Whoever said basketball is a game of runs, could never be proven more accurate. The Hazen boys fell behind by double-digits in the early going, only to scrap their way back to a gutsy 62-57 home Region 7 win last Friday night over the Bowman County Bulldogs. Momentum doesn't shift by accident, Hazen head coach Randy Johnson said, but instead must be created.
Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall, Clay Brinkman has a hard time going unnoticed anywhere. And with his sluggish demeanor and easygoing personality, the Hazen senior is one of the more unique characters on the Bison roster. Overshadowed by his teammate's accomplishments so far this season, Brinkman peaked at just the right time this past week making sure the teams facing the Herd know not to overlook him. The Bison post had 39 points, 15 rebounds and six steals in two games, adding key elements in Hazen's pair of wins.
For most teams, the preseason ended in late November. However, for the Hazen-Beulah girls' hockey team, practices still have that feel to it. Though the Novas' regular season started Nov. 25, they haven't played a game in almost a month.
The Center-Stanton Wildcats home opener Dec. 16 was a barn burner. The Hazen Bison went on the road ranked in the state poll and with a history of beating the Wildcats. But the Center-Stanton boys' basketball team pulled off the win 58-52. "This the first time we've beaten Hazen in the three years I've been coaching at Center," C-S head coach Scott Jung said. Although on the losing end, it certainly wasn't due to lack of effort by the Bison boys. They grabbed the opening tip, but could only muster one free throw in the first three minutes. The Wildcats didn't score at all until Michael Henke canned a two-pointer almost half way through the quarter. With two minutes left, the Bison got ahead for the last time in the game 8-6 with a 3-pointer by Michael Grimm. Center-Stanton's Shae Brown tied it with 30 seconds on the clock. Then, Brown put the Cats ahead at the end of the quarter 10-8. "We shot about 29 percent and when that happens it tends to cause some frustration because we had some really open looks," Hazen head coach Randy Johnson said. "They did put a chaser on Chad (Marshall) and really we ended up not executing offensively and got into a rush at times." Hazen tied the score immediately to start the second quarter, but the Wildcats' Tyler Price scored the next basket to make it 12-10.
That is the best way to describe the game plan of the 3-0 Bison girls' basketball team after their first holiday tournament action last weekend. Intense offense, intense defense, intense all around play. And first-year head coach Leland Opp wouldn't have had it any other way as the Bison traveled to the Hoopster Shootout at the Bismarck Civic Center last Friday.
Last week it was senior Riley Olson who was the North Stars unstoppable force. But come last Thursday's opening West Region game at Dickinson, Hazen-Beulah junior Conor Borud was the immovable object. His hat trick forced the game into overtime, where Dickinson earned their first victory at 4-3. "It's kind of nice for the two of them (Olson and Borud) to have good games like that but we can't rely on just those two," North Stars head coach Mark Schmitt said.
The Miner Wrestlers started out their season traveling to Minot for a triangular against the Bishop Ryan Lions and the Harvey Hornets last week. After the Harvey-Ryan dual, the night began with the Miners taking on the Hornets. Seventh-grader Alex Krebs started off the evening for the Miners in an exhibition match. Krebs pinned the Harvey competitor in 38 seconds.
Some players are quiet leaders. Some players are vocal. And then some players bring the smiles to the timeouts. Macall Wimer is more the latter. The Hazen senior knows there's a time to be serious but volleyball should be fun too.