A four-point third quarter proved costly for the Killdeer girls basketball team and derailed the Cowboys’ drive for a berth in the 2017 North Dakota High School Basketball Championships.
DUNN COUNTY HERALD
Bowman County took advantage of the Cowboys’ struggles in that period to post a 57-54 victory over Killdeer in the semifinals of the Region 7 Tournament at Dickinson Trinity High School. The Bulldogs held the Cowboys to four points and turned a 32-31 halftime deficit to a 44-36 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Cowboys were scheduled to play Hettinger/Scranton in the third place game on Thursday.
It was the third time this season the Bulldogs got the better of the Cowboys. And like the previous two games, this one was a humdinger. The Bulldogs had to hold on for dear life as the Cowboys made a furious rally in the final five minutes.
After Bowman County’s Maury Burke nailed a long 3-point shot to give the Bulldogs a 51-42 lead with 5:02 remaining in the contest, the Cowboys showed their resolve and proved that they would not go quietly into the night.
Instead, they brought their large and vocal cheering section to its feet with an aggressive – almost desperate – defense surge that opened the door for an opportunistic offense that gave hope for an incredible comeback.
Taycee Butts started the run with a mid-range jumper, before Gabi Flagett followed a strong move inside for a bucket despite being fouled. And after a Bowman turnover, Trae Murray scored in the paint, cutting the gap to 51-49 with 2:45 to play.
Burke snapped a four-minute scoring drought with a bucket at the 1:20 mark to increase the lead to 53-49. She also made one of two free throws moments after Killdeer’s Sydney Anderson made two free throws that made the score 54-51.
Killdeer went down and immediately cut the lead to one when Murray scored on a power move inside with 30 seconds remaining.
Mikayla Bartholomay made the second of a two-shot foul sequence with 12 seconds left, and Meggie Fisher secured the victory six seconds later with a pair of free throws.
Anderson led the Cowboys with 20 points, including four treys, and eight rebounds. Murray had 10 points.
Bowman County had a balanced attack with four players in double figures. Fischer led the way with 16 points, while Burke had 15, followed by Bartholomay with 14 and Ellie Stafford with 10.
Murray had the hot hand with 20 points in the Cowboys’ quarterfinal victory over Mott-Regent on Feb. 20. She led the way with 20 points and eight rebounds while Butts chipped in 10 points in the victory.
The Cowboys harassed Mott-Regent with their “hand-in-your-face” defense that opened the door to a 35-21 lead at halftime. It continued in the third quarter when the Cowboys broke the game wide open by outscoring the Wildfire 22-4.
Killdeer forced 23 turnovers and had a dozen steals, including four by Murray.
Malynn Kautzman and Ellie Messmer led the Wildfire with 14 points apiece.