White River tops South Central in Class B semifinalsABERDEEN — South Central struggled against top-seeded White River’s defense, suffering an 86-55 defeat in the semifinal round of the Class B state boys’ basketball tournament Friday at the Barnett Center on Northern State University’s campus in Aberdeen.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
ABERDEEN — South Central struggled against top-seeded White River’s defense, suffering an 86-55 defeat in the semifinal round of the Class B state boys’ basketball tournament Friday at the Barnett Center on Northern State University’s campus in Aberdeen.
The Tigers forced 28 turnovers in the game and only committed nine themselves.
“We knew going in that they were a very quick team and their quickness bothered our kids,” South Central coach Clayton Steele said. “They’re good at anticipating where we were going to throw the ball and put a lot of pressure on our guards.”
White River coach Eldon Marshall said his team needed to come ready to play the streaking and upcoming Cougars.
“We wanted to make them handle the ball in the full court, and our guys did a good job of that, executing on the fundamentals on the defensive end,” said Marshall, whose team returns to the championship game for the sixth straight year. “We forced them into some things that were out of their comfort zone and got some easy buckets and opened it up for us. “
The Tigers (24-1) came out shooting as they got out to a 9-0 lead within the first three minutes of the game. White River put up basket after basket and challenged the Cougars offensively. The Tigers held South Central to six points in the first quarter to lead 19-6.
South Central senior Garrett Bruns opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 10. But White River, which never trailed in the game, scored the next 14 points — highlighted by three three-point baskets.
The Tigers continued to shoot the ball well and built a 48-22 lead at halftime, shooting 18-of-32 for 56 percent from the field and 9-of-19 from behind the arc in the first two quarters.
The Cougars (22-3) put up their highest scoring quarter in the third, outscoring White River 19-18. But the Tigers never let up in the fourth and built their largest lead of 31 with the final score.
The Cougars were 18-of-38 for 47 percent from the field and 14-of-20 for 70 percent from the foul line.
“We shot the ball well when he handled it, but we didn’t do that very well,” said Steele, whose team lost the battle on the boards 33-28. “They got two and three more shots and that really hurts. We only had nine offensive rebounds and that’s not enough.”
South Central was led by senior forward Tyler Frank with 18 points and nine rebounds and senior guard Dakota Votaw was the only other Cougar in double-digit scoring figures with 11.
White River had four players score in double figures with Nic Waln leading the way with 18 points. Gilbert Morrison scored 16 points, Wyatt Krogman had 15 and Matthew Gillen had 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Fifth-seeded South Central plays for third place at 6 p.m. today, while White River plays in the championship at 8 p.m. today.
The Tigers have never won back-to-back state titles.
“That’s been our goal and we’re going to do everything we can to achieve that and right now I think we’re playing the best basketball we have all year, and thankfully so,” Marshall said.