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Preparing for Region 7 battle

With the regular season over, the Region 7 boys basketball teams are ready to battle for a championship. It will be a battle as eight of the 13 teams collected at least 10 or more region wins. Hettinger-Scranton first-year head coach Jeremy Dietc...

Brady Wegh
Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Mott-Regent sophomore Brady Wegh, right, takes the ball away from Killdeer senior Tuff Kling during a quarterfinal game of the Roughrider Tournament on Dec. 16 at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

With the regular season over, the Region 7 boys basketball teams are ready to battle for a championship.
It will be a battle as eight of the 13 teams collected at least 10 or more region wins.
Hettinger-Scranton first-year head coach Jeremy Dietchman said the Region 7 Tournament will probably be the toughest in the state.
“If you played the tournament four times, you’d get four different winners,” said Dietchman, whose team is ranked No. 8 in Class B and the No. 5 seed for the Region 7 Tournament. “It’s just going to come down to whoever is ready to go.”
The first round of the Region 7 Tournament begins at 6 p.m. local time in various locations on Tuesday. Due to the North Dakota Class B girls basketball tournament beginning on Thursday, the quarterfinals of the boys Region 7 Tournament won’t begin until the following Monday.
The five host teams for the first round are No. 4 seed Beulah, No. 5 seed Hettinger-Scranton, No. 6 seed Killdeer, No. 7 seed Mott-Regent and No. 8 seed Richardton-Taylor. The Raiders host No. 9 seed Hazen, No. 13 seed Mandaree travels to Beulah, the Night Hawks host No. 12 seed Beach, No. 10 seed Glen Ullin-Hebron travels to Mott-Regent and the Cowboys host No. 11 seed Bowman County.
With a six-day lull between the first round and the quarterfinals, Richardton-Taylor head coach Rob Bartz wished the tournament format was shaped a little bit differently.
“I wish we could play this first round of regionals on Thursday, but it is what it is,” Bartz said.
The top seed in the tournament is No. 5-ranked New England (19-2), which finished the regular season with a perfect 12-0 region record. Heart River and Dickinson Trinity claimed the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds, respectively. The Cougars and Titans each finished with a 10-2 region record, but Heart River held the tiebreaker with a 58-52 victory over Trinity on Jan. 22.
In the first round, every home team picked up a win against the visitor.
However, Killdeer head coach Andrew Murphy said no team has an option to take a night off.
“With how balanced and how deep this region is, if you think you are going to breeze through one of your games, you might get knocked off,” he said. “You have to come prepared for all three or four games you have to play.”
Beulah defeated Mandaree 58-43. Hettinger-Scranton rolled past Beach 90-51 on Friday, which included a 44-point performance from junior guard Hayden Sadowsky. Killdeer topped Bowman County 58-42. Mott-Regent squeaked Glen Ullin-Hebron 49-47. Richardton-Taylor edged Hazen 70-63.
With the close margin of victory for Mott-Regent, head coach Nate Zachmann believes every possession will be important.
“One thing that we’ve been working on in practice and in our games is having every possession count, taking care of the ball and getting a look at the basket,” he said. “It comes down to playing smart. Every kid plays hard, but it just comes down to playing smarter. Toward the end of the season, you want to have better players over better plays.”
Though Hettinger-Scranton faced Beach in the last game of the regular season, Dietchman knows the team can’t look past its opponent. The Night Hawks are averaging 66.1 points per game, which is the most in Region 7.
“We can’t take anything for granted,” Dietchman said. “Beach has a couple kids that can really score the basketball. We have to make sure we are locked in on defense.”
The Raiders defeated the Bison at home on Feb. 10.
Bartz said the team hasn’t struggled on defense. It’s the offense Bartz is worried about. The Raiders are averaging 51.1 points per game and allowing 51.7.
“Defensively, we’ve been playing well all season,” Bartz said. “Offensively, when we run our offense, we win games. When we don’t, we are only scoring 36 to 45 points a game. We have to find a better way to execute on offense.”
Zachmann said no matter which team hoists the Region 7 championship on March 12, they will be worthy of punch their ticket to the North Dakota Class B boys state basketball tournament at the Bismarck Civic Center.
“Anybody who comes out on top in this region definitely earned it and definitely deserves to be the Region 7 champion,” Zachmann said. “I believe anyone can be beaten on any given night. What makes this region so great is the great coaching and phenomenal student-athletes.”

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