Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
WEST BRANCH – Facing an arch rival on the road with a conference title on the line Masen Miller picked the wrong time to have a rare off night shooting.
The Regina senior picked the perfect time to snap out of his short slump on Wednesday evening.
Miller hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:54 left and made four straight free throws in the final 29 seconds as Regina held off West Branch 55-48 in a River Valley Conference South Division showdown in West Branch.
“Even if you miss one, shooters have to shoot it,” Miller said. “Even if you struggle you have to forget about the last one and go make plays and knock down shots.”
Miller scored 11 of his game-high 21 points in the final five minutes as Regina (16-2) won its 11th straight.
Regina took a game lead over West Branch (14-4, 14-3) in the RVC South Division standings and can clinch the title outright with a win at Anamosa on Thursday.
“That was one of them up there on the goal sheet was to win the conference,” Miller said. “After that loss to Cascade we talked about it and we said we don’t want to lose again we want to try to go win the conference and so far so good.”
Regina needed a late push on Wednesday to complete the season sweep of West Branch and keep its winning streak alive.
West Branch took a 28-25 halftime lead when Brett Schiele hit a step back 3-pointer off a behind the back feed from Beau Cornwell just before the halftime buzzer.
The Bears took their biggest lead of the game at 35-28 with 2:30 left in the third quarter on a Cornwell putback.
Regina responded with eight unanswered points to close the quarter to take a 36-35 lead.
We just have to be smarter down the stretch,” West Branch coach Jason Kern said. “Some of that is my fault, I probably should have called a couple of time outs and got us settled down when they went on a little run instead of waiting for the quarter to get over.
West Branch used a 7-0 run sparked by five quick points by Brady Lukavsky to take a 42-38 lead with under six minutes to play.
Regina pulled even at 42 on a miller layup with 4:55 left and after Ted Bridges hit one of two free throws Miller came up with the shot of the game, a triple from the left wing that put Regina on top 45-43 with 2:54 left.
“I know my teammates trust me to take those shots and even if I miss a few to keep letting it go,” Miller said. “I just had to put it out of my mind and make the next play.”
A 47 percent 3-point shooter on the season Miller struggled Wednesday going just 2-of-12 from beyond the arc and 4-of-19 from the field.
With the game on the line Miller was at his best.
He connected on two free throws with 29 seconds left to put the Regals up 52-48 and added two more with 1.8 left to clinch the game.
“He’s seen it all nothing is new to him,” Regina coach Jared Galpin said of Miller. “He isn’t going to panic if he misses a few shots and tonight he hit some big shots down the stretch when we needed him to.”
Regina shot just 35 percent and committed 18 turnovers but still found a way to win.
The Regals had 13 offensive rebounds and held a 41-25 rebounding edge and outscored West Branch 22 to 8 at the free throw line.
Sophomore Ashton Cook had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Bryce Barnett added nine points.
“We had some breakdowns here and there we had to overcome some adversity with turnovers,” Galpin said. “We had a lead and they took it back and down the stretch we were clutch getting stops and rebounds and making free throws.”
Beau Cornwell led West Branch with 15 points and nine rebounds. The senior guard had a chance to tie the game with under 20 seconds to play but his deep three was long.
Schiele finished with even points for the Bears.
“I knew it was going to be a competitive game it was a great environment, that is a tournament environment right there and hopefully it happens against at the substate.” Kern said. “We are going to learn from it and go back to the drawing board tomorrow and get ready to go.”
“That was our key coming into the game was to stop him and Cook and make the other guys try to beat us. He’s a great player and we were trying to trap and ball screens against him and if he was going to get it it was going to be hard. We were going to make him work for every basket he got. Unfortunately he got loose on that last possession and hit a big three.
West Branch (48) – Brett Schiele 2-6 2-4 7, Beau Cornwell 6-21 0-0 15, Trey Eagle 2-5 1-1 5, Brady Lukavsky 2-8 0-0 5, Zach Thompson 1-2 0-0 2, Matt Whaley 0-1 2-2 2, Ted Bridges 2-4 1-3 6, Thomas Gould 2-3 2-2 6, Totals 17-50 8-12 48.
Regina (55) – Bryce Barnett 2-4 4-5 9, Masen Miller 4-19 11-13 21, Scotty Arendt 2-3 0-0 5, Alec Wick 0-1 0-0 0, Ashton Cook 5-8 3-6 14, Patrick Clark 0-2 0-0 0, Jack Keller 0-0 1-2 1, Luke Stein 1-3 3-4 5, Totals 14-40 22-30 55.
3-point field goals – WB 6-21 (Cornwell 3-12, Schiele 1-3, Lukavsky 1-5, Bridges 1-1), ICR 5-20 (Miller 2-12, Barnett 1-2, Arendt 1-2, Cook 1-3, Stein 0-1). Rebounds – WB 25 (Cornwell 9), ICR 41 (Cook 10). Turnovers – WB 10, ICR 18. Total fouls – WB 19, ICR 13. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.
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