Hanson High School boys' basketball beats Bridgewater-Emery to win Cornbelt Conference TourneyMENNO — Fourth-seeded Hanson didn’t play either of the top two seeds in the Cornbelt Conference Tournament on its way to the championship game.
By: Justin Rust, The Daily Republic
MENNO — Fourth-seeded Hanson didn’t play either of the top two seeds in the Cornbelt Conference Tournament on its way to the championship game.
On the other hand, third-seeded Bridgewater-Emery knocked off second-seeded Marion and the top-seeded Canistota, the seventh-ranked team in Class B in the latest South Dakota Sportswriters’ Association poll, to earn a shot at the tournament title.
Despite the difference in strength of schedule, Hanson topped Bridgewater-Emery 47-41 to win earn the tournament crown Saturday at Menno High School.
“The way we have it set up, I don’t know if it’s the best format, which is why it’s the last year for it,” Hanson coach Josh Oltmanns said. “Bridgewater-Emery definitely had tougher games than we had, but anytime you can win three games in a tournament, I don’t care who you are playing.”
The game was a back-and-forth affair between the two conference rivals.
Hanson (8-5) started the game with a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. All of B-E’s (8-4) points were from free throws, and the Huskies didn’t make their first field goal until their were 6 minutes, 56 seconds left in the second quarter on a Darin Bartscher jumper.
Bartscher’s bucket helped swing momentum B-E’s way as the Huskies outscored Hanson 12-6 for the rest of the quarter for a 17-16 halftime lead.
B-E kept the momentum going to start the third quarter and scored the first six points for a 23-16 lead, but Hanson responded with a run of its own. The Beavers went on a 10-3 run to tie the game at 26, and Jacob Bartscher’s put-back at the buzzer gave Hanson a 28-26 lead.
“I told my assistant coach, ‘I don’t know when we got the lead or how we got the lead,’ ” Oltmanns said. “We were down by eight, and then it was a tied game.
“That’s a tribute to our kids. They just fight.”
B-E coach Scott Schultz said the shots just didn’t fall for his team in the third quarter.
“We came out at the half, ran our offense and got the shots we were looking for,” he said. “Then, we went away from that for three, four minutes and you just can’t do that against a quality opponent.
“We didn’t get good shots in the third quarter partly due to their defense, but also due to our impatience.”
B-E tied the game again at 28 on Darin Bartscher’s put-back right away in the fourth quarter. The lead changed six more times from that point and was tied two more times. The final tie came at 37 with 4:01 left.
Then, with 2:54 left, Hanson’s Pierce Smith gained position underneath the basket, got the ball and went up for two points. Smith was fouled by B-E’s Tyson Kayser, but was still able to get the bucket. Kayser fouled out on the play and Smith converted the three-point play for a 40-37 lead.
“That’s huge because of the caliber of player Tyson is for them,” Oltmanns said. “He was just playing hard.”
Hanson’s Andrew Gross followed with key defensive plays. Gross had four fouls, but that didn’t stop him from sliding in the lane and drawing a charge, a call Oltmanns had been asking for the whole game.
Gross later hit a free throw to put Hanson up 41-37 with 1:43 left in the game.
“The three-point play and the charge, those were both big plays,” Oltmanns said. “Reid Smith also hit a 3 earlier to put us up two points, and that was a big shot because he has been struggling with his shooting this year.”
Hanson’s lead grew to 47-37 before B-E scored again with 26 seconds left, but the Beavers already had the game in the bag.
“It’s always a fun, physical game when we play each other,” Oltmanns said. “The kids play hard and you are always sad for the team that loses, but you are always happy when you win.”
Hanson outrebounded B-E 32-21 in the game and forced the Huskies to turn the ball over 20 times.
“We just didn’t take care of the ball very well,” Schultz said. “You just can’t turn it over as much as we did. We have to do a better job of concentrating and taking care of things.”
Hanson also took advantage of 27 free throws and hit 16 of them.
Pierce Smith had a double-double for the Beavers with 12 points and 11 rebounds and Jacob Bartscher scored 11 points.
Andy Becker led Bridgewater-Emery with 10 points and six rebounds.
H 10 16 28 47
BE 9 17 26 41