Corsica-Stickney spent most of its afternoon playing catch-up to Aberdeen Christian.
The Knights burst out to early leads to start each half on Saturday at the Corn Palace, forcing the Jaguars to claw their way back. Corsica-Stickney coach Mike Tuschen liked the Jaguars’ fight, which saw it take a short-lived lead in the second quarter, but Aberdeen never fully relinquished control in a 70-59 win during the Hanson Classic.
It weathered tough stretches and adapted throughout the game to pick up its 10th win of the season.
“I was really proud in our guys in the sense that when (Corsica-Stickney) did make runs, we would hit shots or do little things and get to the rim to stop their runs,” Aberdeen coach David Rohrbach said.
Aberdeen (10-2) made the first run, though. It scored the first 11 points and held Corsica-Stickney (7-3) scoreless for the first 4 minutes, 12 seconds. From there -- a 20-11 first-quarter lead for Aberdeen -- it was a game of adjustments.
Corsica-Stickney switched to a zone defense, enticing the Knights into taking quick 3-pointers. Even with an evident height advantage, Aberdeen’s willingness to take long, quick shots didn’t waver. It led to fastbreak chances for the Jaguars, who shot 57.1 percent from the field in the first half.
“Just seemed like they were getting layups and getting by us,” Tuschen said. “We didn’t keep them contained, keep them in front of us. You have to try something different instead of letting them get to the basket.”
Brendan Wentland, who scored 11 of his team-high 16 points in the second quarter, made a pair of free throws to tie the game at 28-28 with three minutes left in the half. Cooper DeLange gave Corsica-Stickney its only lead of the contest, 33-32, though Jared Pearson, who finished with 10 points, hit a jumper to give Aberdeen a one-point halftime advantage.
At halftime, the Knights made the winning adjustment. They emphasized better ball movement, and it showed right away. It opened on an 11-4 run, highlighted by making a trio of 3-pointers.
“I thought we executed really well out of halftime (against) the zone,” Rohrbach said. “Our first few possessions were about as good as we could’ve wanted them to go, just moving the ball.”
As the Knights settled in against the zone, their 3-pointers started falling again. It went 7-for-9 from beyond the arc after the break, including Andrew Rohrbach making three in the fourth quarter during his 24-point performance.
Jackson Isakson went 3-for-7 from deep for 13 points for the Knights, who shot 51 percent in the game and 11-for-25 from 3. Brent Ekanger scored 12 points and nine rebounds.
“We just have to understand as a basketball team, it’s a game of runs,” Tuschen said. “When they make a run on you, then you have to change the momentum by getting some stops and making a run back at them.”
Corsica-Stickney didn’t have another run in it, with the Knights’ lead hovering around double digits for much of the fourth quarter. Hayden Plamp scored 15 points and Jaylen Kemp added 12 points for the Jaguars. Wentland grabbed seven rebounds.
Aberdeen Christian Knights play Herreid/Selby Area on Tuesday in Herreid. Corsica-Stickney Jaguars travel to Menno on Friday.
Aberdeen Christian 70, Corsica-Stickney 59
Aberdeen Christian (10-2): Jackson Isakson 4-8 2-3 13, Andrew Rohrbach 7-13 5-7 24, Jared Pearson 4-8 1-1 10, Brent Ekanger 6-9 0-3 12, Jett Becker 3-5 0-0 8, Andrew Brennan 1-1 1-1 3, Malek Wieker 0-4 0-0 0, Kaden Clark 0-1 0-0 0, Joey Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Team totals: 25-49 9-15 70.
Corsica-Stickney (7-3): Brendan Wentland 4-11 4-4 16, Cooper DeLage 1-4 2-4 4, Jaylen Kempf 1-6 10-14 12, Trever Burke 4-9 0-0 8, Hayden Plamp 7-9 0-2 15, Bryce Bordewyk 1-1 0-2 3, Adam Joachim 0-1 0-0 0, Bradyn Denning 0-0 0-0 0, Mason Odens 0-0 1-2 1, Caleb Krogstad 0-0 0-0 0. Team totals: 18-41 17-28 59.
AC 20 34 51 70
CS 11 33 46 59
3-pointers: AC 11-25 (Rohrbach 5-9, Isakson 3-7, Becker 2-3, Pearson 1-2, Ekanger 0-1, Wieker 0-3); CS 6-15 (Wentland 4-8, Plamp 1-1, Bordewyk 1-1, Kemp 0-3, Burke 0-2). Rebounds: AC 33 (Ekanger 9, Rohrbach 7); CS 24 (Wentland 7). Assists: AC 16 (Rohrbach 7); CS 13 (Wentland 3, Kemp 3, Burke 3). Blocked shots: AC 1, CS 0. Steals: AC 3; CS 5 (Wentland 2). Turnovers: AC 11, CS 11. Total fouls: AC 17, CS 15.