Wolves open cage season with a pair of wins
By Neal A. Shipman
Watford City opened its 2011-2012 boys basketball season in a strong fashion as the Wolves picked up wins over Williston Trinity Christian and Minot Bishop Ryan while losing to Heart River this past week.
This week, the Wolves, who are 2-1 on the season, will travel to New Town for a key District 15 game on Thursday and then close out the week’s schedule hosting North Shore-Plaza/White Shield on Monday, Dec. 12.
Watford City 56, Trinity Christian 55
In a game in which neither team could ever develop a sustained offensive drive, Watford City was able to pull out a 56-55 win.
Watford City led most of the game with the Wolves leading the Crusaders, 16-9, at the end of the first quarter and held a 28-26 halftime lead.
The Wolves would outscore Trinity Christian, 16-10, in the third quarter on some solid outside shooting to up their lead to 44-36 going into the fourth quarter. But the Crusaders would battle back to take a two-point lead with under three minutes to play.
But Shawn Fulwider, who ended the game with 13 points, put Watford City on top for good as he converted on a basket and then added a free throw for an “old-fashioned” three-point play.
Also in double digit scoring for Watford City was Lucas Nicholson and Brice Brenno with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Rounding out the scoring for Watford City was Tyler Bates with nine points, Reid Brown with five points, Cole Rolfsrud with four points and Mitchell Liebel with two points.
Watford City 16 28 44 56
Trinity Christian 9 26 36 55
Heart River 52, Watford City 39
While the weather outside was a balmy 20 degrees, inside the Heart River Cougars’ gymnasium, Watford City would have thought the temperature was well below freezing as the Wolves’ shooting was ice cold.
“We knew, with our young team, we were going to have one of those games when our outside shooting was going to be off,” stated Randy Cranston, Wolves’ head coach. “They packed the middle and gave us the outside shot. We just couldn’t hit anything.”
And with nothing falling from the outside, Watford City’s offense sputtered.
“Poor shooting and being outworked are words to best describe this game,” stated Cranston. “We had a hard time doing anything right. Heart River outplayed us in every aspect of the game.”
The Cougars, who led the Wolves 13-8 at the end of the first quarter and by 12 points at halftime, handed Watford City its first loss of the season.
Lucas Nicholson and Shawn Fulwider led the Wolves in scoring with 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Brice Brenno netted eight points.
Also scoring for Watford City was Reid Brown with four points and Tyler Bates with two points.
Heart River 13 26 36 52
Watford City 8 14 23 39
Watford City 62, Bishop Ryan 44
At 6’5” Watford City’s Shawn Fulwider can definitely make his presence known inside the paint. And he proved that on Saturday as he completely dominated the inside game scoring a game-high 20 points to lead the Wolves to a 62-44 win over the Bishop Ryan Lions.
While Fulwider made his presence known on the inside, Tyler Bates took care of the outside shooting for the Wolves as he ended the game with 19 points.
And Randy Cranston, Wolves’ head coach was pleased to see a turn- around in his team’s efforts.
“The boys responded well after playing a tough game on Thursday,” states Cranston. “Getting the ball inside early and often made for a great shooting night. We took good care of the ball and played excellent defense. We were a totally different team from Thursday to Saturday.”
The Wolves led the Lions, 19-13, at the end of the first quarter and then exploded for 17 points in the second quarter to take a commanding 36-18 lead into the lockers at halftime. Watford City would continue to dominate the scoring in the second half, outscoring Bishop Ryan, 21-9, in the third quarter.
Rounding out the scoring for Watford City was Dustin Kleppen with eight points, Reid Brown and Mitchell Liebel with four points each, and Lucas Nicholson and Cole Rolfsrud with two points.
Watford City 19 36 47 62
Bishop Ryan 13 18 27 44