Visiting Hettinger-Scranton got shell-shocked Tuesday in Solberg gym.
Using a pressure defense which forced repeated turnovers in the opening minutes, the Bowman County Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 76-33 win over the Night Hawks.
The victory improved the Bulldogs' record to 6-3 in Region 7 and 13-5 for the season before Thursday's contest against Beach (3-5, 7-11) in Solberg gym.
Thursday's contest will be the final home game of the regular season for the Bulldogs. The Bowman County squad will close out the regional play Feb. 26 when they travel to play Heart River (6-4, 11-7) before the regional playoffs begin in March.
As of Wednesday, Beulah remained undefeated with a 10-0 record (14-4 overall), just ahead of Dickinson Trinity (7-2, 16-3).
Hazen is in third place in the regional standings (7-3, 12-6), one-half game ahead of the Bulldogs in the standings.
Heart River is tied at fifth with Glen Ullin/Hebron, both at 6-4 in regional play.
The loss dropped Hettinger-Scranton to 3-6 (5-11 for the season). The Night Hawks close out the regular season Thursday with a home battle with Mott-Regent at 7 p.m. in Scranton.
The Bulldogs opened fast with baskets by Clay Heimer, Caleb Duffield and Brady Senn giving the hosts a 6-0 lead before Bradee Clapper gave the Night Hawks their first points of the night.
Back-to-back baskets by freshman Bishop Duffield made it a 10-2 lead before Hettinger-Scranton got two free throws from Joey Perkins to cut the lead to 10-4.
Then the hosts went on a 16-2 run to take a 26-6 lead after one quarter.
The visitors actually outscored the Bulldogs in the second quarter, but the 9-8 edge only cut the lead to 34-15 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Bulldogs pounced again, running up 28 points, while the Night Hawks added another six – leaving the difference at 62-21 by the end of the quarter.
With most of the Bowman County starters sitting the final quarter, the Night Hawks scored 12 points to
finish with 33 points for the evening.
Ryder Sanford finished with eight points for the Night Hawks, while Jeran Anderson had seven.
On the Bulldogs side, it was a triple-dose of Duffield which dismantled the visitors.
Senior Caleb Duffield finished his time on the court with 22 points, while freshmen Bishop Duffield and Bohden Duffield ended up with 13 and 12 points respectively. Senn scored nine points. Clay Heimer, Gavin Scott and Carson Massey each scored six points. Teigen Marmon had two points.
According to coach Nick Walker, all of the Duffields played well against the Night Hawks. “On a night like tonight when we don't shoot as well as we normally do, we were able to rely on our defense.
“One of the biggest keys was our bench. With Bishop and Bohden coming off the bench... and Barrett Walby gave us good minutes coming off the bench. Sam Andrews gave us some good minutes on the defensive end,” the coach added. “We are a team that can go 10 or 11 guys deep and that is important as we get down the stretch.”