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Rugby defeats Benson County

By Staff | Feb 27, 2015

The last words of Benson County Wildcats Boys Basketball coach Scott Lindgren’s pep talk were an apt description of their first half against the No. 2 Rugby Panthers on Feb. 21.

“This is just like boxing,” he said. “We gotta throw the first punch.”

The Wildcats went on a 7-2 tear that kept them ahead of the No. 2 Panthers for the first quarter, taking advantage of an unsuspecting Rugby squad. The Panthers shot 21-47 during the game and missed all four three-point attempts.

“We had a lack of patience,” Rugby head coach Mike Santjer said. “Played undisciplined basketball and gambled on defense. There wasn’t much focus on the defensive end. We have to get better starting out.”

But the Panthers, led by senior Brad Heidlebaugh – who had a career night – roared back and took control for the rest of the game. Heidlebaugh put up 25 points, second highest total on the season, and 10 rebounds. Senior Zach Miller added 15 points to Rugby’s total. Benson County was led by senior Blake Buckmier with 9 points and senior Dagan Arendt with 7 points.

Points were concentrated at the top of the depth chart with Rugby’s bench scoring 8 and Benson County’s scoring 4.

“They don’t get frustrated,” Lindgren said. “They made their run that won the game. Good program, very solid and athletic. We’d want to bring that here.”

Stats on both teams weren’t high. Steals were at a minimum for both teams, Panthers had 12 and Wildcats with 6. Benson County had 15 personal fouls and Rugby had 11. Both teams had over 20 rebounds. Turnovers, though, played a larger factor than others. The Wildcats couldn’t hold on to the ball and, as a result, had twice has many turnovers as the Panthers. Benson County had 18 while Rugby had 9.

Rugby, who holds a 16-2 record, ended the regular season on a win and play their first game in the District 11 tournament tonight at the Charlie Hanneman Gymnasium as the No. 1 seed.

Benson County finishes the season 8-11 and enters a tough District 7 tournament as the No. 4 seed against Lakota/Edmore at the Devils Lake Sports Center.

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