Kalen Garry said De Smet played its best defensive game of the year.
The sophomore guard was pretty good, too.
Garry pumped in 30 points and hit six 3-pointers as No. 2 De Smet defeated No. 1 Viborg-Hurley 67-56 on Saturday at the Corn Palace.
In addition to Garry’s 30-point performance, the Bulldogs held the Cougars to their lowest scoring output of the season. De Smet also out-rebounded the Cougars, 30-23, at the Hanson Classic showdown.
“We just played our best defense of the year and we had a great night of basketball,” said Garry, who finished 11 of 16 from the field and 6 of 8 shooting 3-pointers.
The Bulldogs (8-1) used some late-game defense to close out the victory. De Smet led 55-37 entering the fourth quarter, but the Cougars came storming back and chopped the deficit to 57-51 with two minutes left.
“It was a fun atmosphere and I was happy to see the kids respond the way they did in the fourth,” Viborg-Hurley coach Galen Schoenefeld said. “It’s just unfortunate we couldn't quite make one or two more plays to totally get over the hump.”
Garry’s 28th point put De Smet back ahead, 59-51, with 1:45 remaining. Sophomore big Tory Holland then stuffed a Viborg-Hurley breakaway layup to keep the margin at eight points.
Holland finished with 20 points and eight boards to complement Garry’s scoring output.
“He had some big blocks at the end of the game and had a great defensive effort,” Garry said. “He took the ball to the rim very well. He just had a great game. The same with the rest of my teammates.”
After Holland’s blocked shot, Garry drew a charge and the Bulldogs closed out the game at the free-throw line.
“We always say weather the storm before the game and whatever happens,” De Smet coach Jeff Gruenhagen said. “... It’s good for them to grow up in that big stage.”
Viborg-Hurley (8-1) was paced by Shane Andersen’s 18 points. Gradee Sherman finished with 13 points and Eli Boomgarden added 10 points.
Garry tossed in 21 points in the first half as De Smet held a 33-31 advantage at halftime. The Bulldogs then erupted in the third quarter with a 22-6 run to seize control.
“We got away too much from what we do and obviously De Smet’s defense had a part in that, too,” Schoenefeld said.
Boomgarden hounded Garry in the second half and limited him to nine points in the second half. But that led to more opportunities for Holland.
“Tory had a huge game tonight and even for being in a little bit of foul trouble,” Gruenhagen said. “I thought he was just huge. He got beat off the dribble a couple of times, but never gave up and came from behind and got a couple of blocks.”
Viborg-Hurley plays Bridgewater-Emery on Tuesday in Emery. De Smet hosts Elkton-Lake Benton on Thursday.