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Canistota edges SCW

Canistota's Connor Carlson (32) puts up a shot against Sanborn Central/Woonsocket's Tater Moody (50) and Jared Golhammer (32) on Saturday during the DWU/Culver's Classic at the Corn Palace. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

Sanborn Central/Woonsocket was without its leading scorer, but still gave Canistota all it could handle on Saturday at the Corn Palace.

The Hawks relied on their defense and made just enough plays down the stretch to put away the short-handed Blackhawks 41-37 during the Dakota Wesleyan University/Culver’s Classic.

“We struggled a little bit offensively and it was our defense that came up big tonight,” Canistota coach Pat Jolley said.

The Hawks (14-2) led from start to finish, but couldn’t shake the scrappy Blackhawks (13-5) down the stretch. SCW was even without sophomore guard Noah Dickson, who sustained a sprained ankle the night before and sat out Saturday’s game.

“It gave the rest of the kids some confidence that ‘Hey we can play with anyone’ and give it to Canistota,” SCW coach Rod Weber said. “They hit some big shots when they needed them.”

The Blackhawks had a chance to tie the game late, but Trent Kingsbury split a pair of free throws to make it 34-33 with 5-minutes and 41 seconds left. Ortman than drilled a 3-pointer after coming off the bench to give the Hawks a four-point lead.

“That three that he hit late in the fourth quarter was big because he just came off the bench,” Jolley said. “He sat for about the first three minutes and came in on the first possession and hit that three. That was a big shot.”

Jordan Lee converted a basket the next time down for Canistota and the Hawks closed it out at the free-throw line.

The Blackhawks missed a couple chances late that could have cut into the deficit.

“One of those nights where one basket can change the whole game,” Weber said. “Canistota stepped up and made the ones they needed to.”

Ortman paced the Hawks with 13 points, including seven of the first nine points to spark a 9-0 start. Connor Carlson added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Hawks.

Trey Weber and Tater Moody scored 12 points apiece for the Blackhawks. Moody added 10 rebounds as he stepped up in Dickson’s absence.

“He actually got the offense going for us the first quarter and I think that actually helped kind of relax everyone,” coach Weber said. “It’s great for a sophomore kid to come in and do that for us.”

SCW hosts Mitchell Christian on Thursday in Forestburg.

Canistota hosts Howard on Monday. The Hawks also play Irene-Wakonda and Colman-Egan this week as the postseason inches closer.

“It is going to be huge for seed points and everything,” Ortman said about the week ahead. “We have to come out firing every night and don’t take anyone for granted.”

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