Huskies share Class B spotlight
ABERDEEN—Bridgewater-Emery proved it was greater than the sum of its parts this season.
The Huskies capped off a perfect season with a 63-58 instant classic win over Wolsey-Wessington for the Class B boys basketball state championship on Saturday at Wachs Arena in Aberdeen. The Huskies finished the season 26-0.
Bridgewater-Emery, which won its first title as a consolidated school, hung its hat on defense and rebounding this season. The Huskies also prided themselves on their depth and balance, with different players stepping up in big moments.
On Saturday, it was Jamin Arend's turn. The sophomore guard shined on the state's biggest stage and scored the final nine points for the Huskies.
He hit a go-ahead 3-pointer and then provided the game-clinching steal and layup with 8 seconds left. He finished with 19 points.
"I just let everything happen," Arend said about the game-sealing layup. "I about lost it, but I gathered myself and I controlled it and made it."
The 3-pointer and layup capped off a 13-point second-half comeback. While Jamin scored the final nine points, the rest of the Huskies played their part in the late-game rally.
Sam Arend's 3-pointer with 6:06 left gave BE its first lead (50-49) of the game. He finished with 13 points. Cole Gassman tossed in 17 points, including a huge 3-pointer as part of a 12-2 surge to end the third quarter. Sawyer Schultz recorded 12 points, three steals and three rebounds.
"Depth is biggest thing in the tournament because everyone plays three games in a row," Schultz said. "You are fatigued and when someone goes down, it is the next man up."
And someone did go down for the Huskies. BE's 6-foot-4 post player Cade Schmitt sustained a knee injury late in Friday's semifinal win over Sully Buttes. The future Dakota Wesleyan University football player started the game, but played just over a minute.
"He had some swelling in there we couldn't get rid of," BE coach Scott Schultz said. "But we knew he would give it a shot. We wanted to give him a shot. He has been there for us. He became our biggest supporter on the bench."
Fellow senior Colton Plagmann and sophomore Carter Dye stepped up in Schmitt's absence in the post. It was unfamiliar territory for the 6-foot Plagmann.
"He plays the post position tonight and he's doesn't do that normally and he just knows everyone's position out there," coach Schultz said. "I thought he was huge for us tonight."
Bridgewater-Emery's perfect season is just the third in Class B boys basketball in the last 13 years. Warner went undefeated last season and before that Dell Rapids St. Mary in 2003-04 was the last team to go perfect.
Coach Schultz said the team never focused on running the table, but rather focusing on one game at a time.
"We never looked ahead and nobody ever said 'Hey, we are 19-0 and 20-0'," he said. "It was just 'Who do we have next?' I think that frame of mind is really what did it for us these guys."