Huron’s Will Carr handles the ball on the perimeter against Rapid City Stevens’ Matt Minnick during their game in the consolation semifinals of the Class AA State Basketball Tournament on Friday at Sioux Falls Arena. In the next photo, Huron’s Caleb Carr drives to the basket against Brett Bennett of Rapid City Stevens during their game on Friday. PHOTOS BY MIKE CARROLL/PLAINSMAN
SIOUX FALLS – The Huron boys’ basketball team earned a shot at the consolation championship with a 37-32 victory against Rapid City Stevens on Friday at Sioux Falls Arena.
It was the second time this season the Tigers have been able to pull out a victory against the Raiders.
“We gut it out. Our kids showed some toughness today,” Huron coach Tim Buddenhagen said after Friday’s win. “It is easy to be tough when things are going well, but ‘Are you tough enough to handle some adversity and come back?’
“We weren’t hitting a lot of shots, but we played our heart out,” he said. “We go to the free-throw line and miss, it’s got to be disheartening. But to get back on the defensive end and hang our hat on the defensive side of the floor, that’s what we have to do tomorrow also.”
For the second game in a row, the Tigers struggled to put points on the board. However, they were able to put up enough to snag a lead, which they would never relinquish, in the opening quarter.
A 3-pointer by Hayden Busch kick started a 6-0 run to net Huron an 11-6 lead at the end of the first eight minutes of play.
The Tigers would score 13 unanswered points total from the end of the opening quarter to the beginning of the second quarter to build an 18-6 lead. Adam Zwanziger converted on a pair of free throws to cap the rally with 5:50 remaining in the opening half.
The Raiders would draw back to within seven points with back-to-back baskets, but Huron answered with field goals by Zwanziger and Busch to stretch its lead back into double figures.
The Tigers would carry a 22-13 lead into the half after Steven Schaeffer hit the final field goal of the half for the Raiders.
Huron shot nearly 43 percent, connecting on nine of 21 shots from the field in the opening half, but were just 1 of 7 from beyond the 3-point arc.
“We just have to find a way to get our guys from the outside to shoot a shot and to make one to get them a little confidence,” Buddenhagen said.
After a respectable first half of play, the offensive unit for the Tigers went missing in the third quarter.
The first five possessions for Huron ended in turnovers and a pair of missed free throws stretched the scoreless span deep into the eight-minute stanza. A free throw by Will Carr ended the scoring drought at the 2:37 mark and Justin Decker followed with a field goal on the next possession to account for all of Huron’s scoring in the third quarter.
Fortunately, the Tigers’ defensive unit was able to maintain its level of play at the start of the second half.
After scoring just six and seven points, respectively, in the opening two quarters, Stevens managed just eight points in the third quarter, allowing Huron to carry a 25-21 lead into the final quarter.
“We were a little bit tougher defensively,” Buddenhagen said. “We put Adam on Schaefer, because we thought Adam was a little longer and a senior who wants to get to the next round with a win. I thought he did an outstanding job today.”
The Raiders managed to pull to within a point on three occasions during the fourth quarter, but that would be as close as they would get.
Noonan drove into the paint and converted on a layup midway through the quarter and it seemed to spark the Tigers for the stretch run.
Following a field goal by Stevens, which cut Huron’s lead back to 33-32, Busch came up with a big offensive board and scored on the putback to put the Tigers ahead 35-32 with 1:22 to play.
A pair of missed free throws on the front end of bonus opportunities breathed life back into the Raiders, but they came up empty on the offensive end of the court during their next two possessions.
Decker was successful on a pair of shots from the charity stripe with 8.6 to play to secure the victory for Huron.
“JP’s layup was big late in the fourth quarter,” Buddenhagen said. “We just have to find a way to get these guys to relax now tomorrow. The monkey’s off our back to get to the consolation championship, now we have to find a way to win it.”
Decker finished with 12 points to lead the Tigers, who improved to 17-8. Zwanziger also reached double figures with 10 points and had a team-high 13 rebounds.
Schaefer, who averaged 19 points per game this season, was the lone player to reach double figures with 15 points for the Raiders (10-15). He also had a team-high seven rebounds.
“That was a key,” Buddenhagen said of his team’s defensive effort against the top two scorers from Stevens. “We told them we had to hold down (Brett) Bennett, which I think we did. He’s averaging 15 (scored just four points in Friday’s game, all coming in the second half) and Schaefer is averaging 19, so we held both of those guys down. We thought that was the key to the game, to make the other guys try to beat us.”
The Tigers will now face Brookings, which defeated Rapid City Central 73-61 on Friday, for the consolation championship at 1:45 p.m. today at Sioux Falls Arena.
“To put your uniforms away with a win is always something special. We have a chance to go 2-1 in the tournament, which is something special also,” Buddenhagen said. “We just have to try to find a way to get it done, and hopefully we can. I think the guys will be more receptive tomorrow.”
HURON 37, STEVENS 32
Huron 11 22 25 37
RC Stevens 6 13 21 32
HURON (17-8): Noonan 2-7 0-1 4, W.Carr 0-2 1-2 1, Kopfman 0-2 0-0 0, Zwanziger 3-7 4-9 10, C.Carr 1-5 1-2 3, Busch 3-5 0-0 7, Decker 4-6 4-4 12. Totals: 13-34 10-18 37.
RAPID CITY STEVENS (10-15): Schaeffer 6-20 2-3 15, Minnick 0-1 0-0 0, Vifguain 1-7 0-0 2, Wilson 2-6 0-2 4, Richard 0-1 0-0 0, McCloud 3-4 1-3 7, Simons 0-5 0-0 0, Bennett 2-4 0-0 4. Totals: 14-48 3-8 32.
3-pointers: Huron 1-9 (Noonan 0-4, W.Carr 0-1, Kopfman 0-2, Busch 1-2), RCS 1-12 (Schaeffer 1-3, Vifquain 0-3, Wilson 0-2, McCloud 0-1, Simons 0-3). Rebounds: Huron 33 (Zwanziger 13), RCS 30 (Schaeffer 7). Assists: Huron 4 (Noonan 2), RCS 3 (3 with 1). Total fouls: Huron 13, RCS 16. Fouled out: Bennett.
For the complete article see the 03-16-2013 issue.
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