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'We did it the right way' Bearcats use team effort to earn third in Region 7 tournament

Win or lose, the Glen Ullin-Hebron boys were going to do it as a team. The boys in black and orange were tough on defense, holding a potentially dangerous Hazen offense at bay, all while three Bearcats scored in double figures. The effort and ene...

Glen Ullin-Hebron senior center Braxton Rolle dribbles into the paint in the Region 7 third-place game against Hazen on Thursday, March 7, at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Glen Ullin-Hebron senior center Braxton Rolle dribbles into the paint in the Region 7 third-place game against Hazen on Thursday, March 7, at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

Win or lose, the Glen Ullin-Hebron boys were going to do it as a team.

The boys in black and orange were tough on defense, holding a potentially dangerous Hazen offense at bay, all while three Bearcats scored in double figures.

The effort and energy on both ends of the court earned No. 3 Glen Ullin-Hebron a 76-61 victory over No. 5 Hazen in the third-place game of the Region 7 tournament on Thursday, March 7, at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

"We didn't even practice (Wednesday night). We made a circle and we talked about the memories that we had this year, but we ended practice last night and came into the game tonight (believing) if we're gonna win or lose the game, it's gonna be the team," Glen Ullin-Hebron head coach Greg Pruitt said. "That's what it's been about the whole year. It's a special group of seniors, some underclassmen, and we did it the right way."

The Bearcats held a 15-9 lead with less than two minutes to go in the first quarter, but fouls sent Hazen's high-scoring juniors Garrett Ward and Isaac Doll to the line, who capitalized on each attempt.

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Over the next frame though, Glen Ullin-Hebron built its advantage and as intended, they did it as a team. First, senior forward Mason Gerving opened up the second quarter by scoring basket underneath and splitting a pair of free throws, pushing the advantage to 20-13. Later, sophomore guard Dawson Zuroff hit back-to-back buckets, the first a pretty fade-away jumper. Capping off the quarter, sophomore guard Grant Gerving hit two of his five 3-pointers. The scoreboard read 36-26 Bearcats as the teams went to the locker rooms.

Glen Ullin-Hebron senior Chase Remboldt began the second half with a 3-pointer and senior forward Braden Zuroff followed with a score, but the Bison went on an 11-4 tear to close the gap to eight points. Five straight points from Grant Gerving bolstered the Bearcats lead, though, which never sunk below double digits again.

"Anytime that you're down, as the game wears on, things get a little bit tighter. That's just the nature of it," Hazen head coach Ben Nelson said. "If you're down 10 in the first half, that's not so bad. If it stretches to 15 in the third quarter, all of a sudden everything gets a little tighter. As the time wanes, everything gets tighter, everything's more forced. That's just what happens."

When the teams squared off in the regular season on Jan. 29, the Bearcats won, but by a much closer 57-55 margin. This time around, Glen Ullin-Hebron led Hazen by a margin as big as 22 points, 64-42 late in the fourth.

Braden Zuroff paced Glen Ullin-Hebron, scoring a game-high 21 points. He also added two steals, two assists and seven rebounds.

"It just seemed like we came out with everything we had," he said. "We played a lot better this time (against Hazen). We didn't let them crawl back into the game. We had a lead last time and let them back into it, but this time, we got up and kept them there."

Bison junior guard/forwards Isaac Doll and Garrett Ward ended the season with 19 and 15 points respectively, while junior guard Tyson VanInwagen added 14.

Nelson wanted to feature his seniors, though. Seth Olander, Dylan Martell and Cullen Traiser all started the contest, with Martell scoring 10 points, and earning a game-high three steals, and Traiser netting three points.

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"You know your season's done, win or lose. We tried to get some different guys in that normally wouldn't get in," Nelson said. "My guys definitely deserved to play. I wanted to get my seniors as much time as I could. It was disappointing we couldn't get the win, but it was nice to let the guys play together one last time."

In the contests' closing minutes, Pruitt subbed out his seniors one at a time, hugging each as they came to the sidelines. Remboldt was first to sit down as he fouled out with less than three minutes to play, then Zuroff, Soupir, Mason Gerving and Braxton Rolle. Eric Hageman, who rarely saw the hardwood, hit a three in the late minutes, driving the Bearcats fans wild.

"Being that I was in Heart River for 10 years, you put the time into the program and it's hard to say goodbye to seniors because you have them come through your program," said Pruitt, who was named Region 7 Coach of the Year. "This group of seniors this year was so special. It was really one of the toughest times I've had. I wanted to show them my love for them as I brought them off the court one by one, make sure they got a hug, make sure the underclassmen appreciated them. There's not a word that can describe this group."

Glen Ullin-Hebron 76, Hazen 61

H 13 13 16 19

GUH 17 19 20 20

H: Isaac Doll 19, Garrett Ward 15, Tyson VanInwagen 14, Dylan Martell 10, Cullen Traiser 3.

GUH: Braden Zuroff 21, Mason Gerving 18, Grant Gerving 17, Garret Soupir 8, Dawson Zuroff 4, Chase Remboldt 3, Eric Hageman 3, Braxton Rolle 2.

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3-pointers: H 4-24 (VanInwagen 2-5), GUH 8-31 (Gerving 5-9). Free throws: H 17-26, GUH 4-7. Total fouls: H 8, GUH 19. Fouled out: GUH, Remboldt. Rebounds: H 43 (Doll 12), GUH 52 (M. Gerving). Assists: H 3 (Dol, Truedson, Ward), GUH 5 (B. Zuroff, Soupir 2). Steals: H 5 (Martell 3), GUH 7 (B. Zuroff, G. Gerving, Soupir 2). Blocks: GUH 3 (D. Zuroff, M. Gerving, Rolle). Turnovers: H 17, GUH 16. Records: H 16-9, GUH 19-5.

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