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Brookings get to line, beat Tigers 61-54

Posted: Monday, Mar 18th, 2013

Huron’s Adam Zwanziger puts up a shot against Braxton Carlson of Brookings during the consolation championship of the Class AA State Tournament on Saturday at Sioux Falls Arena. Next, Huron’s Alex Kopfmann looks for a teammate to pass the ball to, while being guarded by Zack Kress of Brookings during the game on Saturday. And next, Huron’s Lucas Morrison dribbles against a pair of Brookings defenders during the game on Saturday at Sioux Falls Arena. PHOTOS BY MIKE CARROLL/PLAINSMAN

SIOUX FALLS – In a game, which featured 47 free throws, it was the Brookings Bobcats who capitalized to record a 61-54 victory against the Huron Tigers in the consolation championship game of the Class AA State Boys’ Basketball Tournament on Saturday at Sioux Falls Arena.

The Bobcats converted on 17 of 20 shots from the charity stripe to avenge a pair of losses to the Tigers during the regular season.

“I thought our kids left it all on the floor. They played hard, we scored some points finally today, but then we gave up too many,” Huron coach Tim Buddenhagen said. “We gave up about 15 more over our average and when you do that to a high-powered offensive team like Brookings, you’re not going to win.”

Both teams struggled on the offensive end of the floor during the first quarter, which ended with the Tigers holding a 10-8 lead on three consecutive points by Lucas Morrison.

Using an 8-3 run to open the second quarter and a run of seven unanswered points later in the stanza, the Bobcats were able to gain the upper hand and led by as many as seven points.

Huron was able to stay within striking distance with the help of the long-range jumper against a zone defensive by Brookings in the half-court set.

Justin Decker hit the first of three 3-pointers in the second quarter for the Tigers, while Houstyn Heinz came off the bench to connect on the other two.

The first half ended with Brookings holding a 27-21 advantage, but five unanswered points, all coming on free throws, helped Huron erase its deficit in quick fashion.

Adam Zwanziger was fouled on a putback to account for the first two free throws and then found himself at the charity stripe again seconds later as Decker came up with a steal that resulted in another foul by the Bobcats on a layup. He made one of the two shots and then two possessions later, Morrison was fouled on a layup after recording a steal and converted on a pair of foul shots to slice Brookings’ lead to 27-26.

After the Bobcats put their first three points of the second half on the board, the Tigers were even at 30-30 using a field goal by Zwanziger on a pass from Decker. He was fouled on the shot for the conventional 3-point play opportunity, however, a miss on the free throw resulted in Decker grabbing the offensive board and score to even things up.

Huron was never able to gain the advantage, but stayed within four points for the final four minutes of the third period. All points by both teams, with the exception of a 3-pointer by Brookings’ Kaleb Vig at the buzzer, came from the free-throw line.

The jumper at the buzzer gave the Bobcats at 40-36 lead heading into the final quarter.

“We just could never get that and-1,” Buddenhagen said of his team’s ability to get into scoring position in the paint against the zone. “When we finally did get that body contact, then the ball would roll around and fall out. We just never could get that and-1 and seize momentum.”

The teams battled back and forth for the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, before Brookings put together an 8-2 run to stretch a three-point edge into a 56-47 lead with 2:33 to play.

“We had opportunities to seize control or at least tie the game up and force them to take more of a difficult shot,” Buddenhagen said. “We just never could string back-to-back baskets together or sometimes it was back-to-back free throws together.”

The Tigers were able to crack Brookings’ zone on several occasions in the final quarter, as Caleb Carr scored on an alley-oop pass from JP Noonan and Will Carr scored on back-to-back possessions with drives to the basket. However, missing during the entire second half for Huron was its perimeter game.

“Give Brookings credit. We knew they were going to pack it in and we just couldn’t get that one shot to fall from the outside,” Buddenhagen said. “We had good looks, we stepped up and took good shots, had courage enough to take some shots and we just couldn’t put the ball in the rim.”

Huron would get no closer than six points the rest of the way.

Tyler Nagy finished with 22 points to lead three players in double figures for the Bobcats, who finished the season at 19-7. Braxton Carlson and Zach Page added 16 and 14 points, respectively.

Zwanziger capped his senior season with 14 points and eight rebounds to lead the Tigers, who finished at 17-9. Decker also reached double figures with 11 points, while Heinz had six points, and Will Carr and Morrison each added five points.

Despite being a bit disappointed with how the state tournament went, Buddenhagen was satisfied with how the season went for his team in general.

“We have 17 wins, how many teams in South Dakota can say they have 17 wins and we play a tough schedule. We had to battle night in and night out,” Buddenhagen said. “You take a look at our schedule or the games that we played, there wasn’t an easy game on the schedule. We didn’t blow anybody out really.

“We played down to the wire numerous times,” he said. “Sometimes we were on the good side, sometimes we were on the bad and tonight we were on the right-hand side instead of the left.”

Stepping on to the floor for the final time Saturday for Huron were seniors Zwanziger, Alex Kopfmann and James White. The rest of the roster for the Tigers was made up of juniors and sophomores.

“We wish the seniors nothing but the best in the future and say ‘Thank You’ to the Huron community for coming out and supporting us. We really appreciate it,” Buddenhagen said.

“We got some sophomores and juniors some experience. Next year they should be able to come in and feel a little bit more determined. This has got to sting them a little bit,” he said. “When you talk about life, you only get a couple of opportunities. You don’t get these opportunities all the time, we don’t want our kids to take this for granted, like they are going to go back next year, because you just never know, some things could happen. You have to seize the moment and seize your opportunities. You get knocked down, now you have to brush yourself off and get back up.”


Brookings 8 27 40 61

Huron 10 21 36 54

BROOKINGS (19-7): Carlson 5-11 5-6 16, Nagy 7-16 6-6 22, Daniel 0-1 0-0 0, Vig 1-3 1-2 4, Beste 0-4 3-4 3, Morety 1-1 0-0 2, Page 6-6 2-2 14. Totals: 20-42 17-20 61.

HURON (17-9): Heinz 2-3 0-0 6, Noonan 1-3 0-0 2, W.Carr 2-2 1-2 5, Morrison 1-2 3-4 5, White 0-0 3-4 3, Zwanziger 3-9 7-15 14, C.Carr 1-3 2-2 4, Busch 2-5, 0-0 4, Decker 5-9 0-0 11. Totals: 17-36 16-27 54.

3-pointers: Brookings 4-13 (Carlson 1-5, Nagy 2-6, Daniel 0-1, Vig 1-1), Huron 4-15 (Heinz 2-3, Noonan 0-2, Morrison 0-1, Zwanziger 1-3, C.Carr 0-1, Busch 0-3, Decker 1-2). Rebounds: Brookings 23 (Carlson 6), Huron 23 (Zwanziger 8). Assists: Brookings 10 (Vig 5), Huron 13 (Noonan 5). Total fouls: Brookings 18, Huron 17.

For the complete article see the 03-17-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 03-17-2013 paper.

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