Huron’s Justin Decker puts up a shot against Mitchell’s Beau Brown during their District 3AA game on Tuesday at Huron Arena. PHOTO BY MIKE CARROLL/PLAINSMAN
HURON — The Huron Tigers put up back-to-back 16-point quarters in the first half while holding the Mitchell Kernels to just 13 points, which was enough as the Tigers held on to win the District 3AA semifinal, 63-53, Tuesday night at Huron Arena.
“The first half was the best half we have played all year,” said Tiger Head Coach Tim Buddenhagen.
The Tigers will now travel to Pierre on Friday for a 7 p.m. contest to determine the District 3AA champion and to the winner a berth in the state tournament.
The Tigers dropped a pair of games to the Governors 44-33 in the season opener at Huron Arena on Dec. 7 and a 64-49 loss in Pierre on Jan. 10.
However since then both teams have caught fire as the Tigers have won 10-of-13 games and Pierre has won 12 of their last 13.
The numbers back it up as Huron shot 59 percent in the first half (13-for-22) and were 2-for-4 on three-pointers, while also making all four of their free-throw attempts.
Meanwhile the Tiger defense was stingy holding the Kernels to just 29 percent shooting (6-for-21) just 1-of-7 from three-point range and the Kernels missed their only free-throw attempt as they built the 19-point halftime lead, 32-13.
Mitchell did try to make a run late in the game.
Still trailing 40-23 going into the final quarter the Kernels did manage to chip away at the Tiger lead eventually getting it down to nine points.
However, the Tigers made 13-of-15 free throws in the second half to stave off the Kernels hot hands which had them making 16-of-24 field goals (66 percent) including 8-of-12 three-pointers at the same 66 percent clip.
However, while they were making their field goals they never made it to the free-throw line in the second half which is usually key to second half comebacks, as teams can score without the clock running and set up their defensive pressure easier.
By the end of the game the field goal shooting numbers were almost identical but the Tigers made 13 more free throws, grabbed 13 more rebounds and had four more steals in the game.
One key run came in the final part of the third period where Buddenhagen said the team dominated probably enough to keep the Governors at arms length when they made their run.
Pierre did manage to get the lead down to single digits with 1:25 left in the game but that is when the Tigers free throws thwarted the come back. Lucas Morrison, Tre Henderson and JP Noonan all hit a pair of clutch free throws keeping the lead between nine and 12 points as the clock ran down.
Leading the way for the Tiger was Justin Decker who had a team-high 20 points along with six rebounds.
Adam Zwanziger was the only Tiger to join Decker in double figures with an 11-point, nine-rebound effort.
However, in all, nine different Tigers scored and Hayden Busch had nine points and Caleb Carr had eight.
Caleb Carr also had five rebounds.
Both teams played discplined basketball committing just 11 (Mitchell) and 10 (Huron) turnovers respectively.
For the Kernels Beau Brown had a game-high 24 points including four three-pointers. Seth Cavanaugh had 14 points and a pair of three-pointers while Cole Morgan had eight and two three-pointers.
Mitchell got just seven points from the rest of the team and just three-points from their bench.
A complete boxscore will run in Thursday’s paper.
For the complete article see the 02-27-2013 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-27-2013 paper.
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