By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
It took an overtime period, but Mott/Regent defeated the Cougars from Heart River 67-60 to advance to the quarterfinals in the Region 7 Tournament.
Early on it looked like it would be a long day for the Wildfire. After winning the opening tip, Heart River went on an 8-2 scoring run. The game was fast from the start, and each squad looked gassed, gasping for breaths halfway into the first quarter.
The Wildfire struggled early with their passing, turning it over twice, leading to Heart River scoring. Their 3-point shooting wasn’t too great either; they missed all nine attempts in the first half, and only hit one of 13 for the game.
But Mott/Regent was resilient and fought back, down only two when the quarter ended.
The Wildfire went on a 10-4 scoring run in the second quarter before a Heart River 3-pointer killed it. Junior guard Brady Wegh was forced to sit with just under 30 seconds left in the half after getting his third foul. But thanks to their scoring run, the Wildfire were only down 27-26.
Mott/Regent took over the game in the third quarter, opening the half on a 7-2 run.
The Wildfire were poised to enter the final quarter with a good lead, but late in the third Mott/Regent’s defense gave Heart River some scoring opportunities, capped off by a 3-point basket in the waning seconds by Heart River junior guard Dion Madler. Down by as much as seven, the Cougars entered the fourth quarter down by only two.
The scoring kept coming for Heart River. Starting at the end of the third and stretching into the fourth, the Cougars put up an astonishing 14-0 putting them ahead 49-42.
Mott/Regent answered with their own bunches of baskets and cut the lead back to only two points before a Heart River free throw, steal and ensuing basket off a steal put them back up by five.
But with under a minute left in regulation time, Mott/Regent senior guard Chance Roth hit a big 3-pointer to draw them to within two points. Mott/Regent senior forward Brett Messmer made two free throws that tied it at 52 with 29 seconds left, and ultimately sent it to overtime.
The Wildfire dominated the overtime period. Outscoring Heart River 15-8, the Cougars started to foul Mott/Regent at the 1:15 mark.
Mott/Regent made six out of eight baskets to seal the deal.
Leading scorer for the Wildfire was Brett Messmer who put up 22 points. Brady Wegh was second with 18, Wegh also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds to complete the double-double.