HURON — After both teams combined for six points in the first quarter, the Huron Tigers kicked up the defensive intensity and began hitting baskets in the second quarter, using a 21-8 quarter to key a 53-27 victory Friday night over the Rapid City Cobblers at Huron Arena.
The two teams struggled out of the gate, with thirteen combined shots from the field and four free throws all coming up empty for the two teams before Carsen Evans hit a short jumper for Huron to open the scoring with five and a half minutes gone from the first quarter.
The Tigers defense was impressive throughout the first quarter, but converting opportunites didn’t go well for Huron, as a free throw for Colton McNeil and a layup for Gavin Moeding after one of CJ Gainey’s many first-half steals were the only other points for the Tigers.
Junior Allen drove to the hoop for the Cobblers and earned a pair of free throws, hitting one of two for the first points of the game for Central with 39 seconds left in the first quarter.
Huron opened the second quarter with a 5-1 lead, but the low score allowed a basket by Central’s Isaiah Whiting to open the second half to bring the Cobblers within two.
Huron got a floater on the baseline by Trace Wenz and then a pull-up jumper in the lane from Blake Ellwein to push the lead out to 9-3, then Gainey hit a deep three to make it 12-3.
The Cobblers got a three point basket by Kaden Mathieu off the bench, but Anderson Porisch nailed a corner three on the ensuing possession.
A free throw from Blake Ellwein and a bucket by Porisch off a pass from Ellwein after he secured a steal gave Huron an 18-6 lead and drew a timeout from Cobbler coach TJ Hay.
Out of the timeout, Ellwein got a tip-out on an offensive rebound and nailed a three. Porisch then hit a long three to make the Tiger lead 24-6.
Whiting got a bucket and a foul for Central, but Moeding finished a fast break after another Tiger steal and made it 26-9, the score heading into halftime.
Moeding and Central’s Colton Carlson exchanged baskets to open the third quarter, with the lead 30-13 for Huron after Carlson got a steal and a bucket.
Gainey got a give-and-go floater in the lane to fall and Moeding attacked the hoop for another basket.
McNeil scored on a backdoor cut and Moeding finished off the scoring in the third period with a reverse layup after driving the lane.
Huron’s Colton McNeil handles the ball against Ryan Wetch of Rapid City Central during their game Friday at Huron Arena.
Allen hit one of two free throws to make the lead at the end of three quarters 40-16 for the Tigers.
The Cobblers opened the final period with a 7-2 run, but the Tigers defense kept the Cobblers from ever getting in a rhythm offensively, and after McNeil released on a rebound and hit a layup to make it 44-23, the Tigers emptied the bench.
The Tigers substitutes continued the aggressive defense and hit a handful of shots to close out the game with a 53-27 victory.
The Tigers move to 2-1 behind a balanced scoring effort led by Moeding’s 12 points. Porisch chipped in eight and Trace Wenz and McNeil each had seven points.
The Cobblers fall to 0-3. Whiting had eight points to lead Central with Allen and Carlson each putting in six points.
Coach Tim Buddenhagen was extremely pleased with the team’s effort, but he was already looking ahead to Saturday’s matchup.
“The defense ignited our offense,” Buddenhagen said. “Our hustle and active hands on defense were excellent. Tomorrow night we’re going to need that against Rapid City Stevens.”
Huron will host Rapid City Stevens today at 2 p.m. at Huron Arena.
Rapid City Central 1 9 16 27
Huron 5 26 40 53
Rapid City Central (0-3): Junior Allen 1 4-8 6, Jet Janvrin 0 0-2 0, Kaden Mathieu 1 0-2 3, Ryan Wetch 0 3-4 3, Jackson Miller 0 1-2 1, Colton Carlson 3 0-1 6, Isaiah Whiting 3 2-3 8. Totals: 8 10-22 27.
Huron (2-1): Trace Wenz 3 0-0 7, Colton McNeil 3 1-2 7, Gavin Moeding 5 1-4 12, CJ Gainey 2 0-2 5, Blake Ellwein 2 1-2 6, Anderson Porisch 3 0-0 8, Carsen Evans 1 2-2 4, Jonathan Peterson 0 1-2 1, Kolby Hofer 1 0-0 3. Totals: 20 6-14 53.