Wolves fall to New Town in overtime of Region 8 title game
By Neal A. Shipman
After cruising to an easy 56-38 win over the Trinity Christian Crusaders in the Region 8 semifinals last Tuesday, the Watford City Wolves fell to the New Town Eagles, 78-74, in overtime to see their 2011 season come to an end.
Watford City finished the season with an 18-5 season record with four of their losses being to New Town.
Region 8 Championship
New Town 78, Watford City 74 (OT)
After having fallen to New Town twice in regular season play, and once again in the District 15 title game, the Watford City varsity boys basketball team was hoping that the fourth time they took on the Eagles would be the charm. But, as in their three previous meetings, the Wolves once again came up on the short side of the scoreboard, falling to the Eagles, 78-74, in overtime for the Region 8 title and the chance to advance to the State Class B Basketball Tournament.
The Wolves found themselves trailing the Eagles 18-12 at the end of the first quarter of play. But Watford City would battle back in the second quarter to set the stage for a regional championship game that will be remembered for years.
Watford City guards, Trey Jacobson and Nick Liebel, turned in their best games of the season as they combined for 44 of the Wolves’ 74 points. Jacobson had a game high 26 points, including four three-pointers, while Liebel ended the game with 18 points, including three three-pointers.
Liebel would cut the Eagles’ lead to 18-17 when he canned a three-pointer with 7:20 left in the second quarter. And then, Jacobson would deadlock the score at 20-20 on a three-pointer before scoring again just 14 seconds later to put Watford City up 22-20.
After an exchange of baskets to wrap up the first half, New Town held a three-point, 29-26 lead over the Wolves.
The Wolves got off to a sluggish start to open the third quarter with the Eagles leading by as much as eight points twice in the stanza. Liebel would cut the Wolves’ deficit to six points, 48-42, as he drained a shot at the buzzer.
Watford City went on a nine-point scoring spree to open the fourth quarter which led to a 53-52 Watford City lead with 4:53 left in regulation. Liebel began the scoring run on a quick basket to open the quarter followed by a Jacobson three-pointer. Curtis Lohse then stole an inbound pass and scored to cut New Town’s lead to 52-49. Tyler Flatland and Jacobson then each added a free throw to the mix before Shawn Fulwider capped off the scoring drive putting back a rebound to give the Wolves their first lead in the second half, 53-52.
But that would be the last time that Watford City would lead, as the Eagles would go on a 7-0 scoring spree of their own to hold a 59-53 lead with 1:15 left in regulation play.
The Wolves would battle back on three-pointers by Lohse and Liebel to draw to within 2 points, 61-59, with 50 seconds left on the clock.
But with 31 seconds left in regulation, Jacobson picked up his fifth foul and New Town’s Mike Young Bird would can a pair of free throws to up the Eagles’ lead to four points, 63-59.
But, once again, the Wolves answered the challenge as Liebel went coast-to-coast for a layup to get back to a two-point deficit, 63-61, with 26 seconds left. Lohse then canned a free throw to draw within one point, 63-62, with 14.9 seconds left.
Young Bird would then up New Town’s lead to 64-62 on a free throw following Lohse’s fifth foul with 12.1 seconds left.
Liebel would then send the game into overtime as he drove upcourt and scored with 2.4 seconds left in regulation.
In overtime, Young Bird would hit a pair of free throws following Fulwider’s fifth foul to put the Eagles up by two, but a three-pointer by Tyler Bates would give Watford City a 67-66 lead with 3:19 left.
But solid free-throw shooting down the stretch proved to be the key for New Town as they picked up a hard-fought win.
Rounding out the scoring for Watford City was Curtis Lohse with 11 points, Tyler Flatland with 10 points, Shawn Fulwider with four points, Tyler Bates with three points and Jason Shipman with two points.
For the game, the Wolves were good on 27 of 68 attempts from the field for 40 percent and were good on 10 of 22 from three-point land. At the free-throw line, the Wolves shot 46 percent, hitting on 10 of 22 attempts.
New Town 18 29 48 64 78
Watford City 12 26 42 64 74
Region 8 Semifinals
Watford City 56, Trinity Christian 38
Watford City cruised to the Region 8 title game with an easy 56-38 win over the Trinity Christian Crusaders in Tuesday’s semifinal game of the Region 8 Tournament.
After leading the Crusaders, 27-26, at halftime, Watford City opened up a third quarter lead, and then blew the game wide open in the fourth quarter outscoring Trinity Christian, 14-2, in the final eight minutes to take the win.
Watford City had three players score in double figures in the win with Trey Jacobson pacing the Wolves with 20 points, while Shawn Fulwider and Nick Liebel netted 12 and 10 points, respectively, in the win.
Rounding out the scoring for Watford City was Tyler Flatland with six points, Tyler Bates with four points, while Sterling Ross and Curtis Lohse netted two points each.
For the game, the Wolves were good on 25 of 59 attempts from the field for 42 percent, and were good on three of 12 from three-point land. At the free-throw line, the Wolves shot 38 percent, hitting on three of eight attempts.
Watford City 15 27 42 56
Trinity Christ. 13 26 36 38