BROOKINGS — The Huron Tiger girls’ basketball team overcame some early foul trouble but responded with their best half of basketball of the season en route to a 65-44 win over the Brookings Bobcats Tuesday night at Jostad Gymnasium. It was the first win of the season for the Tigers, who are now 1-2, while Brookings falls to 0-2.
“It’s good to get that first win,” said Tiger coach Kody Kopfmann after the game, “especially in the way we earned it tonight. We have been preaching confidence in each other and trust and that really came out tonight.”
The Tigers came roaring out of the gate. Hylton Heinz hit two free throws and sister Hamtyn Heinz got a short jumper to fall for a 4-2 lead early. Hamtyn Heinz hit a three on the next possession and the long range score kicked off a Huron scoring blitz. Aly Davis took a hard drive to the hoop and converted, then Lizzy Heinen took a Hamtyn Heinz feed for an easy deuce. After another Hamtyn Heinz three, Heinen got an offensive rebound and stuck it back and Huron led 14-2 after the 10-0 run.
The Bobcats rallied, as Brinleigh Mack hit a runner in the lane, before both Macy Even and Kymber Buys each hit a pair of free throws. Huron got a basket and then a free throw from Heinen, but Logan Smidt hit a three for the Bobcats with 25 second left, which carved the lead back to eight points, at 19-11.
But the Tigers ran a set play for Hamtyn Heinz, who shook loose on the left baseline and drained a three pointer as the clock ran out for a 22-11 Huron lead after one quarter.
The fouls began to cause problems for the Tigers in the second quarter and the Bobcats took advantage, clawing their way back via the charity stripe.
Davis hit a three at the 6:36 mark of the quarter, but Brookings responded with back-to-back threes from Lily Thompson and Smidt, before Tatum Peterson, brought in when Kenzi Siemonsma picked up her second foul, grabbed an offensive rebound, hit the shot and then converted the ‘and-one’ to make it 28-19 with four minutes to play.
But in the space of 30 seconds of game time, Hamtyn Heinz collected her second and third fouls, sending her to the bench for the rest of the half, then Davis picked up her third with a minute to play in the half.
Brookings responded, and while the Tigers dropped out of their press due to the foul situation, the Huron defense kept the Bobcat offense limited to free throws but Brookings cut the lead to eight, at 32-24 headed to the halftime break.
After being limited by fouls in the first half, Siemonsma got the Tigers started in the second half, with a put back seconds in. Smidt responded for the Bobcats, but a 5-0 mini spurt - a deuce from Davis and a three from Hamtyn Heinz pushed the lead back to 13 points.
Even got a pair of charity tosses, but Huron responded with a 7-0 run, with baskets from Heinen and Hylton Heinz, who also hit a pair of free throws, then a free throw from Siemonsma to make it 45-28 with less than two minutes to play in the quarter and Huron led by 18, 48-30, as play headed to the fourth quarter.
A quick three from Smidt opened the fourth quarter, and when Siemonsma picked up her third foul one minute later the Bobcats appeared poised to mount a comeback. The Tigers handled the Brookings press, continuing to move the ball well on offense and continually finding the open player, who hit their shots.
Hylton Heinz hit a runner down the lane, Heinen had a conventional three pointer and Hamtyn Heinz hit from deep and the lead was quickly up to 21 points and the fouls that hurt Huron in the first half bothered the Bobcats down the stretch and the Tigers hit free throws down the stretch.
Hamtyn Heinz led all scorers with 19 points, while Heinen got her first varsity double-digit night with 15 points and Hylton Heinz added 15 as well, 13 in the second half of play.
“Lizzy did a great job in all aspects tonight,” Kopfmann noted. “She was down after the Mitchell game and to see her bounce back this way is great for us. She scored on passes from teammates and got offensive rebounds for easy buckets as well. Hylton really did a good job running the offense, because Brookings threw three different zone defenses against us, along with a couple different full court presses and a trap.”
Kopfmann said the plan was to play additional players Tuesday night, but wasn’t planning do it because of foul trouble. In the end, it got several more Tiger players - Maddy Jurgens, Peterson and Jaylee Noyes - into the action. And all contributed to the win.
Brookings got 12 points from Evan and 10 from Smidt.
In the Sophomore game, Huron pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 52-31 win.
Huron returns to home for Friday/Saturday games with the Rapid City Schools, as Central is in Huron Friday night at 6 p.m., and Stevens will tangle with the Tigers on Saturday afternoon, with a 12:30 p.m. start. This is the first year that the schools will play girls’/boys’ doubleheaders over the weekend.
Score by quarters
Huron 22 32 48 65
Brookings 11 24 30 44