled out and went to the bench with them holding a seven-point lead at 52-45.

“She knew she had four fouls, but she was doing what we asked,” Seidler said. “Its not that she did a stupid foul, she was just playing tough defense and kind of got in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The Wildfire sideline was holding back smiles and tears as each second passed. Soon enough the buzzer ended the game and the cheers began. The game’s final score of 59-45 was coincidentally the largest lead of the night at 14 points.

Rafferty had a strong performance with 23 points, four makes from three-point range and went 7-for-9 at the line. Olson got a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

From battling in the play-in matches to their victory over the No.1 seed, Mott-Regent has earned their place in the championship where they will face Beulah on Thursday, Feb. 24.

“It is surreal,” Seidler said. “It is just amazing to get there with this group of seniors who have been playing on the varsity since eighth grade and this program is so special. Everyone works so hard… and next year we are co-oping with Grant County for basketball so this is kind of the Wildfire’s last hurrah.”

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Mott-Regent topple Glen Ullin-Hebron in the semifinals that was held inside Dickinson Trinity's gymnasium on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Box Scores:

Q1Q2Q3Q4Final
Mott-Regent1610171659
Glen Ullin Hebron131612445

Mott-Regent: Madison Rafferty 23, Jenessa Zentner, Kattie Honeyman 7, Hailee Olson 4, Samantha Greff, Jazlyn Ottmar 3, MaryJane Mayer 2; Glen Ullin-Hebron: Taylor Christensen 18, Mikayla Schneider 13, Kaley Schatz 7, Mckenzie Gerving 4, Aleya Dakken 3.

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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