Posted 2/22/12 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
After falling behind the Divide County Maroons by 12 points, 39-27, with just over three minutes left in the third quarter of opening round action of the Region 8 Boys Basketball Tournament on Monday evening, Watford City very nearly pulled off a big come-from-behind win.
But missed free throw opportunities down the stretch proved to be costly for the Wolves as Watford City only hit the front end three times on four bonus free throw opportunities going down the stretch.
Divide County controlled the first half of the game outscoring the Wolves 18-14 and 13-10 in the first two stanzas to hold a 31-24 halftime lead and held a seemingly comfortable 12-point lead in the third quarter before the Wolves began to chip away.
Cole Rolfsrud, who came off the bench late in the third quarter when Shawn Fulwider picked up his fourth foul, cut the Maroons’ lead to eight points, 39-31. Tyler Bates then drew Watford City to a 40-34 deficit as he knocked down the front end of three bonus free throw attempts in the final two minutes of the quarter.
Divide County responded to Watford City’s challenge to up their lead to 48-38. But a three-pointer by Mitchell Liebel and two unanswered baskets by Bates and one by Fulwider had the Wolves right back in the game as the Wolves trailed the Maroons by one point, 48-47, with 1:55 left in the game.
Divide County would get back on the scoreboard after a three-minute scoring drought with a three-pointer to go back up by four points.
Watford City rallied again as Bates scored on a layup and then Fulwider would tie the game at 51-51 with 44 seconds left in the game.
Divide County again answered the Wolves’ challenge as Taylor Wigginton hit a three-pointer and a free throw to put the Maroons up by four points, 55-51, with 12.2 seconds left.
Liebel again breathed life into the Wolves’ comeback drive as he drained another three-pointer to get Watford City back to a one-point deficit, 55-54, with five seconds left.
But that is where the Wolves’ comeback attempt would end as time expired on the clock before Watford City had a chance for a final shot.
Tyler Bates and Shawn Fulwider led the Wolves in scoring as they netted 17 points each.
Also scoring for Watford City was Cole Rolfsrud with seven points, Mitchell Liebel with six points, Lucas Nicholson with four points and Dustin Kleppen with three points.
For the game, the Wolves were good on three of 12 from three-point land and ended the game hitting on 20 of 55 attempts from the field. At the free-throw line, Watford City hit on 11 of 19 attempts.
Divide County held a 39-29 rebounding advantage over the Wolves, while the Maroons committed 19 turnovers to 11 by Watford City.
Divide County 18 31 40 55
Watford City 14 24 34 54