The Mott-Regent basketball season ended Monday afternoon in the Knights of Columbus Activity Center when Hazen handed the Wildfire a 78-65 loss in the Region 7 tournament quarterfinals.
The Wildfire season came to a close with two of the team’s top players sitting on the bench for the final minutes of their prep career.
Asad Watson Buffalo fouled out with 3:54 left and Cody Perkins followed him to the sidelines with 3:06 on the clock.
When Perkins sat down, the score was still close, 68-63.
A minute earlier, Perkins combined a steal and dunk to pull the Wildfire within two points, 65-63.
The Wildfire started off strong, taking a 24-17 lead after one quarter, but the Bison turned the tables in each of the remaining quarters to pull out the victory and move into the semifinals against the top seed, Trinity.
In the second quarter, the Bison put in 21 points, while holding the Wildfire to 15, cutting the Mott-Regent lead to just one point at halftime. With 1:30 left before the half, the Wildfire held a 35-29 lead after a Caleb Candrian basket. Then the Bison went on a 7-3 run to close the lead down to 39-38.
The Wildfire lead lasted less than a minute in the second half when Hazen’s Isaac Doll had a three-point play when he hit a shot and picked up a foul to give the Bison a 41-39 lead.
The Wildfire rallied with a three-pointer from outside the arc by Frey to give Mott-Regent the lead again, 42-41.
The Bison took the lead again seconds later on a basket by Garrett Ward, but the Wildfire came back for the lead again (44-43) with a basket by Jayden Hauck, but Ward flipped the lead to the Bison again with 4:15 left.
A three-pointer by Tyson VanInwagen expanded the lead to 48-44 with 3:12 left in the period, but Assad Watson Buffalo sank two free throws, his only points of the game, with 1:56 on the clock to cut the Bison lead to three.
But back to-back three-pointers by Ward and a free throw blew the lead up to 10 points with 1:13 left. He was fouled on his second three-pointer and sank the free throw for a four-point play.
The Bison scoring stampede continued into the fourth quarter, but a rally by the Wildfire was able to cut the lead to seven (59-52) on back-to-back scores with 6:45 left.
After Ward added another of his five three-pointers for the Bison to build the lead back up to 10 points, the Wildfire came back with three-pointers by Perkins and Candrian to trim the lead to just four points with over five and a half minutes left (62-58).
With the Bison pulling slightly away at the free throw line, Candrian hit another three and Perkins stripped the ball away for a steal and dunk with 4:18 left to cut the lead to just two points (65-63) with just over four minutes left.
Seconds later, Watson Buffalo would foul out. Shortly after that, Perkins would join him on the bench.
Frey would get the only Wildfire score in the final three minutes with 1:18 left on the clock, cutting the lead to nine (74-65).
A sophomore, Candrian led the Wildfire in scoring with 25 points, hitting five three-pointers, while seniors Perkins and Isaac Frey finished with 15 and 12 points in their final game. Jayden Hauck put in seven, while Watson Buffalo, Ryan Doe and Logan Lutz each scored two points.
The Wildfire ended the game hitting more baskets (24 to 23) and more three pointers (10 to 9), but the Bison were able to grab a 23 to 7 edge at the free throw line.
The Bison also had a big edge in second chance points, getting 19 to the Wildfire’s six, and in points off the bench (12-4).
The game was a rematch for the Bison, which lost to the Wildfire Jan. 22 in Mott by a 56-48 margin.
Mott-Regent finished the season with a 13-9 season record.
Hazen 17 21 19 21 78
Mott-Regent 24 15 7 19 65
Garrett Ward 9 5 5-8 28; Isaac Doll 5 0 8-9 18; Tyson VanInwagen 2 2 5-6 11; Jayce Zuern 4 1 1-2 10; Dylan Martell 3 1 2-2 9; Austin Richter 0 0 1-4 1; Cullen Traiser 0 0 1-2 1.
Hazen 23 9 25-33 78
Caleb Candrian 9 5 2-2 25; Cody Perkins 6 1 2-4 15; Isaac Frey 4 3 1-2 12; Jayden Hauck 3 1 0-1 7; Ryan Doe 1 0 0-0 2; Asad Watson Buffalo 0 0 2-2 2; Logan Lutz 1 0 0-0 2.
Mott-Regent 24 10 7-11 65