Tigers survive scare, stay atop Region 7

The New England Tigers won’t soon forget the name Blayne Smith.

Basketball

Cole Benz | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

The New England Tigers won’t soon forget the name Blayne Smith. Smith, a senior forward with Hear River, almost single handily pushed the Cougars to a victory over New England.

With a healthy 15 point lead heading into the second half, Smith scored 12 points in the third quarter to cut the lead.

New England was dominant in the first half. Outscoring Heart River 35-20, the Tigers were relentless in their rim pursuit. But both teams played terribly undisciplined basketball, and each squad entered the bonus early in the second quarter.

The first quarter ended on a buzzer-beating layup by Ty Nordby that put the Tigers ahead 18-11.  A 7-0 run midway through the second quarter helped to pad the Tiger lead, then the third quarter happened.

Heart River came out of the halftime break ready to play. They put up the first four points of the third quarter, and after a 6-0 run by the Cougars that included three straight free throw shots by Smith, Heart River had cut the lead to only seven points.

The Tigers were not going to let the lead slip, and though Heart River was able to catch up, New England seemingly found a way to stop the scoring runs.

The Cougars outscored the Tigers 20-9 in the third quarter to cut the Tiger lead to 44-40.

Smith caught on fire at the end of the third quarter. He made four 3-pointers during a 12-0 scoring run that put them ahead of New England 45-44 early in the fourth quarter, their first lead of the night. Smith out make seven 3-point shots by the time the game was over.

New England was able to stop the bleeding and went on a 9-0 run of their own, putting them ahead 53-45. Keeping the game to a two-possession game was Nordby, who made a free throw that would be the final basket of the night. The Tigers, battling an exuberant crowd all night, won 63-58.

Smith was the game high scorer with 29 points, that included seven 3-point baskets. Second on Heart River was Dion Madler who put up 10. Seth Privratsky led the team in rebounds with eight.

Nordby was the top scorer for the Tigers with 15. He also had 11 rebounds to lead the team and complete the double-double.

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