SPEARFISH — The Huron Tiger girls’ basketball team dug a deep first half hole, climbed almost all the way out of, then saw their comeback come unraveled down the stretch, as they dropped a 55-39 decision to the Spearfish Spartans in non-conference basketball from the Spearfish High School gymnasium.
Spearfish moves to 8-4 with the win, while Huron slips to 5-8.
The die for the first half was cast in the game’s opening seconds, when Sierra West went backdoor behind the Tiger’s 2-3 zone and scored on a layup. The Spartans scored twice more before Huron got on the board on an Allison Janes jumper with nearly half the first quarter elapsed.
Spearfish got another backdoor layup, this time from Addi Reiners before Hamtyn Heinz scored and completed the three-point play to cut the lead to three points, at 8-5.
Three straight Spartans buckets pushed the lead to nine points as Tiger turnovers were converted into Spearfish points. Heinz connected on a three pointer with eight seconds to play, but Jozie Dana drained a long three from the wing that just beat the buzzer and the Spartans held a 17-8 lead at the quarter stop.
The Tigers’ struggle on offense continued, as an 11-5 run over the first four-and-a-half minutes pushed the Spearfish margin to double digits, at 28-13 after another Dana three pointer and the Spartans cruised to the half with a 30-16 cushion.
Turnovers cost the Tigers in the first half, as an active Spartan defense consistently jumped screens and forced 12 Huron turnovers.
The Tigers needed a shot in the arm to get things rolling in the second half. And they got it.
Sofie Guthmiller got Spearfish on the board to open the third quarter, but Hamtyn Heinz answered immediately and her basket ignited an 11-0 run, as Hylton Heinz scored five points, Aly Davis got a put-back bucket and a pair of free throws and Huron trailed by five, at 32-27 with 3:44 to play in the quarter.
But Brylee Grubb hit one of two, as did Dana, then Dana drained a short jumper to re-establish a 10-point lead for the Spartans. Amidst the Spearfish rally, Tiger coach Kody Kopfmann protested the lack of a call on the physical play inside a bit too much and earned a technical foul.
The action got the Tigers’ attention. Hamtyn Heinz returned from getting her knee run into to hit a three pointer and sister Hylton Heinz got a rainbow on the baseline to fall just ahead of the third-quarter buzzer and Huron trailed by five, at 37-32 headed to the fourth quarter.
Much of the change in Huron’s play occurred on the defensive end of the floor as Huron forced seven Spartan turnovers in the third quarter.
Huron got closer in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, as Hamtyn Heinz drove, got the bucket and completed the three-point play and the lead was down to two points. After forcing a Spearfish miss, the Tigers attacked with a chance to take their first lead of the night. A good look at a three pointer rimmed out and Spearfish pressed its advantage.
Kate Scharf came off the Spearfish bench and hit a straight on three pointer, then Dana hit four straight free throws and the lead ballooned back to nine points. Lizzy Heinen scored inside, but Hylton Heinz was whistled for her fifth foul on the next Tiger possession and when Dana hit a three pointer with 1:59 to play, then both free throws on the next Spearfish possession the lead was 12 and all that was left was to determine the final score.
Huron sought to force Spearfish to convert free throws to lock down the game, however the Spartans complied, hitting four of six in the final minute of play to claim the win.
Dana led all scorers with 25 points, including a 10-12 night at the charity stripe, and hit nine of 10 in the fourth quarter. Madeline Bouman added 10 points, all in the first half for the Spartans.
Hamtyn Heinz scored 19 as the only Tiger to dent double figures. Hylton Heinz had nine points before fouling out late in the game.
Preliminary action found the Spartans winning the JV contest 58-42 and completing the sweep with a 43-39 win in the Sophomore game.
Huron is back on the court today with a 1:30 p.m. CST tip at Sturgis to wrap up the West River road trip.
Score by quarters
Huron 8 16 32 39
Spearfish 17 30 37 55