Huron's Adam Zwanzinger puts up a shot against Watertown's Jesse Poppen during their game Friday in Watertown. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROGER MERRIAM/WATERTOWN PUBLIC OPINION
Three days after receiving a lesson from the top-rated team in the state, Watertown’s fourth-rated high school boys basketball team delivered one of its own Friday night in the Civic Arena.
Playing their most complete game of the season, the Arrows maintained at least a share of the Eastern South Dakota Conference lead with a 70-51 victory over third-rated Huron.
Watertown, 9-4 overall and 7-2 in the ESD, gained some breathing room with a 9-0 scoring spurt in the second quarter and held a double-digit advantage for most of the remainder of the game.
“We just lost to a better team,” said Huron head coach Tim Buddenhagen. “They were very prepared and ready to go. I think that loss (75-60 to No. 1 Sioux Falls Roosevelt) Tuesday night kind of got their attention and they played like a team that wants to win a state championship.”
There’s no question the Arrows have had their share of bright moments this year. They can be explosive on offense, especially when they’re hitting their shots from the perimeter. Watertown, however, has struggled at times with consistency.
That wasn’t the case Friday. The Arrows played well from start to finish.
“We’ve been a team of two halves for a lot of this year,” said Watertown junior Jesse Poppen, who contributed 15 points off the bench. “This is one of the first games where we’ve put together two good halves and a complete game. That was a step in the right direction.”
The Tigers, 8-4 and 4-4, stayed in the game early behind the play of 6-foot-6 junior Justin Decker. He scored nine of his team-high 20 points in the first 8 1/2 minutes and helped the Tigers pull even at 21-21 with a conventional three-point play 30 seconds into the second period.
Huron, in part because of Decker, had a definite advantage inside against the smaller Arrows. Not much else went the Tigers way.
“I thought our rotations were better tonight defensively,” said Watertown head coach Brian Norberg. “We worked together as a group defensively better than what we have been. Fortunately, they didn’t shoot the ball all that well from the perimeter and as the game went on, we were able to adjust to where they didn’t hurt us inside as much.”
Defensively, the Tigers had no answer for the Arrows and senior guard Tanner Heiser. Heiser made 10 of 15 field-goal attempts as part of a 26-point performance. His driving ability and passing also opened the door for other Arrows.
Poppen made six of seven shots in his performance. Senior Landen Mack contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Arrows canned 24 of 41 field-goal attempts for 58 percent and also outrebounded the Tigers 31-20.
“Tanner facilitated a lot of things, whether it was scoring or creating for others,” said Norberg. “We were able to do it despite getting little production inside and that’s a concern. You don’t always get what you want offensively, you have to take what they’re giving you sometimes.”
Senior Adam Zwanziger added eight points and junior Will Carr seven for the Tigers, who shot 47 percent (22 of 47).
“We’re not going to score 70 points, we’re not that type of team,” said Buddenhagen. “We knew once the score got over 50, we were in trouble.”
The win was the fifth in six tries for Watertown on its home floor. The Arrows will play at home again on Thursday, hosting Sioux Falls Lincoln at 7:30 p.m. in the Civic Arena.
“This was big to get back on track and to stay in the ESD race,” said Poppen. “Hopefully we can continue it on from here.”
Watertown 21 37 55 70
Huron 18 29 43 51
WATERTOWN: Landen Mack 3-8 5-6 12, Tanner Heiser 10-15 1-3 26, Trevor Jutting 1-5 3-3 6, Brody Ries 3-3 7, Harrison Jones 1-1 1-2 3, Cole Julius 0-1 0-0 0, Logan Gabriel 0-0 1-2 1, Nate Davis 0-0 0-1 0, Jesse Poppen 6-7 1-1 15, Logan Jurgens 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 24-41 12-20 70.
HURON: JP Noonan 1-1 1-1 3, Will Carr 3-5 0-1 7, Lucas Morrison 2-5 0-0 4, Adam Zwanziger 3-8 2-2 8, Justin Decker 9-14 2-5 20, Josh Brooks 1-2 0-0 2, James White 1-3 0-0 3, Caleb Carr 2-5 0-0 4, Hayden Busch 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 22-47 5-8 51.
FG% — Watertown .585, Huron .468; 3-PT FG — Watertown 10-16 (Mack 1-2, Heiser 5-8, Jutting 1-2, Ries 1-1, Julius 0-1, Poppen 2-2), Huron 2-9 (W. Carr 1-1, Morris 0-1, Zwanziger 0-1, Decker 0-1, White 1-1, C. Carr 0-1, Busch 0-3). Rebounds — Watertown 31 (Mack 10), Huron 20 (Decker 4). Total Fouls — Watertown 12, Huron 19. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Watertown 16, Huron 13.
For the complete article see the 01-27-2013 issue.
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