Hatton-Northwood gets revenge on Cavalier with Region 2 quarterfinal win
The Thunder double their point total from January's contest, take 69-56 win.
GRAND FORKS – A responsible backcourt from Hatton-Northwood led to points off turnovers and eventually a revenge win against Cavalier in the Region 2 quarterfinals from the Betty on Monday.
After only scoring 32 points in a loss to the Tornadoes earlier in the season, they doubled that output and some more in a 69-56 win.
A 10-0 run early out in the first quarter put the Thunder ahead 16-9 as guards Amara Howson and Mackenna Gader set the tone for a productive evening.
Each knocked down a shot from beyond the arc, with sophomore forward Kennison Azure adding one as well. The two combined for 39 points on the night, with Howson reaching 19 and Azure just eclipsing that with 20.
“We needed them to step up big like that. Create that pressure. Be little pains defensively and then knocking down those shots from the outside certainly helps,” Hatton-Northwood head coach Tony Evenstad said.
Throughout the night the Tornadoes kept things within in reach, thanks in large part to 22 points from Rylen Burgess. She got into a 3-point contest with the Thunder in the second quarter to give the Tornadoes one of their only leads at 26-24 when she hit back-to-back threes.
Azure responded with one of her own to put the Thunder back in front and on track to lead the rest of the way through.
“We all just came out strong after that. This game has a lot of meaning to us and we all wanted it and it showed,” Howson said.
The backbreaker for the Tornadoes came at the foul line. In the second half Hatton was 11/18 at the line.
“When we are at the free throw line we’re pretty confident. We were a little shaky with it right away, but they settled down and got better at the end when we needed them,” Evenstad said.
Howson really started to shine in the second half, as well. After a couple of deep field goals in the first half, she hit all four foul shots and added seven more from the field. Her second-half three put the Thunder out ahead 48-42 and set up a deficit Cavalier would not come back from.
Also helping was a steal-and-score fastbreak where Estella Sehrt set up Howson heading into the final quarter.
“It was a big game for Amara to have at the right time,” Evenstad said. “She certainly stuck out, but between her and Gader it was a hard choice to say who stuck out more.”
Turnovers and rebounds continued to spark the offense for the Thunder in the final quarter as they pushed the Tornadoes to the brink. The final hammer was perhaps the most impressive play of the game, when the sophomore Azure completed a set play following a Cavalier timeout, and added a foul shot for a three-point play.
“Everything sort of clicked today. Everyone worked together and did their best on both ends of the court,” Azure said. “It’s not just me, it is all of us together as a team. I feel like walking out there we showed what we can do. I’m so proud, I’m just speechless.”
Hatton-Northwood now takes on Thompson in the semifinals and is looking to build off the confidence created in the quarterfinals.
“Cavalier, they smacked us by 30 earlier this year, so building confidence in this game and going after the next one. We know Thompson is a tough task, they always are, and they are kind of what you want to be for Region 2 basketball. We’ll enjoy this one for about an hour and then start thinking about Thompson,” said Evenstad.
CAV 9 21 16 10 56
HNW 14 18 21 16 69
HNW – Makenna Gader 17, Amara Howson 19, Kennison Azure 20, Elizabeth Pinke 9, Chloe Bilden 2, Trista Bilden 2
CAV – Graessen Helgoe 1, Rylen Burgess 22, Jade Kihne 18, Gracee Thorlakson 2, Eden Carrier 13