Huskies hold on for Mike Miller Classic triumph
An out-of-state team almost snapped South Dakota's longest active winning streak, but the Bridgewater-Emery Huskies prevailed on Thursday at the Mike Miller Classic.
Class B No. 1 Bridgewater-Emery escaped with a 79-76 win over Wauwatosa West (Wisconsin) at the Corn Palace.
The Huskies (3-0) led 46-27 at halftime and by 21 early in the second half, but withstood a late surge to extend their winning streak to 29 games.
"We kind of let them bring the game to us," Bridgewater-Emery coach Scott Schultz said about the second half. "That was the biggest thing we should be able to take from this, is we have to keep playing that same aggressive nature, but I was happy with the last minute. We found a way to win."
Bridgewater-Emery led for most of the contest, but the Trojans (2-5) tied the game three times late. Wauwatosa's Allen Johnson knotted the score at 73-73 with 2:04 left. After that, Bridgewater-Emery's Sawyer Schultz closed it out. The all-state guard scored the Huskies' last nine points, including two free throws with eight-tenths of a second left to ice the game.
"They are a great team and we just kind of battled back and did the best we could to hold them off," said Schultz, who finished with 38 points, four steals and three rebounds.
Schultz scored 13 early points to spur a 27-15 lead for the Huskies. He had 22 in the first half as the Huskies built their 19-point lead.
But the Trojans cranked up the defensive pressure and tightened up the defense on Schultz and Jamin Arend, who finished with 17 points.
"We haven't really been used to that stuff," Sawyer Schultz said. "The pressure like that just takes the toll on any team."
The Huskies were leading 77-76 with 28 seconds left, but the Trojans forced a turnover. Wauwatosa had a chance to take the lead for the first time since early in the first half, but Arend forced a Wauwatosa player to step out of bounds on the baseline with 1.3 seconds left. Schultz was then fouled and he made both free throws.
"In the second half, we stood around a little bit and got a little lethargic and they took the game to us, which made it a dogfight at the end," Scott Schultz said.
Johnson finished with 22 points. Justin Steinke added 17 points and four 3-pointers for the Trojans, who play Sioux Falls Washington at 4 p.m. today in the second day of the event.
Carter Dye scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the win. Duot VanSickle scored nine points and collected 13 rebounds for the Huskies, who face another tough task today.
Bridgewater-Emery faces Prior Lake, Minnesota, which features 6-foot-9 Robert Jones and 6-foot-10 Dawson Garcia. The game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. at the Corn Palace.
"The key for us is going to be to block out and try to get position, just do the little fundamental things right when it comes to rebounding," Scott Schultz said about facing the taller Lakers.