Despite loss in Region 7 tournament Killdeer coach optimistic about future
The Killdeer boys basketball team went to school this season and they learned what it takes to win in Region 7.
BY BRYAN GALLEGOS
DUNN COUNTY HERALD
Although they lost their season 75-30 in the quarterfinals of the regional tournament to a very aggressive and talented Beulah team, the Cowboys finished with a respectable 11-12 record, including an eight-victories-in-12-games stretch.
“I think the boys learned that basketball is not a ‘light-switch’ game. By that I mean it’s not a game where you can choose when you want to play,” said Killdeer head coach Andy Murphy. “Basketball is 32-minute game where the switch needs to be ‘on’ every second of the game.”
Murphy said he was impressed on the growth of his team this season and is extremely optimistic about next season.
“Coming into this season, we were picked 11th in the region by other coaches. We used that as motivation because we knew we were better than that ranking,” said Murphy. “We need to build on that confidence and use this season as motivation to get us over the hump in the future because the potential is there. We just need to exceed that potential.”
They didn’t against Beulah, however.
Beulah was quick on offense. Beulah was quick on defense. And Beulah made quick work of the Cowboys in the Region 7 Tournament quarterfinals on Monday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center at Dickinson Trinity High School.
“I think nerves were a big part of the loss. The boys appeared scared and timid once the game started,” Murphy said. “It wasn’t the same team that made leaps and strides the last month of the season.”
It was a disappointing loss to a season where the Cowboys built themselves as a legitimate darkhorse, particularly in the final month. The scrappy Cowboys constructed an impressive run that resulted in 10 victories in their last 15 games. They also pushed Region 7 regular-season champion Dickinson Trinity to brink, forcing the Titans rallied in the second half for a hard-fought victory.
But this game, well, the Cowboys just got hammered.
They were held to their second-lowest scoring total of the season. Their lowest scoring total was against this same Beulah team during the regular season in a 64-25 defeat.
The Miners dismantled the Cowboys with an aggressive, unrelenting defense that forced 26 turnovers, often leading to easy layups. And offensively, Beulah shot 58 percent from the field, making 29 of 50 shots. And they were even more accurate from beyond the arc, shooting making seven of nine shots from 3-point land.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, had one of their worst shooting nights, shooting 28 percent from the field on 12-of-43 shooting. They were even worse from the free throw line, making just one of nine charity tosses.
“Give Beulah credit, they are a very good team. They play very aggressive on defense and we struggled with it,” Murphy said.
Garrett LeMieux and Alex Sadowsky led the way with eight points each for the Cowboys. But only four others players scored for Killdeer.
Beulah fielded a balanced scoring attack with four players in double figures. Jacob Weigel, who made five of five shots from beyond the arc, led the way with 20 points. Chad Morsette scored 14 points, followed by Reece Hoherz with 12 and Logan Miller with 11.
Beulah’s defense set the tone early with a pair of steals and the Miners jumped out to a 6-0 lead before the Cowboys sliced the lead in half with a bucket by Dawson Schmeling followed by a free throw by LeMieux.
It was all Beulah after that, leading 19-5 at the end of the first quarter. After Hoyt Zander connected on a trey to open the second period for the Cowboys, the Miners went on a 12-0 run, and this game, was, well, pretty much over. They led 44-15 at halftime and stretched the lead to as much as 49 points in the third quarter.