Hettinger-Scranton Girls BB
Hettinger-Scranton enjoyed last year's trip to the Class B Girls State Basketball tournament so much that they decided to do it again.
Winning the Region Seven title means the Night Hawks get to make the 400-mile journey to Grand Forks again this week.
Hettinger-Scranton beat top seeded Beach to qualify for state.
The Night Hawks have a different type of team this time around because they graduated some height.
"We kind of started out our season a little slow. We lost a couple of games we didn't really expect to lose but more than anything they were key turning points in our season to make us even more motivate to make us want to do better to get back to where we were," said Carolyn Schultz, Hettinger-Scranton guard. "Obviously we had a lot of pressure on us from last year, but we used that pressure in a good way to make us even more motivate to get back to the Betty."
Hettinger-Scranton guard Quinn Mellmer said: "We are definitely peaking at the right time. We try to focus on running againt the other teams. We trust that our conditioning is better that the other teams that we go against so our transition game is usually pretty good because usually it's Alyssa (Andress) running back and Sam (Oase) can make those passes to Alyssa on the run and we just trust that our conditioning is better than the teams that we go against."
The Night Hawks said they have had to adjust some signals from verbal to hand because the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center is such a loud place to play.
"The atmosphere in that gym is so crazy so I think it'll be good going back and knowing what to expect from the crowd and just using that to our advantage to get excited an bring energy to our game," said Alyssa Andress, Hettinger-Scranton guard.
Hettinger-Scranton guard Bailey Pierce added: "Last year at the state tournament we had some trouble right away hearing what plays were being called out because it was so loud in there. The atmosphere was so good so this year we have things planned out where we can concur that with confidence and our calmness level should be down because we have that extra level of experience from being there."
Samantha Oase, Hettinger-Scranton Forward, "We're just really excited to go back to the Betty and just to be in that environment again with our fan base it was a lot of fun because we have the best fans out there and that's a fact. Just playing in the Betty we thought it would be a one-time experience for us but going back it just shows how much we've buckled down this season and improved to get back there," said Samantha Oase, Hettinger-Scranton forward.
"Our transition game is really what gets us going on the offensive end and it all starts with making sure we secure the defensive rebound," said Hettinger-Scranton Head Coach Kelly Pierce. "When we rebound well, we usually play well because you can get out in transition and create those open shots, play free and easy so really our transition game is in direct correlation to making sure we get defensive stops and defensive rebounds."
Five of the eight region champions are seeded with the other three part of a blind draw.
Hettinger-Scranton was drawn to play number-1 seed Langdon-Edmore-Munich in the first round.
"They're a very good basketball team but all eight teams up there are good teams.The biggest thing is we need to not get caught up into what they do and really focus on what we do well and making sure we continue to do those things. Sometimes if you focus on your opponent a little to much you don't be yourself. For us to play our best basketball we have to do the little things that made us successful to this point," said Pierce.
The Night Hawks are schedule to play at 5:30MT/6:30CT on Thursday.