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Third-quarter surge pushes Hazen by Mott-Regent

After a defensive stop during the third quarter of Region 7 Tournament quarterfinal against Mott-Regent, Hazen forward Garrett Ward raced to the left corner, and upon receiving a pass, immediately elevated for a 3-pointer.

Hazen junior forward Garrett Ward looks to drive by Mott-Regent senior forward Cody Perkins during a Region 7 Tournament quarterfinal on Monday, March 4, from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)
Hazen junior forward Garrett Ward looks to drive by Mott-Regent senior forward Cody Perkins during a Region 7 Tournament quarterfinal on Monday, March 4, from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

After a defensive stop during the third quarter of Region 7 Tournament quarterfinal against Mott-Regent, Hazen forward Garrett Ward raced to the left corner, and upon receiving a pass, immediately elevated for a 3-pointer.

A split-second after the junior released his shot, he was fouled by a Wildfire player trying to close out on the shot. Contact or not, Ward knew his launch was good as soon as it left his fingertips.

Knocking down the ensuing free-throw, Ward's four-point play was the defining moment of 14-2 run to close out the period. While No. 4 Mott-Regent mounted a comeback in the fourth, the Bison were too strong down the stretch, pulling away for 78-65 victory on Monday, March 4, from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

Paced by Ward's game-high 25 points, No. 5 Hazen moves on to play No. 1 Dickinson Trinity in the tournament semifinal on Tuesday.

"I've never had a four-point play before. It was pretty cool to get one though," Ward said. "I shot it and right out of my hand. It felt great. (The defender) hit my hand right when I was going up with the ball and after it left my hand. Right when he hit my hand, (the referee) blew the whistle. I kind of knew that it was going in, so it was a good four-point play."

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Following an action-packed first half where the two teams combined for 77 points and 11 makes from downtown, Hazen got its first advantage of the game at 41-39 early in the third following a three-point play from junior forward Isaac Doll. After the teams traded baskets, a putback from junior forward Jayden Hauck pushed the Wildfire back in front 44-43. That would be the last time Mott-Regent tasted the lead as it went more than four minutes without a field goal.

Relinquishing 42 percent shooting in the first half, the Bison allowed just 10-for-38 shooting in the second half.

"I'd like for us, defensively, to be a little better early. With that not happening, our offense carried us in the first half, and then in the third quarter, our defense stepped up and got stops when we needed them," Hazen head coach Ben Nelson said.

The Bison scored points on six straight possessions and carried a 57-46 cushion into the fourth quarter before the Wildfire worked their way back into it.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from sophomore guard Caleb Candrian, who finished with a team-high 25 points, cut the Mott-Regent deficit to 65-61 before senior guard Cody Perkins snatched a steal and rocked the rim with a one-handed slam. When Hazen came up empty on its next possession, the Wildfire had a chance to tie it, but a pull-up jumper from senior guard Isaac Frey was too strong.

The Bison pulled away thanks to their work on the offensive glass, scoring their next six points after offensive rebounds. Doll put the lower-seeded team up 71-63 with under three minutes to go after a three-point play after an offensive rebound.

Prior to Doll's dagger, Perkins grabbed a defensive rebound only to soon be called his fifth personal foul on a charge. The 6-foot-4 forward finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists. One minute early, fellow senior Asad Watson-Buffalo fouled out, as he finished with two points and a pair of assists.

"Obviously, when you have your two superstars foul out, it is what it is, but I was kind of surprised that both of those guys fouled out," Wildfire head coach Pat Perkins said. "They had their starters on the floor. Give them credit, they played hard and scrappy. We were ahead for most of the game, they came back and won it, but I'm really proud of my boys and what they accomplished (this season)."

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No. 5 Hazen 78, No. 4 Mott-Regent 65

H 17 21 19 21

MR 24 15 7 19

H: Garrett Ward 28, Isaac Doll 18, Tyson VanInwagen 11, Jayce Zuern 10, Dylan Martell 9, Cullen Traiser 1, Austin Richter 1.

MR: Caleb Candrian 25, Cody Perkins 15, Isaac Frey 12, Jayden Hauck 7, Ryan Doe 2, Asad Buffalo-Watson 2, Logan Lutz 2.

3-pointers: H 9 (Ward 5), MR 10 (Candrian 5). Free throws: H 23-33, MR 7-11. Total fouls: H 11, MR 24. Fouled out: MR: Perkins, Watson-Buffalo. Rebounds: H 48 (Doll 8, Ward 8), MR 46 (Perkins 10). Assists: H 7 (Doll 2), MR 7 (Perkins 3). Steals: H 4 (Doll 2), MR 8 (Perkins 4). Blocks: H 1 (Doll), MR 0. Turnovers: H 10, MR 11. Records: H 16-7, MR 13-9.

Related Topics: HAZEN BISON
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