Hoop City Classic roundup for Dec. 29: Howard holds off Bearcats in Sioux Falls

Day 2 action takes place in Sioux Falls

From left, Freeman Academy's Connor Epp attempts to steal the ball from Howard's Ryder Erickson in a Hoop City Classic boys basketball game on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

SIOUX FALLS -- Howard held on late to give Freeman Academy/Marion its first loss of the season in boys basketball action 56-53 Wednesday at the Hoop City Classic at the Sanford Pentagon. The Tigers led 54-46 with 2:52 remaining in the game before the Bearcats got it to within one point a minute later but could never overtake Howard for the win. Kolt Koepsell had a pair of free throws with 8 seconds left to extend the lead to three points and FAM couldn’t get a shot off in the final seconds to tie.

Howard (3-1): Brayden Hinker had 13 points and six rebounds to lead the Tigers, while Luke Koepsell had 10 points and six rebounds in the win. Ryder Erickson added nine and Jace Sifore had eight points and 10 rebounds in the Howard victory, in which Howard was 13-for-22 shooting in the first half and finished at 50 percent for the game, plus converted 6 of its 8 3-point attempts. The Tigers host Colman-Egan on Jan. 3 in Howard.

Freeman Academy/Marion (3-1): Donte Butler led all scorers with 15 points for the Bearcats, who also got 11 points from Thalen Schroeder and 10 points and seven rebounds from Connor Epp. The Bearcats were 6-for-24 from 3-point territory and 5-for-11 at the free-throw line. FAM hosts Oldham-Ramona/Rutland on Jan. 4 in Freeman.

Lower Brule 63, Viborg-Hurley 58

SIOUX FALLS -- In a battle of Class B ranked foes at the Hoop City Classic, fourth-ranked Lower Brule ran past No. 5 Viborg-Hurley Wednesday at the Sanford Pentagon.

Lower Brule (5-0): Keshaume Thigh scored 20 points and added seven assists and six rebounds for the Sioux, with Gavin Thigh scoring 14 points and adding five rebounds, with Brian LaRoche adding 14 points and five assists. The Sioux hit 9-of-16 3-pointers and overcame 22 turnovers in the game, but had 11 steals as a team. Lower Brule is back in action on Dec. 30 at the Huron Holiday Classic against Clark/Willow Lake.


Viborg-Hurley (3-2): Hayden Gilbert scored 19 points from off the bench on 8-for-19 shooting, while Blake Schroedermeier had 18 points, including four 3-pointers, as V-H made 7-of-14 3-pointers as a team. Gage Goettertz finished with 10 points and six rebounds for the Cougars, who host Hanson on Jan. 6.

Houston (Tenn.)'s Brock Vice puts up a shot against Thunder Basin (Wyo.) in a Hoop City Classic boys basketball game on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

Houston (Tenn.) 75, Sioux Falls Jefferson 66 (OT)

SIOUX FALLS -- Down 62-50 with 3:50 remaining, Houston, Tennessee rallied to score the final 12 points of regulation and send the game with Sioux Falls Jefferson to overtime, where Houston opened with a 11-0 run and put their Hoop City Classic contest away.

Houston (8-8): Playing for the second time on Wednesday, Houston got a second double-double of the day from Brock Vice, who had 18 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks, including a handful of big plays late in the game, including the game-tying basket late in the fourth quarter. Kameron Clark had 19 points, seven rebounds and four steals and Ryan Mitchell had 13 points for the Mustangs. Maverick Miller had 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Kylan Clark had 11 points off the bench. Houston outrebounded Jefferson, 40-29 for the game, including 15 offensive rebounds.

Sioux Falls Jefferson (2-3): Four Jefferson players finished in double-figure scoring, led by Kaden Year, who had 17 points and seven rebounds. Mason Riley had 14 points, six rebounds and five steals and Taylen Ashley had 13 points and nine assists. Griffin Wilde had 13 points for the Cavaliers, who shot 50 percent in the first half but shot 32.3 percent over the second half and overtime. Jefferson, in their first year as a program, held a 38-29 halftime lead in the game. Jefferson hosts Sioux Falls Christian on Jan. 4.

First Assembly Christian (Tenn.) 71, Sioux Falls Christian 57

SIOUX FALLS -- First Assembly Christian trailed 12-4 midway through the first quarter but did not blink in facing Class A No. 5 Sioux Falls Christian on Wednesday night at the Hoop City Classic, winning the quarter 23-15 and building a 44-23 halftime lead en route to a boys basketball victory.

FACS (9-1): The Crusaders’ T.J. Thomas had 21 points and 11 assists and five steals, while Daniel Egbuniwe had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Alex Harris had 11 points, as FACS shot 66.7 percent in the first half (18-for-27) and finished shooting 52.7% in the win. The Crusaders, who are 2-0 in the HCC, will face Aberdeen Christian on Thursday in Sioux Falls.


Sioux Falls Christian (2-3): Logan Schipper and Brooks Nelson each had 15 points for the Chargers, who picked up eight points from Tayton Snyder. SFC was 8-for-18 on 3-point shots and won the rebounding battle, 29-26, but could not overcome 17 turnovers. The Chargers will face Sioux Falls Jefferson on Jan. 4 in a road game.

Lennox 66, Garretson 43

SIOUX FALLS -- Lennox hit 11 3-pointers, tying a Hoop City Classic team record, in a victory over Garretson in boys basketball action Wednesday at the Sanford Pentagon.

Lennox (4-1): Porter Ihnen had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Orioles to lead all players. Off the bench, Connor Eich had 15 points, including four 3-pointers for Lennox and Talan Diercks had eight points. Three other teams have made 11 3-pointers in a game in HCC history, joined by St. Anthony (Texas) and Bridgewater-Emery in 2016, plus Mountain Brook (Ala.) in 2018. Seven of the 3-pointers came in the second half, after Lennox had a 15-6 second quarter to break a 15-all tie after the first period. The Orioles host Mount Vernon/Plankinton on Jan. 4.

Garretson (2-3): Dylan Kindt had 15 points for the Blue Dragons, who shot 47.6% in the first half but were held to 6-for-22 shooting in the second half and were 1-for-7 from 3-point territory in the game. Cooper Long had 10 points for Garretson, which plays Castlewood on Dec. 31 in the Entringer Classic in Brookings.

Thunder Basin (Wyo.) 57, Houston (Tenn.) 52

SIOUX FALLS -- For a second day at the Hoop City Classic, Deegan Williams had a strong performance for the Thunder Basin High School boys basketball team, this time leading his team to a victory over Houston, Tennessee at the Sanford Pentagon Wednesday afternoon.

Thunder Basin (7-1): Williams finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Bolts, with Cade Ayers scoring 10 points, including a pair of free throws with 5 seconds left to salt away the game, a fitting finish to the game considering the Bolts were 15-for-21 at the free-throw line in the game and 10-for-28 on 3-point shots. Ryan Baker added nine points for Thunder Basin, which closes its stay in South Dakota with a fourth game for the week on Thursday against Brandon Valley in Sioux Falls.

Houston (7-8): Brock Vice had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Mustangs, with Mavrick Miller adding 10 points and eight rebounds. Ethan Phillips and Kameron Clark each had nine points as Houston outrebounded (30-20) and outshot (43% to 39%) Thunder Basin but committed 19 turnovers to the Bolts’ 10. The Mustangs were set to return Wednesday night for a game against Sioux Falls Jefferson at the Pentagon.

Girls basketball

Thunder Basin (Wyo.) 61, Elk Point-Jefferson 39

SIOUX FALLS -- A 20-9 second-quarter effort was followed up by a 16-5 third-quarter surge for Thunder Basin (Wyo.) in a Hoop City Classic girls basketball game Wednesday at the Sanford Pentagon.


Thunder Basin (6-2): Laney McCarty had 14 points for the Bolts, with 10 from Kambel Cox off the bench. Joelie Spelts had eight points, as did Attie Westbrook. Thunder Basin caused 21 EPJ turnovers in the win and rode a 16-for-28 first half shooting to victory, in which the Bolts led by 29 points at the end of the third quarter.

Elk Point-Jefferson (4-3): Kaitlyn VanRoekel had nine points for the Huskies, who were held to 34 percent shooting, including 27.6 percent in the first half. Nora Kastning had five points for EPJ, who was outrebounded 36-31. EPJ hosts West Central on Jan. 4 in Elk Point.

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
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