Tigers beat Nighthawks, advance to Region 7 finals

Put this one in the books as a game to remember. The New England Tigers faced off against the Hettinger/Scranton Nighthawks for a chance at the Region 7 championship.

[PHOTO BY RACHEL BOCK | The Herald]
[PHOTO BY RACHEL BOCK | The Herald]
By Cole Benz | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

Put this one in the books as a game to remember. The New England Tigers faced off against the Hettinger/Scranton Nighthawks for a chance at the Region 7 championship.

These two know each other well. They faced off in an overtime thriller on Jan. 27 that resulted in a 55-50 win for the Tigers. Through the first three quarters, it seemed like the crowd was in for another overtime contest. Both squads were neck and neck until New England started to pull away in the fourth quarter, ultimately beating the Nighthawks 73-65.

The game started out slow, with neither team recording a point until the 6:15 mark of the first quarter, though both squads came to play. Intensity from both sides was on display as they were driving hard to the rim early and often.

Hettinger/Scranton was employing the full-court press from the start, and they took an early lead. But after a scoring run New England went ahead shortly after the second quarter started.

Throughout the first half there were nine lead changes, but Hettinger/Scranton entered the halftime break ahead by two, with Hettinger/Scranton’s Hayden Sadowsky scoring 17.

After three quarters of play New England was leading Hettinger/Scranton 50-46, a close margin with eight minutes of play left.

Part way through the fourth quarter, New England’s Daniel Prince stole the ball and scored on a break away layup, this was seemingly a game changer as the Tigers began to pull away. New England’s Mason Stang launched a 3-pointer that fell through the hoop to increase the Tiger lead by nine, New England’s largest of the game to that point.

After putting up 17 points between the first two quarters, Sadowsky was held to just four in the second half, all coming in the fourth quarter. Nighthawk Isaiah Kludt did what he could to step up in the third quarter, draining a couple of threes on his way to an 11-point third quarter.

The Tigers figured out a way to contain both Sadowsky and Kludt in the final quarter, allowing Sadowsky to score his only points in the half and holding Kludt to just two. The Nighthawks didn’t score until the 4:31 mark of the final quarter, a free throw by Kludt.

Hettinger/Scranton was pressing and started to shoot from the 3-point line in hopes of cutting the Tiger lead, and with a little more than three minutes left in the game found themselves down by 12.

The Nighthawks didn’t give up. Mustering up a scoring run of six points at the free-throw line that brought the score to within eight. New England’s Ty Nordby fouled Hettinger/Scranton’s Brandon Pierce attempting a 3-point shot. Pierce made two out of his three shots.

As the game clock ticked down to the last minute, the Nighthawks couldn’t do much but hope the Tigers would falter at the free-throw line. They didn’t and scored seven on free throws on their way to victory.

Leading the scoring effort for the Nighthawks was Sadowsky with a game high 21 points. Second on the evening for Hettinger/Scranton was Pierce who had 19. Tanner Sanford, Kludt and Pierce shared the rebound lead with five each.

Prince led the way in scoring for the Tigers with 19 points followed by Brady Bender who scored 17. Dan Prince led the way in rebounds with seven.

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