December 16, 2015

Boys open season; girls win close game

By Jarann Johnson

The Hazen Bison started their season last week with a 1-1 showing. Friday night they headed to Minot for a game with Bishop Ryan, and Saturday evening they came home for a game against Watford City.
The season opener was a bit of a let down, and Hazen suffered a 74-49 loss. The Bison quickly got over their loss with a blowout 71-51 win over Watford City.
The game started out competitive. As most expected, junior forward Wyatt Carr scored then the Bison offense turned into a dangerous machine. Logan Sailer got a bucket lifting Hazen to a 4-0 lead. Watford City settled down and scored, making Hazen’s lead 4-2 with about 5 minutes and 30 seconds left in the first period.
Senior guard Chase Bruner came alive at this point, collecting two steals and deleting four passes. During Bruner’s defensive dominance Hazen went on a 6-0 run to grab a 10-2 lead and forced a timeout.
After the timeout Watford City still struggled to score, only grabbing four points the rest of the quarter. Hazen was playing extremely well and the quarter ended in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by senior guard Mason Faut, giving Hazen a 23-7 first-quarter lead.
Hazen didn’t look back after the opening frame and went into the halftime break with a 42-16 lead. Hazen didn’t let their lead slip away and won 71-51. Carr led all scorers with 34 points, and Bruner added 14 points as the only other Bison to reach double figures during the game.
After the game Hazen Head Coach Ben Nelson talked about his team’s season-opening loss to Bishop Ryan, crediting the loss to an off night shooting and lack of experience.
“We have a lot of guys that are just inexperienced. So, it was the first varsity game of the season against an athletic team, and they shot the ball. They moved the ball well, it wasn’t one guy. It was just a tough matchup for us the first night,” Nelson said.
“We came out  – we got frustrated and got down. That happens. We had a bad shooting night ourselves, particularly from three. It looked worse than it was; we cut it to three just before half. We were only down at five, it wasn’t as bad as the score indicated. I mean, Bishop Ryan is good team and they are going to be tough in their region, especially if they keep shooting that way.”
Nelson liked what he saw in the second game defensively and how the team moved the ball.
“Our defense was the catalyst. Chase Bruner does a nice job, especially off the ball reading guys on that pass. If you try to skip a pass by him, it’s almost always going to get picked off or knocked away. That’s a great start for us.”

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