Big-time rivals collide for championship
By Jarann Johnson
The Hazen Bison and Beulah Miners usually play for bragging rights when it comes to local sporting events, but this time the stakes were higher. Not only was earning a rival’s utmost respect a major factor in this meeting but there was another bigger and more important factor –a spot in the Class B state tournament for the winner.
Both teams earned each other’s respect last Thursday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center in Dickinson. But only one – the Beulah Miners – could walk away as champions. The Miners topped Hazen 60-53.
Early on, the game started slow and points were hard to come by. Jett Hettich, Beulah junior starting point guard, scored a layup. Hazen responded with a 3-pointer by Josh Erhardt, a senior starting guard, putting Hazen up 3-2.
The only other score in the first five minutes of the period was a Randi Julson, senior forward, score that put Beulah up 4-3. Other than that, points were hard to earn. But then the teams took off offensively.
Hazen took a four-point lead after two Wyatt Carr, freshman reserve forward, tip-ins. But the Miners responded with a Casey Walcker, sophomore starting forward, 3-pointer and cut Hazen’s lead back to one point.
The Bison responded with a Kyle Lindquist three-point play, but the senior missed the point-after free throw, making the score 14-12. The Miners responded with another 3-pointer – this time by Hettich – tying the game 14-14. The missed free throw by Lindquist wouldn’t be the last for Hazen and was one of Hazen’s main struggles in the game. Hazen was 3 of 8 in the first half and 14 of 26 for the game.