After taking a narrow lead in the final minutes of Friday’s game in Mott, Killdeer watched the Wildfire tie the game in the final seconds to force the game into overtime.
By Brad Mosher
The Wildfire then outscored the visiting Cowboys by a 10-3 margin in the extra period to pull out a 50-43 win.
The loss ended Killdeer’s season with a 4-6 record in Region 7 play and a 10-12 mark for the year.
Killdeer senior Shawnee Hansen finished as the game’s top scorer with 19 points.
After giving Mott-Regent a 5-0 early lead, the Killdeer Cowboys closed the gap to 7-5 by the end of the first quarter in Friday’s Region 7 girls basketball play-in game.
After closing the lead to just one point seconds into the second quarter, the Wildfire slowly opened a lead before scoring four points in the final minute.
Mott-Regent held an 18-16 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, the two team kept up the toe-to-toe battle.
With 18 seconds left, Kiara Koepplin sank a pair of free throws to give Mott-Regent a six-point lead, only to see a basket by Kylee Boltz with five seconds left cut the lead down to four (29-25).
Karly Bang got a three-point play on a foul by Mott-Regent’s Bree Friedt, her fourth, with just over six minutes left.
Down 31-30, Hansen sank a pair of free throws to give the Cowboys their first lead of the game.
The lead changed hands again. And again. And again.
Fouls would have an impact on Mott-Regent, with senior Madison Meier fouling out with 2:53 left.
She wasn’t the last Wildfire player forced to the bench by fouls.
Steena Larsen would give the Cowboys the lead again after sinking two free throws.
A basket by Hansen with 1:37 left gave Killdeer a 38-35 lead and forced the Wildfire to take a timeout.
A pair of free throws with 1:17 left cut the Cowboy lead to just one point (38-37).
Hansen hit another basket with 42 seconds left, giving Killdeer a 40-37 lead and forcing another Mott-Regent timeout.
The last time out paid off for the Wildfire when Koepplin hit a three-pointer from the corner to tie the game with 12 seconds on the clock.
In the overtime, Bree Friedt hit two free throws to give the Wildfire the lead, only to have Hansen respond with a basket at the three minute mark, tying the game again.
A pair of back-to-back baskets by Madison Rafferty gave the Wildfire a four-point lead withless than two minutes left.
Bree Friedt was forced to the bench with 1:36 left when she picked up her fifth foul and sent Hansen to the free throw line. Hansen hit one of her two attemtpts, cutting the lead to 46-43.
In the last thirty seconds, the Wildfire picked up four more points at the free throw line.
For Killdeer coach Chad Dahlen, it was tough watching the Killdeer lead slip away with a corner three-pointer in the final seconds that tied the game and forced the overtime.
“We needed more time at the end and too much time,” he said after the game.
Playing physical against the Wildfire was the team strategy, he added. “We wanted to be aggressive, go into the land and attack the basket. We got some free throws and making some for once,” Dahlen said.
The Cowboys finally found their rhythm late in the game, the coach said. “I thought defensively we did well to hold down Bree Friedt – she had only 12 points. She is a high scorer and had 32 points the last time. That was one of our main goals to keep her in check.
“She is an awesome player,” Dahlen said about Friedt.
Dahlen will lose five seniors to graduation from his team, but the returnees will have more playing experience than his team had at the beginning of the season. “Last year, we had about eight points coming back. This next year, we’ll have about 25 points coming back,” he said.
Dahlen said he home the team next year will be able to pick it up a few notches and allow him to add more to his system, “We can build on that,” he added.
Basketball season my be over for now, but Dahlen added that he plans to have the Cowboys participate in camps and summer leagues when the school year ends.
“We need to get the girls in the weight room. We didn’t hit the weights enough last year. I am a really firm believer in weights. That helps you almost more than anything and I want to get the younger girls in the weight room.”
According to Mott-Regent coach Adam Hill, it was a tough battle with the Cowboys all evening. “It was a big team win, with so many starters fouled out of the game. We finished the game and the overtime with four freshmen and a junior. Kiara Koepplin was the junior and made that huge three-pointer.
“Without that, everything else was a moot point.
“It was just a huge team win. Everybody did something and it was a struggle all game long,” the coach explained.
He praised the play of senior Bree Friedt, who fouled out late in the game. “She played a long time with four fouls. In fact, she played so long I didn’t think it was her fifth foul.. She had a lot of energy on the boards. She had a girl hanging on her all night long. They were bumping her on her cuts and things like that. But, she kept plugging away,” he added.
Friedt drew a lot of attention from the Cowboys and that created openings for her teammates, the coach said. “In the fourth quarter and overtime that allowed us to get baskets and the win.
“Sometimes (around Bree Friedt) it looked like a team meeting. There was a lot of them (Cowboys), but that left the corner open for us and we finally got a couple of baskets.
“We hadn’t shot the ball very well all night and finally, when we really, really needed it, they started to fall,” the coach added.
Bree Friedt wasn’t the only Wildfire player to foul out. Mott-Tegent also lost Madison Meier and Karagan Friedt to fouls.
Madison Rafferty scored 13 points to be the top scorer for the Wildfire, while Bree Friedt had 12. Koepplin put in nine points, while Hailee Olson scored six and Meier added five. Kathie Honeyman and Megan Hill both scored two points. Karagan Friedt had one free throw.
Hansen was the only Killdeer scorer in overtime, hitting a basket and adding a free throw on overtime for the last of her 19 points. Karly Bang added eight points, while Shyanne Oversen scored five and both Steena Larsen and Kylee Boltz finished with four points apiece. Gracie Doe put in two points. Rowyn Murray finished with one point.