For the second time in February, the Bowman County Bulldogs came out on the short end of an overtime game – by one point.
The Dickinson Trinity Titans came into Bowman (Feb. 2) as the second-ranked team in North Dakota’s Class B division.
The Titans barely escaped with a narrow 69-68 overtime win over Bowman County.
A 25-point fourth quarter, sparked by 11 of Caleb Duffield’s 24 points, helped the Bulldogs tie the score at 60 point at the end of regulation time. Caleb Duffield also added six of the teams’ eight points in overtime.
Gavin Scott had 15, with four three-pointers, while Carson Massey scored 11 and Bishop Duffield put in 10 points. Both Clay Heimer and Brady Senn each scored three and Bohden Duffield had two points.
Then, it happened again Saturday (Feb. 13) in Solberg gym.
Beulah came into Bowman undefeated with a 9-0 Region 7 record Saturday, but they needed to come from behind in the fourth quarter to take the lead.
The Bulldogs rallied to have a 70-68 lead after Scott’s three-pointer with 29 seconds left, but Dawson Zuroff tied the game again with 13 seconds on the clock and forced the game into overtime.
In the extra period, Beulah’s Trapper Skalsky was the only scorer for the visitors, getting seven points, while Scott, Massey and Bishop Duffield had a three, a field goal and a free throw, respectively.
Still, the Bulldogs had a narrow 76-75 lead with Massey’s basket with 1:05 left in the extra period.
It was Skasky’s basket with 29 seconds left that gave the Miners the lead for good with 29 seconds left.
After a quick time out, the Bulldogs got the ball back, but the Miners were able to force a pair of fouls into out of bounds plays instead of trips to the free throw line.
With just 3.8 seconds left, the two teams had back-to-back time outs – the first by coach Nick Walker and followed by the Miners.
A quick shot bounced off the rim for the rim, sending several players scrambling and slamming into each other for the ball as time expired. Bishop Duffield went up for a last second offensive rebound shot but was hammered, sending the ball out of bounds and prompted a victory celebration by the Miners.
Bulldogs take early lead
The Bulldogs had a 19-15 lead after the first quarter, still held it at halftime by a 39-36 margin and kept it after three quarters (59-53).
But it was a late run by the Miners in the third quarter which cut into a one-time 12 point lead and left the visitors just six point down as the fourth quarter started.
Trey Brandt cut the Bulldogs’ lead to just four with a quick basket as the start of the fourth quarter, with Zuroff tying the game with 5:37 left at 59-59 at the free throw line.
Caleb Duffield’s three-point basket with 4:33 left gave the Bulldogs the 62-59 lead, but Brandt hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to one point with 3:11 left.
Seconds later, the Miners lost Zach Alissawi with a fifth foul.
Senn’s three-pointer with 2:53 left gave the Bulldogs a 65-61 lead. Bishop Duffield added two more with a basket with 2:34 left to give the hosts a 67-61 lead.
Zuroff’s basket with 1:53 on the clock cut the lead again to four points.
A basket and free throw by Brandt with 1:35 on the clock cut the lead to just one point.
It was Tarren Larson giving the visitors the lead (68-67) with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter and set the stage for Scott’s three-point shot with 29 seconds left that gave the hosts the lead again.
Brandt ended as the game’s top scorer, hitting 28 points for the Miners, while Scott finished with 26 for the Bulldogs.
Caleb Duffield scored 23 for Bowman County, followed by Bishop Duffield’s 11. Senn added seven points, including going a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line. Massey and Heimer each added six in the overtime loss. Barrett Walby had two points.
For the Miners, Nathan Battest had three points, while Larson, Carson Weigum and Jack Koppelsloen each had two points.
The Miners had a four-point edge at the free throw line, hitting 15 of 19 attempts, while the Bulldogs finished with 11 free throws.
The loss dropped Bowman County into a tie with Heart River for fifth with a 5-3 regional record.
The win kept Beulah atop the standings at 10-0, followed by Dickinson Trinity (6-2), while Glen Ullin/Hebron and Hazen were tied for third with identical 6-3 records.
Since the one-point overtime loss to Dickinson Trinity in early February, the Bulldogs followed it with an 88-30 win over Richardton-Taylor in regional play.
They also picked up a non-regional loss to Lemmon (63-48) and a win over Baker (MT) by an 89-48 margin.
The overtime loss left the Bulldogs with three games left before the regional tournament begins March 2. After hosting Hettinger-Scranton Feb. 16, the team hosts Beach (Feb. 18) and on the road at South Heart (Feb. 26).
“Our kids played really hard,” coach Nick Walker said after Saturday’s loss. “We battled through a lot of adversity. It was everything we thought it would be and more. We gave ourselves a shot at the end.”
The team had an opportunity to beat the two best teams in the district, he added. “We just had to make one more play. That is on me. I have to do a better job getting our kids into those types of situations in practice. We just got to have one more play to get over the hump.”
He praised his players after the narrow loss. “Gavin (Scott) has had a phenomenal year. He has played himself into an all-regional caliber player, which is amazing for a kid who played five to 12 minutes last year. To step into a varsity starting role and play at his level, as a coaching staff, we are proud.”
He also noted the effort that Bishop Duffield made in the game, especially getting the offensive rebound and trying to battle through bodies in an effort for a buzzer shot at the end of overtime. “Bishop is phenomenal. He is averaging about eight and six on the year. For a freshman, we just couldn’t be any happier with him.”
Caleb Duffield trying to get off a last second shot is something Walker is very comfortable with. “I am okay with Caleb having the ball in his hands at the end of the game, he said, praising his senior guard. “He is amazing. He is one of the better basketball players, if not the best, I have ever coached.”