The Mott/Regent Wildfire and New England Tigers both lost their respective semifinal match up, which sets them up to go head to head with a Region 7 tournament third-place finish on the line.
By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Beulah entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed, and although there were pushed to the limit in their quarterfinal match against Hazen, they didn’t show signs of slowing down.
Early on the Wildfire were in control. After winning the opening tip junior Brady Wegh drove to the hoop for the first points of the game.
Mott/Regent was doing a good job of grabbing the offensive rebounds, and capitalizing with second-chance points, Mott recorded four to Beulah’s one.
By the end of the first, Mott/Regent was leading 12-7.
The Wildfire did well in the first half at the free-throw line too, tallying five points. But an 11-0 scoring run by Beulah got the Wildfire into a deep hole in the second quarter.
The Miners took advantage of the turnover game, and scored 11 points off of Wildfire miscues. Senior Carter Honeyman hit two free throws to cut Beulah’s lead down to just eight before the half. The Wildfire entered the break down 30-22.
Senior Chance Roth hoped to set the tone in the second half when he opened the third quarter with a 3-point basket. But Beulah got patient down at the post, allowing the Wildfire defenders to make the first move, before they would reach up for the easy layup.
Beulah’s high powered offense started to click in the third quarter, putting up 19 total points. But Mott/Regent stayed with them, and if it wasn’t for their first-half deficit, the 17 points the Wildfire scored in the quarter would have got them closer to the Miners.
The Miners opened the final quarter with five unanswered points, securing a hefty lead. Their defense held the Wildfire in check too, not allowing a point until a Wegh basket halfway through the quarter. Beulah would hold the Wildfire to their only single-digit scoring quarter, downing Mott/Regent 58-47.
Leading scorer for the Miners was senior Josh Remmick with 15, followed by senior Casey Walcker who put up 13. Beulah senior John William Suter led the team with 11 rebounds.
Wegh led the way for the Wildfire with a game-high 18 points. Senior Brett Messmer was second on the team with eight. Wegh also grabbed a team-leading 11 rebounds to complete the double-double.
New England 52
Riding on cloud nine after upsetting the No. 3 seeded Hettinger/Scranton Night Hawks, the Tigers were hoping to take some of that momentum and use it against the No. 2 seeded Dickinson Trinity Titans. But there wasn’t much magic left in their tank, and New England lost, missing out on a chance to repeat as Region 7 champs.
The Titans were putting on the full-court press early, and their defense disrupted the Tigers to the tune of missing three consecutive shots. New England also failed to put two free throws through the hoop early.
New England senior Cody Holt was driving to the hoop early and looked like the second-half player he was against the Night Hawks. But his delivery seemed to be just a little off, and his layups were bouncing off the rim.
Trinity made it hard on New England after getting to a 9-2 lead after just five minutes of play. Though the Tigers felt a bigger deficit the night before, the Titans didn’t let go of their lead.
Already up 14-6 after one quarter of play, the Titans scored 11 unanswered points to start the second.
Again, big man Holt found himself driving hard and getting to the rim, but just couldn’t finish. He did end the game with a team-leading 10 rebounds, but only garnered nine points.
Senior Brady Bender was the catalyst for New England’s offense again, putting up a game-high 20 points, and after only scoring three the night before, senior Hunter Wolf contributed 14 points on the night.
At the end of three quarters of play, with New England down 51-35, Wolf made a 3-pointer to start the fourth. But Trinity won the turnover battle and scored 29 points off the Tigers’ miscues.
Late in the final quarter New England was shooting from the 3-point line to get back into the game, and for a while the strategy was working. The Tigers shot an astonishing 70 percent from behind the line in the second half, going 7-for-10 that included three from Wolf, one from Bender, one from junior Carter Stang, and two from senior Denit Sorenson.
But Trinity’s offense kept answering, and closed out the game with a victory.
Leading scorer for the Titans was junior Shawn Stoltz with 16 points, followed by Lucas Jones who put up 10. Stoltz also grabbed 10 rebounds, leading the Titans.
Bender and Wolf each put up double digit points (20 and 14 respectively), and Holt finished third on the team with nine.