Killdeer had a tough battle inside against the Heart River Cougars in the team’s Region 7 opener, with Jamie Keller batting for a shot (left photo) and Michael Moreno (above) fighting for an offensive rebound. – Herald photos / Brad Mosher
The Heart River Cougars pulled away in the second half Saturday Dec. 29th to claim a 45-30 road victory over winless Killdeer.
The two teams battled to a first half stalemate, but the second half was another story for the Cowboys.
The big break came early in the third quarter after Killdeer’s Jamie Keller hit his second three-pointer of the game to give the hosts a 21-20 lead.
By Brad Mosher
Heart River’s Cauy Shypkoski answered with a three-pointer, giving the Copugars a brief 23-21 lead with 4:28 left.
Tyler Hansen scored moments later to tie the game again 12 seconds later. That would be the last points the Cowboys would score for the rest of the quarter.
The visitors went to the free throw line to score five points and build a 28-23 lead with 2:29 left.
Then the Cougars turned a block and fast break into another score with 1:20 left and fopllowed that with another score with 1:07 on the clock to build a 32-23 lead on a 9-0 run.
The Cougars had broken the game open with a 14-5 scoring edge in the third quarter.
Shypkoski opened the fourth quarter with another three-pointer, his third of the game, to make it a 35-23 lead then added another seconds later.
With the Cougars ahead 38-23, it was Killdeer’s Dawson Schneider’s basket from the corner with 5:10 left in the game to break the Cowboy’s shutout. The hosts had not scored for more than seven minutes in the third and fourth quarters, while the Cougars had 15-0 run.
After Schneider’s score cut the lead to 38-25, the Cowboys matched the Cougars, each team scoring five in the final five minutes.
For the Cowboys, it was a tale of two halves, according their coach, Andy Murphy.
“In the second half, we didn’t come out with much intensity. We were undisciplined in the third quarter,” he said after the game.
The fouls also had an impact, he added. “We had our seventh foul with about two and a half minutes left. It is hard to win a game when they have 10 minutes of bonus free throws. It is hard to beat a team when you do that.
“We were undisciplined in the second half. We didn’t box out. We didn’t have the greatest shot selection. There were a lot of undisciplined plays in that third quarter.
“We didn’t execute on offense. We stood around a lot, waiting for someone else to do something,” he said.
It was different in the first half, the coach said.
“In the first half, we were aggressive and got some nice looks at the hoop. In the third quarter, we got away from that and went back to our old selves. We need to use the shot clock better, slow the tempo down and make it a low-scoring game,” the coach said.
The way the Cowboys played in the first half was the bright spot for Killdeer in the game, Murphy said. “In the other five games this year we probably played that way for the first minute. It was good to see us play an entire first half that way. We played well on offense and defense in the first half. We have got to be able to extend that to four quarters if we want to start winning.
The Cougars got most of their winning margin at the free throw line where they cashed in on 12 of the 22 attempts (55 percent). Killdeer hit just three of the team’s seven shots at the line (43 percent).
The Cougars also had a slight edge in long-range scoring, hitting five to Killdeer’s three. Shypkoski was resonsible for four of the long-range bombs as he led the Cougars in scoring with 17 points.
Tyler Kastrow finished the game with seven, five coming in the Cougars’ big third-quarter scoring run. Trystan Gregory had six, while Preston Walter had five points. Ian Silbernagel scored four, while Jett Mattson, Logan Quimby and Caden McCormick each finished with two points.
Keller was the top scorer for the Cowboys with eight points. Kacen Gartner finished with seven, while Daylon Danks had five. Kaden Nodland scored four, while Michael Moreno, Owen Duttenhefner and Schneider each had two points.
The loss dropped the Cowboys to 0-6 for the season, with losses to Trenton (65-43), Trinity (75-38), New England (59-42), Heart River (56-55) and Mandaree (78-43).
The Cowboys will host Mott-Regent Jan. 8 in a 7 p.m. contest, followed by an away game in Hebron at 6:30 p.m. against Glen Ullin-Hebron two days later.
The team will be making a road trip to Bismarck’s Civic Center to play an 8 p.m. (CT) game against Solen in the jamboree.
For Heart River, Killdeer gave the Cougars both of its two wins this season. The team is 0-4 against all other teams and 2-4 overall. Heart River will travel to Mott-Regent Jan. 4 for a 7 p.m. contest.
HR 12 6 14 13 45
K 10 8 5 7 30
Cauy Shypkoski 1 4 3-4 17;
Tyuler Kastrow 3 1-4 7; Trystan Gregory 3 0-0 6; Preston Walter 1 3-4 5; Ian Silbernagel – 1 1-4 4; Jett Mattson 0 2-2 2; Logan Quimby 1 0-0 2; Caden McCormick 0 2-4 2.
Heart River 9 5 12-22 45
Jamie Keller – 2 2-5 8; Kacen Gartner 2 1 0-0 7; Daylon Danks 2 – 1-2 5; Kadin Nodland 2 0-0 4; Michael Moreno 1 0-0 2; Tyler Hansen 1 0-0 2; Dawson Schneider 1 0-0 2.
Killdeer 9 3 3-7 30