Tigers take District 13 title

BOWMAN -- The New England boys basketball team has played well in the second half all season. On Monday night, the Tigers did so again. This time, it won them the District 13 championship. Fifth-seeded New England overcame a 10-point deficit in t...

Nick Wolf
Press Photo by Dustin Monke New England junior Nick Wolf goes in for a layup against Heart River senior Dalton O'Brien on Monday night during the District 13 boys basketball tournament championship game at Solberg Gymnasium in Bowman.

BOWMAN -- The New England boys basketball team has played well in the second half all season.

On Monday night, the Tigers did so again. This time, it won them the District 13 championship.

Fifth-seeded New England overcame a 10-point deficit in the third quarter and outscored sixth-seeded Heart River 17-8 in the fourth to claim a 60-52 victory at Solberg Gymnasium.

"We've wanted this since we were fourth- and fifth-graders," New England junior Kaine Hanson said. "We wanted to win this game. We just wanted it so bad. The motivation was there. We stepped up and got the win."

Hanson played an important role, scoring on a baseline drive that put New England ahead 45-44 just 22 seconds into in the fourth quarter. That ignited a 14-2 Tiger run that put the game and championship in the bag.


Hanson was troubled by a hip injury suffered in the Tigers' semifinal win over Mott-Regent but he didn't look hobbled, getting team highs of 18 points and seven rebounds.

"He could hardly walk today in school. I was back there (in the trainer's office) lying on top of him, trying to stretch him out before the game, trying to get him ready to go," New England head coach Luke Powers said. "He stepped up and played an absolutely fantastic game."

The Tigers will face District 14 No. 4 seed Hazen at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21 in the Region 7 tournament quarterfinals at Knights of Columbus Activities Center in Dickinson. Heart River faces No. 3 seed Killdeer at 4:30 p.m.

The Tigers (16-6) got the best of the Cougars (12-10) for the third time this season. The teams have played four games and New England has come away with all the ones that meant something -- the Roughrider Tournament title, the regular-season district game and finally the district title game. Heart River won a non-district game in overtime.

While Heart River took a 33-26 halftime lead after scoring the final nine points of the second quarter, head coach Greg Pruitt said he told his team not to rest easy on the Tigers.

For a while, the Cougars didn't.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Dylan Northrop and Dalton O'Brien put Heart River ahead 40-30 with 5:01 remaining in the third quarter.

But that was as good as it got for the Cougars.


"After that, we thought we had them," said O'Brien, who scored 11 points and was named the district's senior athlete of the year.

The Tigers responded with seven unanswered points and chipped away to cut Heart River's lead to 44-43 heading into the fourth quarter.

When New England was put in the bonus with 6:23 left in the fourth quarter, all Heart River could do was hope the hot-shooting Tigers would miss their free throws.

They didn't. New England finished 19 of 26 from the free-throw line.

"I thought that we lost our composure going into the fourth quarter," Pruitt said. "We blew a couple assignments."

Junior point guard Clarence Binstock made all nine of his free throws and finished with 15 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Junior Nick Wolf added 12 points and Mark Frank had 10.

Heart River got to New England early through its inside game.

Junior forward Jordan Strecker finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds and senior center Zach Krivoruchka added 10 points.


However, as the game wore on, the Cougars became less effective on the glass and in the post.

"We didn't get the post touches," O'Brien said. "That was the main key. We kept on shooting outside shots and we should have worked inside."

The game was close throughout.

Wolf led an 11-2 Tiger run that spanned 2:22 in the first and second quarter and put New England ahead 21-15.

But, Heart River fired back after Tigers sophomore guard Austin Fitterer was called for a flagrant foul against Seth Ewoniuk on fast-break layup. Ewoniuk made both free throws, the Cougars got the ball back and O'Brien made the first of back-to-back 3-pointers that put Heart River on top 23-20.

The Cougars capped the surge with a pair of baskets by Jarek Haverluk. The first was a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining. The other was an uncontested layup as time expired in the second quarter that was created off a loose-ball rebound.

Powers said the Tigers never panicked though.

"We came out and we were a little bit tense," Powers said. "We knew those shots were going to start falling."


New England shot 10 of 16 from the field in the second half and 12 of 16 from the free-throw line.

"We came out kind of flat," Hanson said. "Heart River is a great team. We just came to play in the second half. It feels great to get the win."

Notes: New England athletic director Daryl Jung was presented with a plaque from his peers after the championship game. He has been inducted into the North Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Hall of Fame. Jung graduated from New England High School and has been employed at the school for more than 30 years. ... Heart River was trying to win its first district title as a co-op. Belfield and South Heart combined in the 2008-09 season.

HR 13 33 44 52

NE 12 26 43 60

HR: Jordan Strecker 12, Dalton O'Brien 11, Zach Krivoruchka 10, Sean Johnson 7, Dylan Northrop 5, Jarek Haverluk 5, Seth Ewoniuk 2.

NE: Kaine Hanson 18, Clarence Binstock 15, Nick Wolf 12, Mark Frank 10, Devin Plaggemeyer 5.

3-pointers: HR 5 (O'Brien 3, Northrop 1, Haverluk 1), NE 3 (Binstock 2, Wolf 1). Free throws: HR 7-12, NE 19-26. Total fouls: HR 21, NE 10. Technical fouls: NE, Austin Fitterer. Rebounds: HR 27 (Strecker 11), NE 25 (Hanson 7). Assists: HR 16 (Northrop 6), NE 15 (Binstock 7). Steals: HR 2 (Northrop, Ewoniuk), NE 4 (Frank 2). Blocks: H 1(O'Brien), NE 0. Turnovers: HR 11, NE 6.


Region-qualifier games

Mott-Regent 64, Beach 56

The top-seeded team in District 13 is moving on to the Region 7 tournament, but the Wildfire didn't get there without a fight.

Nate Fries had 20 points and 15 rebounds to help Mott-Regent (17-3) upend third-seeded Beach in a region-qualifier game.

Chad Mosbrucker scored a team-high 21 points while adding nine rebounds and five assists for the Wildfire, who held a slim lead for much of the second half.

Late in the fourth quarter, Mott-Regent sealed things from the free-throw line, where they were 17 of 22.

Beach played much of the fourth quarter without 6-foot-7 junior center Landon Lechler, who fouled out with 6:22 remaining on what appeared to be a held-ball call with the Wildfire leading 45-39. He finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

Hardy fouled out with 2:24 remaining. He had hit a pair of 3-pointers in the previous minute to bring the Buccaneers (10-12) back within three, 51-48, and finished with 14 points.


Mott-Regent faces District 13 runner-up Dickinson Trinity at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21 in the region quarterfinals.

MR 17 33 45 64

Beach 16 29 37 56

MR: Chad Mosbrucker 21, Nate Fries 20, McCahen Schweitzer 12, Taylor Zentner 5, Tanner Vesledahl 4, Jon Carlson 2.

B: Landon Lechler 26, Jake Hardy 14, Jade Bishop 10, Trevor Sime 2, Justin Weinreis 2, Brady Zachmann 2.

3-pointers: MR 1 (Schweitzer 1), B 2 (Hardy 2).

Free throws: MR 17-22, B 10-16. Total fouls: MR 21, B 22. Fouled out: B, Hardy, Lechler. Rebounds: MR 46 (Fries 15), B 29 (Lechler 9). Assists: MR 15 (Zentner 5, Mosbrucker 5), B 14 (Zachmann 6). Steals: MR 8 (Zentner 4), B 10 (Hardy 4). Blocks: MR 4 (Fries 2, Mosbrucker 2), B 3 (Lechler 3). Turnovers: MR 21, B 13.

Hettinger 56, Bowman County 49

Ben Laufer scored a game-high 23 points as Hettinger regrouped from its semifinal loss to New England and punched its ticket to the Region 7 tournament with a qualifying game victory over second-seeded Bowman County.

Laufer was 7 of 8 from the field and made all three of his 3-pointers.

The fourth-seeded Black Devils (9-11) shot 60 percent from the field.

They'll have District 13's No. 4 seed in the region tournament and will face District 14 champion Beulah at 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21.

Hettinger's big guys did work too. Justin Caldwell had 10 points and seven rebounds while Stephan Kristy added eight points and 16 rebounds.

Cole Heimer had 17 points to lead the Bulldogs (14-8) and Tate Wallman added 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Mike Palczewski scored 11 points.

Hettinger 16 28 41 56

BC 11 20 39 49

H: Ben Laufer 23, Justis Caldwell 10, Stephen Kristy 8, Dylan Chadwick 7, Ander Thompson 4, Cory Christman 4.

BC: Cole Heimer 17, Tate Wallman 14, Mike Palczewski 11, Andy Hansey 3, Trevor Smolnikar 2, Daniell Ruggles 2.

3-pointers: H 4 (Laufer 3, Chadwick 1), BC 6 (Heimer 4, Hansey 1, Palczewski 1). Free throws: H 8-12, BC 3-7. Total fouls: H 34 (Kristy 16), BC (Wallman 9). Technical fouls: BC, Wallman. Rebounds: H 34 (Kristy 16), BC 19 (Wallman 9). Assists: H 17 (Thompson 5), BC 14 (Smolnikar 5). Steals: H 3 (Thompson 2), BC 8 (Wallman 3). Blocks: H 1 (Caldwell), BC 0. Turnovers: H 17, BC 7.


All-District 13 Team: Kaine Hanson, New England; Nick Wolf, New England; Dalton O'Brien, Heart River; Jordan Strecker, Heart River; Nate Fries, Mott-Regent; Chad Mosbrucker, Mott-Regent; Ben Laufer, Hettinger; Stephan Kristy, Hettinger; Tate Wallman, Bowman County; Landon Lechler, Beach; Jake Hardy, Beach; Justin Benischek, Scranton.

All-District 13 Honorable Mention: Clarence Binstock, New England; Justis Caldwell, Hettinger; Cole Heimer, Bowman County.

Senior Athlete of the Year: Dalton O'Brien, Heart River.

Coach of the Year: Wayne Heckaman, Mott-Regent.

Region 7 boys basketball tournament

At Knights of Columbus Activities Center, Dickinson

Games Monday, Feb. 21


1) Dickinson Trinity (District 14 No. 1) vs. Hettinger (District 13 No. 4), 3 p.m.

2) Heart River (District 13 No. 2) vs. Killdeer (District 14 No. 3), 4:30 p.m.

3) New England (District 13 No. 1) vs. Hazen (District 14 No. 4), 6 p.m.

4) Beulah (District 14 No. 2) vs. Mott-Regent (District 13 No. 3), 7:30 p.m.

Games Tuesday, Feb. 22


5) Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m.

6) Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 7:30 p.m.

Games Thursday, Feb. 24

Third place: Semifinal losers, 6 p.m.

Championship: Semifinal winners, 7:30 p.m.

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