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Sioux Falls tabbed to host NAIA men’s basketball tournament

Huskies complete perfect season, win Class B title

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Bridgewater-Emery Head Coach Scott Schultz waves the net as the fans and players cheer as the Huskies defeated the Wolsey-Wessington Warbirds 63-58 for the Class B state championship on Saturday at the Wachs Arena in Aberdeen. (Matt Gade / Republic)2 / 2

ABERDEEN—Bridgewater-Emery's perfect season was capped off in dramatic fashion.

Faced with their biggest deficit of the season, the Huskies rallied from 13 points down in the third quarter to win the Class B boys basketball championship 63-58 over Wolsey-Wessington Saturday in a thriller at Wachs Arena.

The win completes a perfect season at 26-0 for the Huskies, who won the first state title in consolidated school history.

"We finally got what we wanted," Bridgewater-Emery guard Jamin Arend said. "The dream came true—finally."

SEE PHOTOS FROM THE GAME. 

The sophomore put his stamp on the game late to help the Huskies complete the dream season. He scored the team's last nine points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer and a game-clinching steal and layup with 8 seconds left. He finished with 19 points.

"He hit so many shots to get us going," Bridgewater-Emery guard Sawyer Schultz said.

Cole Gassman had 17 points and Sam Arend scored 12 points. Schultz had 12 points, including 10 in the second half.

But it was Arend's final nine points that put an exclamation point on a thriller. The Huskies trailed by 12 at halftime and 13 midway through the third period.

They chopped it to down to 45-42 going into the fourth quarter.

"We just had to play defense and that's what we did," Sam Arend said. "We started hitting some shots and that's when things started going our way."

Sam Arend's 3-pointer with 6:06 left gave the Huskies their first lead at 50-49. Wolsey-Wessington's Bennett White, who sat with foul trouble for the much of the third, made his presence felt. The future Dakota Wesleyan University basketball player scored the Warbirds' final eight points. He hit a shot with 1:33 left to put Wolsey-Wessington ahead 58-56.

"He is just a gutty kid and a tough competitor," Bridgewater-Emery coach Scott Schultz said. "We knew they would go to him and look to him. He wasn't going to be denied either. Just a great effort on his part."

But after White's basket, Jamin Arend shined on the state's biggest stage. He hit a 3-pointer 10 seconds later to put B-E ahead 59-58. After Wolsey-Wessington turned the ball over, Jamin Arend hit two free throws to make it 61-58.

After Wolsey-Wessington called a timeout, it began to work down the clock. Sawyer Schultz tipped the ball on a pass attempt and Jamin Arend secured it. He sprinted down the court and made the game-sealing layup.

"We were talking passing lanes and we were switching," Scott Schultz said. "He jumped the screen and got the steal right at the end, coming off a big three that he hits there late in the game in rhythm and never had a doubt."

The Huskies got another steal on the ensuing inbound and they dribbled out the clock to secure the state title.

"To come back like that and that deficit, it is just something I will never forget," Sam Arend said.

Bridgewater-Emery has not faced many deficits this season, but it did in its biggest game of the year. The Huskies fell behind 14-2 midway through the first quarter and trailed 31-23 at halftime.

"We kind of got off to a bad start, but all year long, they were never out of it," Scott Schultz said. "They are always going to fight until the end. We just went one stop at a time. We talked about let's get some stops and we will get back it in."

The Huskies were still faced with a 13-point hole with five minutes left in the third quarter. But their third quarter surge started the comeback.

"That third quarter was amazing," Sawyer Schultz said. "It was the biggest quarter of the game because we started feeling it."

Sawyer Schultz, who was hounded all game long by Darian Ogunjemilusi, got it going in the quarter. He scored six straight points to cut it to 43-37. Cole Gassman later drilled a 3-pointer and Schultz made another basket to make it 45-42 going into the final period.

"Cole started the game for us great and we ended it all as a team," Jamin Arend said. "We put it out there and we left it out there. It was great."

The third quarter set up the fantastic fourth quarter finish.

"It was a battle back and forth," Sawyer Schultz added. "It's the best feeling I have ever had in my life."

Bridgewater-Emery 63, Wolsey-Wessington 58

Wolsey-Wessington (22-3): Bennett White 6-11 2-4 15, Austin Kemnitz 3-5 0-0 8, Darin Tschetter 2-3 1-1 5, Riley Gohn 3-4 2-2 10, Darian Ogunjemilusi 4-11 0-0 8, Lynden Williams 4-5 2-3 10, Tyler Babcock 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 23-41 7-10 58.

Bridgewater-Emery (26-0): Jamin Arend 7-12 3-5 19, Sawyer Schultz 6-12 0-0 12, Cole Gassman 7-11 1-1 17, Sam Arend 4-6 2-5 13, Cade Schmitt 0-0 0-0 0, Carter Dye 1-2 0-0 2, Colton Plagmann 0-0 0-0 0, Duot VanSickle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-43 6-11 63.

WW 17 31 45 58

BE 7 23 42 63

3-point field goals: WW 5-9 (White 1, Kemnitz 2, Gohn 2); BE 7-13 (J. Arend 2, Gassman 2, S. Arend 3). Rebounds: WW 25 (Ogunjemilusi 6); BE 16 (J. Arend 4). Assists: WW 8 (Ogunjemilusi 3); BE 5 (Gassman 2). Blocked shots: WW 0; BE 0. Steals: WW 4 (Williams 2); BE 7 (Schultz 3). Turnovers: WW 19; BE 12. Total fouls: WW 18; BE 15.

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