Bowman takes Night Hawks by a basket

The Fischer brothers combined for 29 points to help lift Bowman to a 58-56 highly-competitive win against arch-rival Hettinger Scranton in the final home basketball game for the Bulldogs Friday night, Feb. 1.

Posted Feb. 6, 2013


Pioneer Publisher & Editor

The Fischer brothers combined for 29 points to help lift Bowman to a 58-56 highly-competitive win against arch-rival Hettinger Scranton in the final home basketball game for the Bulldogs Friday night, Feb. 1.

Senior Brandon Fischer tallied a team-high 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting while junior Tanner Fischer scored 14 on 4-of-5 shooting. The older brother sank both free throw attempts while the younger brother went 6-of-8 from the charity stripe.

But, the Fischers had plenty of offensive help. Seniors Brandon Orcutt and Michael Palczewski also scored in double digits with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

“This was definitely a big win for us,” said Bowman County head coach Steve Shahan. “We’re playing a rival with implications for district seeding. We had a great crowd. Hettinger-Scranton brought a great crowd. It was a great atmosphere for a high school basketball game.”

The game was tight from the opening tip to the final buzzer. The largest lead in the game was a six-point cushion by the Night Hawks with 50 seconds left in the first quarter when senior Stephen Kristy gave Hettinger-Scranton a 12-6 advantage. The Bulldogs responded with back-to-back baskets – a basket each from Orcutt and Brandon Fischer to close the gap to 12-10 to enter the second stanza.

Brandon Fischer scored the first points of the second quarter, completing a fastbreak with a basket to tie the game at 12 with 6:41. Fifty seconds later, a pair of free throws from Palczewski gave the Bulldogs their first lead, 14-12.

Freshman Brandon Pierce answered with a basket for the Night Hawks on an inbound play to tie the game at 14 with 5:19 left in the half. Both teams traded baskets the rest of the way and the score was tied at 20 at intermission.

The Bulldogs missed the first shot of the second half, but senior Chance Moran pulled down the offensive board. Moments later, Brandon Fischer’s basket gave Bowman County the 22-20 lead. The lead was short lived as junior Kye Erickson scored on a drive through the paint to tie the game. At the 6:57 mark, Kristy delivered an old-fashioned three-point play on an offensive rebound to give the Night Hawks a 25-22 lead.

The teams went back to trading baskets. Tanner Fischer scored the Bulldogs’ next seven points. The Night Hawks countered with a trey from freshman Heyden Sadowsky and another offensive putback from Kristy, giving the Night Hawks a 30-29 lead with 3:38 left in the third. Sadowsky followed with another basket, pushing Hettinger-Scranton’s lead to 32-29.

Palczewski answered with the Bulldogs’ first three-pointer to tie the game at 32. The Night Hawks would finish the period on a 4-3 run – baskets from Kristy and Sadowsky – to take a 36-35 advantage into the final frame.

If the fans didn’t receive their money’s worth in the first three quarters, they certainly did in the final eight minutes. The lead changed nine times in the fourth quarter alone.

After a pair of free throws from Erickson for the first points of the quarter, Orcutt responded with back-to-back baskets, including a baseline jumper, to give Bowman County a 39-38 lead with 6:26 to go. Kristy then hit his final basket of the game, returning the lead to the Night Hawks. Brandon Fischer answered with a trey, only to have Night Hawk senior Tanner Stippich hit a bomb of his own, giving Hettinger-Scranton a 43-42 advantage.

Bowman County senior Colter Braaten hit the front end of a one-and-one to tie the game. Thirty-three seconds later, Sadowsky countered for the Night Hawks. Braaten then hit a trey from the top, giving the Bulldogs a 46-45 lead. Erickson then hit a bomb in the corner and the Night Hawks led 48-46.

On Bowman County’s next possession, Orcutt was fouled on a turnaround jumper. He sank both free throws, but more importantly, sent Kristy to the bench with his fourth foul with 3:47 left in regulation. Twenty seconds later, Erickson connected on his fourth basket of the game. After a basket on an inside move from Tanner Fischer, a pair of free throws from Sadowsky returned the lead to the Night Hawks, 52-50, with 2:58 remaining.

At 2:36, Brandon Fischer connected on his final basket to tie the game, again. Twelve seconds later, Hettinger-Scranton head coach Adam Hill reinserted Kristy back into the game. Kristy would connect on a free throw at 1:55, giving the Night Hawks a 53-52 lead. Eleven seconds later, Braaten would sink two free throws, returning the lead to the Bulldogs. On the Night Hawks’ next possession, Kristy took a shot and missed, and while battling Orcutt for the rebound, was whistled for his fifth foul with 1:25 to go. Orcutt would make the second of two free throws, giving the Bulldogs a 55-53.

Hill called timeout to set up a play. Sadowsky’s attempt would miss, but the Night Hawks would corral the rebound. Hill called another timeout. This time, Sadowsky attempted a 3-point shot, that was “in and out.” Brandon Fischer collected the defensive rebound and sank two free throws with 40 seconds left, giving Bowman County a 57-53 lead. With 22 seconds to go, Sadowsky’s three-point attempt hit the bottom of the net and the Bulldog lead was cut to 57-56.

After another Hettinger-Scranton timeout, Braaten, one of the team’s top free-throw shooters, made the first charity shot, but missed the second with 11.7 seconds to go, giving Bowman County a 58-56 lead. The Night Hawks grabbed the rebound, but a turnover caused by the combined defensive efforts of Braaten and Palczewski sealed the deal for the Bulldogs.

“This feels great,” said Brandon Fischer moments after the game. “We knew after our last loss, we had to come together.

After missing the final free throw of the game that opened the door for the Night Hawks to steal the win at the end, Braaten knew what he had to do.

“I usually make those,” Braaten said, “but once I didn’t, I knew I couldn’t let my man score on me.”

Braaten finished with seven points and led the Bulldogs with five assists.

Kristy led all scorers with 18 points and led his team with five rebounds. Erickson and Sadowsky both finished with 12 points.

Both teams had impressive shooting performances in the fourth quarter. The Night Hawks made 6-of-11 shots (54.5 percent) in the quarter and finished the game 21-of-47 (44.6 percent). The Bulldogs made 6-of-9 shots (66.7 percent) and finished 18-of-41 (43.9 percent).

The Bulldogs held a decisive advantage at the charity stripe. Bowman County made 19-of-26 free throws (73 percent) while the Night Hawks missed only one of their nine attempts (88.9 percent).

Both coaches felt Friday’s contest would help their teams as they prepare for the district tournament.

“We feel good about our chances,” Hill said. “We did a good job tonight of making adjustments. We had some kids step up (after losing Kristy). We have defeated two of our district opponents and were close to Mott-Regent late. Heart River is the only team we didn’t show up to play against. When it comes to the district tournament, everybody can beat everybody.”

On the final play of the game, Palczewski was fouled hard after he and Braaten combined to force a turnover. Palczewski grabbed the ball and raced to the basket before he collided hard with a Night Hawk player.

Coach Shahan had mixed emotions about Palczewski’s last play.

“That is one of the things we want Michael to work on is going to the basket,” Shahan said. Though Palczewski remained on the floor for a few moments after the foul, no free throws were attempted as the clock expired and the freethrows would not impact the game.