Success from outside the arc edges Benson County past North Star
There is the old saying in life, “It isn’t how you start but how you finish.” Depending on which team you were rooting for Monday night in Cando, you feel either good about that saying or bad. For the Bearcats, the start was exactly what they were looking for.
They would get out in transition and dominate Benson County in the post, forcing the Wildcats to take an early timeout. North Star would lead 20-10 after the first quarter.
The Bearcats continued to pour it on in the second forcing Wildcat turnover after turnover. Benson County would turn the ball over 20 times throughout the game. North Star would lead 26-10 with five minutes to go in the second quarter. First year Wildcats head coach Dustin Paulson would settle his team down and with a few timely 3's from senior Blayne Anderson, the North Star lead would dwindle to 32-29 at the half.
The 3-point barrage from Anderson would continue after the half. He would make six of his1 1 attempts during the game and lead the Wildcats in scoring with 26 points. The third quarter would be a back and forth affair between the two teams. Then, finally, Benson County would do what they had not done all game, take the lead 48-47 to end the third quarter.
North Star needed someone to step up and it came in the form of freshman Dane Hagler. He would score 12 of his 19 points in the second half and take on the challenge of guarding the hot-handed Anderson. Despite the gym being only at 25 percent capacity, the energy during the fourth quarter was electric throughout the crowd as they rode the wave of emotion. With the score tied at 55 with 2:30 seconds left the tension increased and each possession took on more weight.
Then with 45 seconds left and the game tied at 57, Benson County freshman Chas Bisbee would hit a 3-pointer and give Benson County a 60-57 lead. North Star would answer with a bucket of their own, forcing them to foul. Senior Cole Wentz would go to the line for the Bearcats and calmly knock down both free throws giving him 21 points for the game. The Bearcats would get up one final three to try to tie with 1.3 seconds left but it would not go. A late free throw would ice the game and give Benson County a 63-59 win to which Paulson would call, “Big.”
“We didn’t get out to the start we wanted but we sure finished strong. I am proud of our guys, how they settled down and rallied," Paulson said. "We had a great night from our seniors Blayne Anderson and Cole Wentz. Those guys really led the way for us.”
“We have had two really close games so far this season," Bearcats head coach Jesse Vote said. "Playing in these tight games is good for us. We need that experience. Now, we just have to find a way to pull them out.”
North Star (0-2) will hit the road on Dec. 19 to take on Cavalier. Benson County will head to Carrington on Dec. 19 for their next game.
Benson County vs. North Star stats
BC - 10, 19, 19, 15 - 63
NS - 20, 12, 15, 12 - 59
Benson County scoring:
Blayne Anderson - 26
Cole Wentz - 21
Chas Bisbee - 7
John Fischer - 3
Macyn Olson - 3
Carson Tracy - 3
North Star scoring:
Dane Hagler - 19
Caleb Svir - 12
Tommy Nikolaisen - 9
Hayden Hagler - 8
Ben Wagenman - 5
Parker Simon - 4
Karsen Simon - 2