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Tigers offense speeds by Bearcats

There is no standing around in the New England offense. The Tigers rapidly move the ball, around the circle, back again, dribble twice , throw it inside only to kick it back out. The combination of dribbles and quick passes got the Glen Ullin-Heb...

New England junior guard Shelley Kathrein goes up for a layup in a Region 7 quarterfinal against Glen Ullin-Hebron on Monday, Feb. 18, at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
New England junior guard Shelley Kathrein goes up for a layup in a Region 7 quarterfinal against Glen Ullin-Hebron on Monday, Feb. 18, at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

There is no standing around in the New England offense.

The Tigers rapidly move the ball, around the circle, back again, dribble twice , throw it inside only to kick it back out. The combination of dribbles and quick passes got the Glen Ullin-Hebron girls off-kilter, allowing the Tigers to take nearly any shot they wanted.

With the athleticism of junior guard Shelley Kathrein in the paint and the accuracy of junior guard Molly Rayhorn from three-point range, the No. 4 seed outscored the Bearcats 18-1 in the first quarter en route to a 49-26 victory in the first round of the Region 7 Tournament on Monday, Feb, 18, at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

"(Our offense) was very effective because of that," New England head coach Jason Jung said of the constant ball movement. "We talked to the girls all week long. We know they play a 2-3 zone and we have to get touches. We have to move the ball, get many touches and then we're gonna get any shot that we wanted. The girls, to their credit, they executed our game plan. They moved the ball very, very well tonight, we got a ton of open looks and fortunately tonight we were hitting."

The Tigers shot 41 percent in the first half while the Bearcats sunk just 2 of 28 attempts for 7 percent shooting through the first 16 minutes.

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Rayhorn opened the game with her first of three 3-pointers and Kathrein bumped the lead to 4-0 with a free throw. After three minutes without a score, Glen Ullin-Hebron head coach Brayden Fox called for a timeout.

Despite him reiterating the game plan to his team, the score was 11-0 before Glen Ullin-Hebron freshman Kinsey Zuroff hit the last of three free throws with just under two minutes left in the frame. Zuroff eventually led the team with 11 points, but her foul shot was the only Bearcats point in the first frame.

"I don't think I got my girls prepared to play tonight," Fox said. "New England was ready to play like they were when they came to Hebron a couple weeks ago and took it to us. I was hoping we'd be able to step up and do something. I guess I didn't get my girls prepared."

The teams last met on Jan. 31, when the Tigers defeated the Bearcats 58-30 on the road.

On Monday, Kathrein scored 16 points on 5 of 21 shooting from the field, but Rayhorn led all players with 17 points as she drained all three of her 3-pointers and hit five of her eight field goal attempts.

"She's definitely our best outside shooter," Jung said. "When we played Glen Ullin-Hebron last time, she had six 3-pointers, so we were definitely hoping she was going to come through tonight, which she did."

In the second half, the Bearcats' offense stepped up. After a scoreless two minutes for both teams, Zuroff hit the first basket of the half, bringing the score to 30-8. Back-to-back buckets from senior forward Lexi Gietzen and junior guard/forward Taizalee Glass trimmed the deficit to 37-16 with a minute left in the quarter.

The Bearcats were better on the boards in the second half as well, giving themselves plenty of opportunities, but the shots wouldn't fall.

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Despite recording 42 rebounds, led by Gietzen and Schaaf with seven each, Glen Ullin-Hebron scored just two second-chance points.

"It was better this time than the last time we played them," Fox said of rebounding. "Last time, they completely destroyed us. They took us for 20-plus offensive rebounds and turned them into easy transition points. It was one of our focuses tonight, was to do a little bit better on the boards."

While the Tigers offense tapered in the second half, their defense was still there, as the girls in white collected six steals in each half.

New England earned 45 rebounds, led by Kathrein with 10. Throughout the opening half, senior Elizabeth Kaufman collected six of her nine rebounds. While the 5-foot-4 senior doesn't have much length to work with, she was always in the right spot to scoop up the ball.

"I just always am looking for when the shot's going to go up and try to go beat somebody to the spot first," Kaufman said.

With the win, the Tigers move on to face No. 1 Hettinger-Scranton in the semifinal at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

"We know they're the top team in the region and we're just really hot right now," Kaufman said. "We saw what they did. They came out and didn't perform well today (against Mott-Regent), so we're just ready to go."

New England 49, Glen Ullin-Hebron 26

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GUH 1 5 10 10

NE 18 12 8 11

GUH: Kinsey Zuroff 11, Kristin Schaaf 5, Lexi Gietzen 4, Taylor Christensen 2, Taizalee Glass 2, Landree Glass 2.

NE: Molly Rayhorn 17, Shelley Katherine 16, Lindsai Koch 6, Elizabeth Kaufman 5, Elli Rettinget 2, Chantel Conrad 1, Grace Dinius 1, Emily Dinius 1.

3-pointers: GUH 2-24 (Zuroff 2-15), NE 7-13 (Rayhorn 3-3). Free throws: GUH 4-9, NE 10-19. Total fouls: GUH 15, NE 11. Fouled out: GUH Christensen. Rebounds: GUH 42 (Schaaf, Gietzen 7), NE 45 (Kathrein 10). Assists: GUH 2 (Gietzen, T. Glass), NE 5 (Kathrein 2). Steals: GUH 10 (Christensen 4), NE 12 (Kathrein 5). Blocks: GUH 2 (Gietzen, Zuroff). Turnovers: GUH 19, NE 14. Records: GUH 12-11, NE 11-11

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