Hawks dominate Wildfire, win sixth straight

Hawks get big win over visiting Mott-Regent.

Jarad Mattis looks for his route around Wildfire junior Tanner Zentner. (PHOTO By Cole Benz/The Record)

By COLE BENZ | Record Editor

After a dominating 80-68 win over Mott-Regent on Thursday, Feb. 16, the Hettinger/Scranton Night Hawks are emerging as a top contender in the region, trailing only Dickinson Trinity and Beulah in the standings as of Friday, Feb. 17. The Night Hawks have won six straight games.

Meanwhile, Mott-Regent—once undefeated in regional play—have lost three of their past four games, including three in the region.

An offense normally centered around athletic swingman Isaiah Kludt, the Night Hawks got strong contributions from all around the court, including a 24-point performance by junior Jarad Mattis, and another 19 from junior Tate Resner.

The Wildfire started out in the hole, allowing a five point advantage at 7-2 before they would break out of a cold spell with six straight points to take the lead midway through the first quarter.

As Mott-Regent employed a quick transition, the Night Hawks were missing shots late in the quarter, and were down 15-11 when the first buzzer fired.

But that momentum quickly shifted when a couple of trips to the foul line by senior Jordan Dilse tied the game with four made baskets.

Both teams weren’t messing around and started with the full-court press early. But neither defense could contain their opponents’ offense and the game.

Then the scoring came in clumps.

With just three minutes left in the half, the Night Hawks ran away with seven unanswered points. The lead was short lived when the Wildfire got hot with a 5-0 run of their own.

With 30 seconds left, senior Dylan Ambers drained a 3-pointer to tie it, and in came the Night Hawks again as Mattis drove it down and tipped in the layup with just 10 seconds left.

The Hawks entered the half up 39-37.

The third quarter ended up being another entertaining shootout for the crowd, Mott-Regent had 17 third-quarter points, and the Night Hawks tallied 22, but it was a hot start for the Night Hawks that made the difference.

Hettinger/Scranton opened the second half strong with a 10-2 within the first two minutes, thanks in part to Mattis’s hot hand at the three-point line. The Night Hawks had 10 from long distance, Mattis had four.

Mott-Regent had a tough time defending the Night Hawks the final quarter, allowing 19 points. But the Wildfire didn’t slack on the scoreboard either, scoring a double-digit 14 points, including a 10-point performance by Wildfire senior Brady Wegh. The deficit was just too much to overcome, and eventually lost to the Night Hawks.

SCORING: HS—Mattis (24), Resner (19), Kludt (16), Dilse (8), Jaxon Mellmer (7), Carson Schalesky (4), Ethan Duper (2). MR—Wegh (24), Tanner Zentner (13), Dylan Ambers (12), Sean Hertz (12), Cody Perkins (4), Josh Wallace (2)