Fans who headed to the Barnett Center on the NSU campus in Aberdeen were not disappointed Tuesday night. They will be back next week to watch their Potter County Battlers play in the State B tournament after a 22-0 year.
The Sully Buttes Chargers drew first blood during the Region 3B Championship game when they dropped a point from the free throw line, but it wasn’t long before the Battlers put in a two point lay up, taking the lead and pretty much holding on to it for the rest of the game.
In a fast paced, low scoring eight minutes, the first quarter of play ended with the Battlers on top 11-5. Dressed in their big red home team jerseys, the red hot Battlers put together some aggressive drives and racked up the points. The Chargers came to life and scored seven in a row, pulling within three points for a few brief seconds.
The teams went into the locker rooms at the half with the Battlers on top, 22-14.
Potter County hit the floor running and steaked through the third quarter. Eight minutes later they went into the final quarter with a 20 point lead with 43 points on the Battler side of the board.
Into the fourth quarter, the Chargers put up some points and tightened the lead. The Chargers, who seemed like they couldn’t miss a free throw, pulled it down to a nine point lead for the Battlers. The Chargers’ momentum exploded, putting them within seven points. The Battlers went to the charity stripe and missed, then three layups came up short, and another turnover. The score turned to 46-37. The Battlers put up only one point during the first half of the fourth quarter, and free throws were a struggle for the men in red. They had six turnovers in the fourth quarter with under two minutes to play.
They finally started to take their time, slowing down and playing good keep away. With less than a minute to play, the Battlers had the ball with a full court press from the Chargers and only a six point lead. The undefeated Potter County Battlers brought an end to the eight straight State B appearances for the Sully Buttes Chargers with a score of 50-43.
However, the Battlers were sent to the free throw line 20 times in the fourth quarter, and shot horrifically with only seven points made. The Chargers outscored Potter County 20 to seven in fourth quarter, but the 20 point lead saved the men in red. Potter County had only nine for 26 free throws in the game.
Despite that, they are going to the State B tournament next week. The Battlers will face South Central at 1:45 on Thurday, March 15.