Bowman County outlasts Flasher in District 5 nightcap

Feb. 27—BOWMAN — Hosts Bowman County were able to push past the Flasher Bulldogs, 72-50, and will now face New England, who provided the upset of the day with a 62-57 victory over Glen Ullin-Hebron. Those weren't all the fireworks, however, as South Heart opened up the day's games with a nailbiting, 52-51 win in the faceoff between two former co-op partners, while Hettinger-Scranton need a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to tie the game and send it to overtime with Grant County/Mott-Regent and the Nighthawks managed to outlast the Jaguars in the extra period and take the 59-50 win.

In what started off as a very-close game, Bowman County managed to push past the other Bulldogs squad in District 5 and outlast Flasher with the win. The game was 18-13 at the end of the first quarter — in favor of the hosts — but Flasher started nailing-down 3-pointers throughout the second period and took a 30-28 lead into the locker rooms at the half. Senior guard Bohden Duffield dropped in a pair of 3s and 12 first-half points, while Jonah Njos also found his range for a trey.

In the crucial third-quarter, the Bulldogs began to pull away, scoring 26 points and holding the visitors to 12, and BCHS blistered Flasher in the fourth frame, holding them to a single-digit, 8-point output while posting 18 points. Duffield was on a torrid pace in the second half, connecting four more times from behind the arc on his way to another 23 points in the final 16 minutes for a game-high 35. Bohden's brother Bishop Duffield also caught fire in the second half — scoring 11 points of his own — and ending up with 16 total.

Flasher's Javin Friesz notched a team-high 25, but no other FHS player managed to cross the 10-point barrier.

"They gave (Flasher) us all that they had and they did, offensively, what we expected them to do: Run a lot of effective screens and get some quality shots for their guys and everybody on their team seemed to knock down shots; especially that first half," Bowman County head coach Ronnie Stewart said. "We ended up getting that lead, but adversity is what we had talked about, too, where you have to know how you're going to handle that and bounce-back from that."

In the night's prime-time upset contest, the #1-ranked Glen Ullin-Hebron Bearcats fell to New England as the Tigers turned it on in the fourth quarter on the way to the win. Glen Ullin-Hebron was out in front at the end of the first quarter, 9-8, and pushed that lead to 29-25 at the midpoint, with two treys from Jaxon Rolle and 8 first-half points from Riley Schneider.

But the Tigers responded with 6 points from Teddy Kirschemann and a shot from behind the arc by Noah Madler to keep the game close. Also, NEHS converted an important 8-of-10 from the free-throw line in the first half and ended up sinking 17-of-21 over the course of the contest.

In the second half, New England's Brock Ellis notched a trio of treys on his way to a team high 15 and Tallen Binstock came alive for 9 of his 14 points. Kirschemann was dominant in the paint, scoring 7 of his 13 points, while Madler was the other Tiger athlete in double-digits with 10.

"I told the guys when we got our win against Belfield — with the way we came back — I told them if we get back in we're getting this," Tiger head coach Kaine Hanson said. "They came out and they played so hard and they executed and played together and they're just fun to watch."

One of the most-thrilling games of the afternoon saw Hettinger-Scraton's Caden Anderson break loose and score a 3-pointer to knot the game at 49-each with only 4.3 seconds left in the game, and then Blake Larson took over from the charity-stripe on the way to the win. Anderson also connected from beyond the 3-point line in the extra frame and the Nighthawks held the Jags to a single point in the last four minutes.

HSHS opened up with a 14-11 lead at the end of the first quarter and maintained a slim, 21-18 lead heading into the second half. Ethan Rafteseth drained a 3-pointer for GC/M-R and Hettinger-Scranton's Aidyn Fisher dropped one in with Maddox Pierce, but Larson was on-fire and scored 11 of his game-high 28 points.

"We battled and found a way, I guess, and it's something we've practiced and worked on and our guys — the last few years — we haven't found ways to win games," Nighthawk head coach Kelly Pierce said. "But, hopefully, this will be a spring forward for us."

Heading into the final eight minutes of gametime, Nighthawk sophomore forward Gavin Parrow connected on a 3 and Anderson scored all 11 points in either the fourth frame or overtime. GC/M-R senior forward Weston Zacher absolutely went bananas in the second half, scoring four treys in the third quarter on his way to a team-high 18, while Jonathin Friedt scored 7 of his double-digit 13 in the final two frames. But one significant shortcoming for the Jaguars was free-throw shooting down the stretch, as the team was only 4-of-16 in the last quarter and allowed the Nighthawks to get back into the game.

"We just couldn't get a bounce on the free-throws and they killed us in the fourth quarter," GC/M-R head coach Pat Perkins said.

In another buzzer-beater beauty, the South Heart Eagles squared off against their former co-op buddies from Belfield. Neither team was giving an inch in the rivalry game, and the two teams split the regular-season showdowns one-game-apiece.

The Eagles couldn't get off the ground in the first quarter, putting up only a single field goal and 2 points, while Bantam junior guard Mason Kessel went off for 9 of his team-high 17 points. Meanwhile, South Heart responded in the second quarter with 3-pointers from freshman Garrett Bargmann and Conner Honeyman with Owen Stuber scoring 4 of his game-high 22 points.

Coming out of the second half at 22-16, in favor of Belfield,the Eagles hawked in on the basket and Stuber seemed to be scoring at will, connecting on five, second-half treys, and Landon Roller scored 7 of his 9 points to get close to double-figures.

"I don't think we had our composure there for a few minutes and we were fortunate enough to get through that one, but hats-off to Belfield; they took away a lot of the things we wanted to do tonight and we weren't able to," South Heart head coach Erik Klein said. "I'm proud of both teams out there, I had the opportunity to coach both sets of boys (with Heart River), so it's a little bit bitter-sweet."

With a 38-32 lead heading into the final frame, there were four ties and the same number of lead-changes over the course of the eight minutes, with South Heart employing a 6-2 run to make the score but Belfield had used a 4-0 run to give them a 51-49 lead with mere seconds remaining and the game on the line.

That was when Stuber pulled off his 3-point stunner and switched the script for South Heart for the 52-51 win.

"I promised the parents at the beginning of the season that their boys were going to learn skills that were going to help them in the future as a man: Dedication, leadership, putting others before themselves and servant leadership, and I did my job," Belfield head coach Tammy Grosulak said. "And a little icing on the cake was they learned some basketball, too."

The Region 3 Tournament qualifiers will begin at 3:30 p.m. MST today, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024 with South Heart facing Flasher and Glen Ullin-Hebron squaring off against Hettinger-Scranton thereafter. In the nightcap, Bowman County will host New England for the championship.

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