Lady Wildfire keep it close, but fall to Bowman County

It was close to the end, but the Lady Bulldogs prevailed over the Lady Wildfire.

Bree Friedt (Center) dribbles around a Bowman County defender after getting the ball from Ellie Messmer (Left) in Bowman County. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Herald)

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor

After riding a three-game winning streak, the Lady Wildfire (8-3) have hit a rough patch and lost their three following contests, capped off by a 47-44 loss to Bowman County (10-2) on the Bulldogs’ home court Thursday, Jan. 19.

Senior guard Ellie Messmer gave the Wildfire a chance in the final minute of the game. With 30 seconds left she stole the ball at the post on Bowman’s side of the court and drove it coast-to-coast for the layup, cutting the lead to just two points with 31.1 seconds left on the clock.

But a foul on Bowman’s senior guard Makayla Bartholomay put her on the free-throw line with just under five seconds left. She made one of her shots and sealed the 3-point win for the Bulldogs.

The two teams matched up well, though with vastly different styles. Mott-Regent took a methodical, careful pace to bring the ball down court and worked the perimeter. While Bowman County employed a run-and-gun offense, bringing the ball down the court quick and right to the post, which seemed to push the endurance of the Mott-Regent players early in the game.

The two teams traded baskets to start. But thanks to a 3-pointer by Bartholomay at the end of the first quarter, the Bulldogs came out ahead 13-10.

The Wildfire defense pressed Bowman County hard, and held them just six points in the second quarter and ended the half in front 22-19. Their effort was helped by senior center Maddison Johnson’s control of the boards, and two put back layups to close out the half.

But Mott-Regent didn’t take the momentum into the second half. Less than a minute into the third quarter, head coach Adam Hill was forced to put one of his starters on the bench, as senior guard MaLynn Kautzman committed two fouls in the first 40 seconds. She didn’t get back into the game until the start of the fourth quarter.

Passes by Mott-Regent weren’t on point, and turnovers led to the Bulldogs outscoring the Lady Wildfire 25-21 in the second half.

Two fouls by Mott-Regent hurt their chances in the final 90 seconds. While trailing 44-42, the second foul put Bowman County on the free-throw line, and the shooter made both.

Mott-Regent had the final possession of the ball with half of a second on the clock. And the last shot put up my Messmer sailed wide, and the final buzzer rang.

The Bowman County’s offense was led by Bartholomay and junior guard Meggie Fischer’s 18-point performance. Sophomore center/forward Ellie Stafford followed her teammates with nine points.

Johnson led Mott-Regent with 11 points, with Kautzman following closely with 10.

SCORING: MR—Johnson (11), Kautzman (10), Bree Friedt (8), Messmer (8), Jenaya Manolovits (3), Eden Wallace (2), Madison Meier (2). BC—Bartholomay (18), Fischer (18), Stanford (9), Cassidy Walby (2)

UP NEXT: Mott-Regent faces off against Hettinger/Scranton (11-3) at home on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m.

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