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Chargers defeat Beavers in top-ranked battle

PARKSTON -- At the start, the contest between No. 1 Sully Buttes and No. 2 Hanson didn't look like a battle of the top two Class B girls basketball teams in the state. Especially not after a 22-4 Charger advantage with one quarter gone in the game.

Hanson's Megan Guericke, right, makes a pass during the first half of the Beavers' game against Sully Buttes Monday at the Parkston Classic at the Parkston Armory. (Marcus Traxler/Republic)
Hanson's Megan Guericke, right, makes a pass during the first half of the Beavers' game against Sully Buttes Monday at the Parkston Classic at the Parkston Armory. (Marcus Traxler/Republic)

PARKSTON - At the start, the contest between No. 1 Sully Buttes and No. 2 Hanson didn't look like a battle of the top two Class B girls basketball teams in the state. Especially not after a 22-4 Charger advantage with one quarter gone in the game.

But the Beavers rallied from that 18-point hole and held a lead after three quarters before Sully Buttes took the lead and the game for good in the final frame, holding off Hanson for a 55-51 victory at the Parkston Girls Basketball Classic Monday at a packed Parkston Armory.

Hanson's pressure defense helped them get back into the game, trimming the lead to nine points at halftime and then taking the lead at the end of the third quarter when Hannah Marquardt bagged a 3-pointer at the horn for a 42-40 lead.

A quick 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter for the Chargers gave them the lead that would last for the remainder of the game. Sully Buttes' Olivia Rausch hit a three-point play with 2:40 left in the game that stretched the lead to 51-44 and the Chargers held on to the victory.

"They're a very good team and anyone who watches Class B basketball knows they weren't going to quit," said Sully Buttes coach Mark Senftner about Hanson. "They were going to make their run. We needed this and they needed this and I think it will make both teams better."

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Sully Buttes rattled off the first 14 points of the game before Hanson was able to get on the board with a free throw and the Beavers went more than seven minutes without a made field goal, a 3-pointer from Kynedi Cheeseman.

"I just expected us to start the game better than that," said Hanson coach Jim Bridge. "Pressure is a privilege and I don't know if we were under pressure here but we came out and we just played a little afraid and a little scared at the start."

"I don't think there was anything we did really well that caught them off guard," Senftner said. "We were just really aggressive and went toward the basket. We're still a work in progress and have tons to do to be a complete team."

Bridge also expressed frustration at the Beavers' inability to make free throws down the stretch. They missed all four of their free throws in the fourth quarter and were 12-of-19 for the game at the line.

"We dug our hole and we just didn't do the little things that we needed to do," he said. "We had them on the run with foul trouble and we just didn't make our free throws that would have helped us."

Cheeseman had 21 points in the contest to lead all scorers. Freshman Megan Guericke added 10 points for Hanson (6-1). The Beavers had 15 turnovers and brought in 19 rebounds.

The Chargers (4-0) were led with 15 points from Wientjes and 13 points and eight rebounds from Chloe Lamb. Both were all-state players a year ago as sophomores.

For the Chargers, they found themselves in a familiar spot entering Monday's game. It was a year ago at the Parkston Classic that the Sully Buttes girls were a top-5 team playing an undefeated foe. No. 4 Ethan beat No. 3 Sully Buttes 48-42 and the two teams met three months later in the Class B championship game, when the Rustlers won the title tilt, as well.

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Could Monday's game have been a similar preview of what would happen in March? Bridge said he couldn't see anyone else in the state who could be considered the favorites ahead of Sully Buttes. He would like the Beavers to stay in the conversation.

"I would certainly trade in a loss here tonight to be able to play them again in March, without a doubt," he said.

Hanson (6-1) 4 27 42 51

Sully Buttes (4-0) 22 36 40 55

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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