Henson plays role of hero for Fisher

Henson plays role of hero for Fisher

BISMARCK — With his team trailing 64-63 and 18.9 seconds left, Cody Diskin didn't try re-inventing the wheel in drawing up a final play.

Instead, the Fisher boys' basketball coach instructed his players to run their normal press break against Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin's 1-2-2 zone pressure. But nothing went as planned during the final moments of a BSN Classic matchup Thursday, when the Bunnies faced their first deficit of the game.

During a wild, jam-packed final minute of action, BHRA guard Drew Reifsteck went on a personal 6-0 run — the final points coming off two go-ahead free throws with less than 20 ticks to play — to put the Blue Devils ahead by one point. Diskin then called a timeout to set up a full-court inbounds play.

Bunnies senior guard Jaden Jones-Watkins hauled in a pass from Brandon Henson and drove up the left side of the court, dribbling all the way to the baseline before tossing up a spinning, off-balance shot. The errant attempt was twice tipped up in the air before Henson finally corralled it and softly laid in a game-winning putback bucket with 7.3 seconds remaining.

The Blue Devils got a wide-open baseline jumper from Hunter Keith for a potential buzzer-beating game-winner, but the shot was long and the Bunnies held on for a 65-64 win.

"I was supposed to get the ball coming down the court, and I was going to look to create something and get into the paint for a pull-up or whatever," Jones-Watkins said of his team's final offensive play. "I probably shot it a little bit too soon, but it ended up working out."

The Bunnies (8-6) did a good job taking care of the ball until committing two turnovers in the final minute, and they struggled from the free-throw line (3 of 11), helping lead to the final frenzy.

With the Blue Devils deploying their press and dropping back into that same defense in the half-court for most of the game, Fisher countered by inserting 6-foot-1 guard Ryan Meents into the middle of the lane.

The senior was thrust into a similar big-man role against a 2-3 zone in a Dec. 8 win over Blue Ridge, and he poured in a game-high 32 points in that matchup.

Meents was efficient in that spot versus BHRA, tallying 23 points that included the Bunnies' first 12 of the second half to open up a 46-38 lead with less than three minutes to play in the third quarter.

"Ryan's really good at working that paint, and he's got good shooters to kick to," said Jones-Watkins, who finished with 19 points. "It's good we got them out of that (zone) early because I don't think they matched up with us that well. We're a pretty quick team, and we had the height advantage for the first time (all year)."

"With Ryan in the middle, we feel like we have more of a scoring threat," Diskin added. "He does a good job attacking the basket and getting the ball to our shooters outside as well. ... For once, we were the bigger team. We struggle against good-sized teams. We matched up well with them and took advantage on the boards."

Reifsteck tallied 23 points, and Wyatt Edwards finished with 19 for the Blue Devils.

Watseka 53, Indiana Math & Science 25. Blake Castonguay came up with 18 points to lift the Warriors past their out-of-state opponent. Brendan Fletcher tabbed another 10 points for Watseka.

Fisher 60, North Vermillion (Ind.) 56. The Bunnies will vie for fifth place after knocking off their out-of-state enemy. They slid out of the third-place game based on a free-throw percentage tiebreaker. Meents piled up 21 points for Fisher, while Jones-Watkins tallied 19.

Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin 56, Watseka 55. The Blue Devils (9-4) collected a position in the title game thanks to 21 points from Reifsteck, 15 from Jared Dazey and 13 from Edwards. The Warriors (9-4) moved on to the third-place bout despite 15 points from Castonguay, 11 from Fletcher and 10 from Drew Hagen.

Judah Christian 69, Lexington 62. The Tribe escaped thanks to a 28-point output from Cade Chitty, who hit 8 of 10 free throws. Judah also netted 12 points from Daniel Alston and 10 apiece from Philip Coulter and Connor Lash.

Villa Grove/Heritage 56, Georgetown-Ridge Farm 48. The Hawks collected a 37-19 scoring advantage in the second half to outlast the Buffaloes. Evan Wilson and Jared Stevens each came down with 13 points for the victors, and Stuart Wolf added 10. G-RF was paced by 18 points from Keegan Wills and 13 from Brody Cosat.

Salt Fork 60, Lexington 48. The Storm stayed hot behind a 30-point output from Payton Taylor. Other key contributors for Salt Fork were Brady McMasters with 12 points and Gavin Chew with 10.

Judah Christian 67, Georgetown-Ridge Farm 37. Alston poured in 22 points as the Tribe (9-1) qualified for the third-place tilt. Chitty added 17 points for Judah. The Buffaloes (1-13), who will compete for ninth place, received 10 points from Wills and nine from Cosat.

Salt Fork 56, Villa Grove/Heritage 52. Blaize Griffin zipped to 20 points for the Storm (11-2), who nabbed their seventh consecutive triumph and a spot in the championship game by topping the Hawks (5-9). Taylor added 15 points for Salt Fork, including 13 in the second half, while McMasters notched 10. Wilson's 16 points paced VG/H, which will vie for seventh place. Stevens and Wolf each compiled 14 points for the Hawks.

Warriors catch fire in win over Fisher girls

BISMARCK — The shooting prowess of the Watseka girls' basketball team was on full display Thursday in a 57-35 win over Fisher at the Blue Devil Classic.

The Warriors (16-0) splashed nine three-pointers, catching fire in the third quarter to turn what was a 25-19 lead at halftime into an easy 22-point victory.

After Fisher guard Daneigh Burk's jumper made the Bunnies' deficit 25-21 out of the break, Watseka exploded for an 18-0 run, which included two three-pointers by Mallory Drake and two three-point plays by Summer Cramer, the second of which came the old-fashioned way.

"In the third quarter, when they got hot, we tried to go man-to-man, but we couldn't stop them in man, either," Fisher coach Ken Ingold said. "They got three points the hard way, driving to the basket, and we fouled them. They're a real solid team. Very well-coached.

"(Watseka coach Barry Bauer) does a great job with them. They've got an inside game with (Kennedy Bauer), and they've got an outside game. Even their post players can step out and shoot the ball. They're an excellent team."

Cramer, the area's fourth-leading scorer at 18.7 points per game, poured in a game-high 18 points, including three triples. Drake scored 13 points, and Magan Harris tallied 11. The Bunnies (9-8) were led by Sidney Hood's 16 points.

"We're happy where we're at right now," Bauer said. "Beginning of the season, we really got off to a good start, and we haven't been complacent at all. We're still working on weaknesses."

North Vermillion (Ind.) 39, Cissna Park 36. Jasmine Stock put up 11 points for the Timberwolves, but it wasn't enough. Gabby Wessels added nine points, while Morgan Kaeb had eight for Cissna Park.

Watseka 55, Villa Grove/Heritage 38. Cramer's 14 points, as well as 12 apiece from Bauer and Kate Norder, lifted the Warriors by the Blue Devils and into the title game. Watseka connected on seven three-pointers in the game, and Emily Bunting corralled 10 rebounds. VG/H received 13 points from Kyleigh Block and nine from Emilee Coffin.

Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin 39, Benton (Ind.) Central 35. Emily Meidel scored nearly 70 percent of her team's points, potting 27 as the Blue Devils survived. Meidel scored 21 of those points in the second half.

Salt Fork 33, North Vermillion (Ind.) 30. Only four Storm athletes scored, but Madison Kirby's 14 points led the way to victory. Kayleigh Davis contributed eight points for Salt Fork, and Carsyn Todd had seven.

Villa Grove/Heritage 61, Westville 44. Block erupted for 24 points as the Blue Devils (6-10) skirted past the Tigers. Block's effort was aided by 14 points from Coffin and 12 from Jordyn Ray. Westville received 10 points from Tiffanie Elliott and nine from both Emily Jordan and Jasman Severado.

Benton (Ind.) Central 43, Cissna Park 27. The Timberwolves (10-6) hit just seven field goals on the game to offset 13-of-18 free-throw success. Wessels' 15 points and five rebounds paced Cissna Park.

Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin 44, Salt Fork 19. Meidel posted 12 points and Annie Nelson potted 11 as the Blue Devils (15-3) collected their seventh straight triumph and took a spot in the championship game. The Storm (8-8) was led by Kirby's nine points.

Westville 59, Fisher 55. The Tigers (9-9) used an 18-7 third-quarter scoring edge to tip the Bunnies. Karley Cox led Westville with 16 points, while Elliott snagged 15 and Severado added 13. Fisher's Becca Clanton led all producers with 19 points and was backed by Alivia Spenard's 15 points and Hood's 14.

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