No. 1 White River slips past Ethan
Trailing since early in the first quarter, the No. 5 Ethan boys’ basketball team fought back to tie No. 1 White River with less than a minute to play Saturday at the Corn Palace.
But the Tigers knocked down a free throw with 2.1 seconds to play to secure the 51-50 win in the Hanson Boys Corn Palace Classic in Mitchell.
After taking a 5-0 lead early in the first quarter, the Rustlers went cold the rest of the first half and trailed 26-18 at the half. Ethan missed several layup opportunities in the first half, making just seven field goals before the break.
White River extended its lead to 12 points in the third.
“We could’ve easily folded, but this is a tough team,” Ethan coach Bryce Roth said. “There aren’t many teams that would be able to come back like that in such a short period of time.”
The Rustlers were forced to play much of the second half without starting forward Tyler Myers, who picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter and fouled out shortly after returning in the fourth quarter.
“You can’t replace what he does for us on the court,” Roth said about Myers’ absence in the second half.
Anthony Donovan stepped up for the Rustlers in the fourth quarter, hitting two 3-pointers, including one to bring his team to within a point with less than 2 minutes to play. Donovan scored eight points in the loss.
Bartscher, who finished with a game-high 20 points, tied the game at 50 on a layup in the final minute.
The Tigers held the ball for the last shot, but strong Rustler defense forced White River to take a time out with 6 seconds to go. Ethan tried to give a foul before the Tigers could get a shot off, but White River’s Justin Prue was able to get into the lane was fouled in the act of shooting.
“We wanted to give the foul to keep them from getting a good shot off,” Roth said. “I heard the contact. I guess we didn’t make it obvious enough.”
Prue hit the second of two free throws with 2.1 seconds to go.
Bartscher missed a desperation heave from half-court off the backboard to end the game.
The Rustlers finished shooting 17-of-37 from the field and 14-of-17 at the free-throw line. Bartscher was 8-of-8 on free throws and added four rebounds and two steals. Camden Myers finished with seven points and six rebounds for Ethan.
Three Tigers finished in double figures, led by Tre Iyotte with 12 points. Link Tucker added 11 points, while Christian Bartlett added 10 points for the defending Class B state champion.
“We made some mistakes down the stretch, but were able to overcome them to get the win against a really good team,” White River coach Eldon Marshall said.
The Tigers shot 19-of-40 from the field and outrebounded Ethan 27-20.
Ethan (9-2) will look to rebound against Freeman Academy Tuesday in Freeman, while White River (11-1) plays Pine Ridge Friday in Pine Ridge.