VICTORY IN OVERTIME!: New England beats Hettinger/Scranton at home in Region 7 thriller

On a day with record high temperatures for January, the New England High School gymnasium heated up as the Hettinger/Scranton Nighthawks visited the Tigers for what ended up being an overtime thriller.

Junior Brady Bender (left) goes up against freshman Isaiah Kludt (right). New England won in overtime 55-50. PHOTO BY DENISE ANDRESS
Junior Brady Bender (left) goes up against freshman Isaiah Kludt (right). New England won in overtime 55-50.
PHOTO BY DENISE ANDRESS

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

On a day with record high temperatures for January, the New England High School gymnasium heated up as the Hettinger/Scranton Nighthawks visited the Tigers for what ended up being an overtime thriller.

The teams couldn’t have been more evenly matched. Each squad entered with a 10-2 record, each offense averaging 60 or more points per game and holding their opponents to 40 points per game.

The crowd was packed with fans from both sides and the game didn’t disappoint.

Defenses from each team shined early on as the score was only 4-0 in favor of New England half way through the first quarter.

The Nighthawks had their shots contested as the height of the Tigers stymied their play progressions. But Hettinger/Scranton clawed their way back and ended the first quarter ahead by one point.

Between the first and second quarters the Nighthawks went on an 8-0 scoring run to take a 10-5 lead. But the Tigers followed with their own 6-0 run.

Part way through the second quarter, junior Hayden Sadowsky passed a milestone that no other Nighthawk has achieved. With a 3-point basket, Sadowsky passed the 1,000-career point total. Sadowsky would end the evening with a game high 29 points.

To cap off an endearing second quarter that saw multiple lead changes, Sadowsky heaved a half-court, buzzer-beating shot and drained it.

The half ended with Hettinger/Scranton leading New England 22-18.

The New England defense stood strong in the third quarter, holding the Nighthawks to just six points.

Deep into the fourth quarter New England went on a scoring run and went up 35-30, but then Sadowsky happened, again.

Sadowsky hit a free throw, then got the rebound and sank a 3-point shot and was fouled during the act, giving him a potential 4-point play. He made the free throw and just like that had the two teams tied up, again.

With less than three minutes remaining in regulation, the game started to be played at the free-throw line as each squad was in the bonus.

With two minutes left, Sadowsky hit two free throws to go up 42-40, but then New England’s Daniel Prince made two of his own to tie it up.

With five seconds left in regulation and New England down by two, Prince scored, and sent the game into overtime.

Both teams had their nerves going as they each were rushing and not allowing plays to develop. They both simmered down and gained composure, and again started trading baskets.

New England sophomore Cody Holt, who had been quiet most of the evening, sealed the deal for the Tigers. Holt, scoring only two points in regulation, scored five points on a free throw and two baskets to go up 51-46 with under 45 seconds left in the game.

New England clinched the victory 55-50.

The Nighthawks shot 37 percent and New England shot 36 percent, clear evidence of just how good each squad’s defense is. Each team was even with 17 turnovers, with neither squad giving it away in overtime.

Top scorer for the Nighthawks was Sadowsky with 29 points, second was Brandon Pierce with 14.

For the Tigers, Prince scored 15 points (six coming from the throw line), and Ty Nordby had 13.

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