Huskies back at the B's, set to defend title
BRIDGEWATER--The approach has remained the same for the Bridgewater-Emery boys basketball team. The Huskies won last year's Class B state title with a 26-0 record and they returned a wealth of experience this season. Bridgewater-Emery returned th...
BRIDGEWATER-The approach has remained the same for the Bridgewater-Emery boys basketball team.
The Huskies won last year's Class B state title with a 26-0 record and they returned a wealth of experience this season. Bridgewater-Emery returned three starters, including two all-staters from the title team. Despite lofty expectations this season, the Huskies treated each game and opponent the same.
"We've tried to kind of do the same things and we've kind of talked the same ways we did last year, in terms of just looking at the next opponent and the next game and never getting too far ahead of ourselves," Bridgewater-Emery coach Scott Schultz said.
And now, Bridgewater-Emery is right back where it was last year at this time. The Huskies (20-3) are the No. 1 seed in the Class B state boys basketball tournament. Bridgewater-Emery plays No. 8 seed Lower Brule (16-7) at noon today in the opening round of the tourney.
"We hope it has a lot of value to it," Schultz said about the state tournament experience. "The guys are hopefully going to be a little bit more comfortable. We are hoping we can rely on a little bit of that experience to help us."
It's helped on the court during the regular season. The Huskies' winning streak reached 29 games, before dropping two games in the Mike Miller Classic against Prior Lake, Minnesota and Class A power Tea Area. Bridgewater-Emery's last defeat was against Sioux Valley-another Class A state tournament team-at the Hanson Classic. Bridgewater-Emery is currently on a 10-game winning streak.
The Huskies feature a balanced and potent offensive scoring attack. Junior all-state guard Sawyer Schultz averages 22.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and three steals per game. Junior all-state guard Jamin Arend records 14 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. Senior Cole Gassman made a speedy recovery from a September ACL injury and rejoined the Huskies in early February. He's averages nine points and 3.3 assists a game.
"They are pretty comfortable with each other and they understand where they each like to get to," coach Schultz said. "The three of them do mesh real well together out there on the perimeter."
Bridgewater-Emery's two starting post players-junior Carter Dye (6-foot-3) and senior Duot VanSickle (6-foot-4)-have formed a strong frontcourt this season. Dye logs 13.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, while VanSickle records 11 points and 7 boards a game.
"They've done a great job of controlling the middle and the lane and inside for us," coach Schultz said. "They do a great job rebounding and defensively, but they also score for us. They take a lot of pressure off of the three guards by those guys being able to score and be real aggressive offensively."
The Huskies average 71 points a game and will feature a similar high-scoring team today. Lower Brule averages 67 points and also relies on its speed.
"They have got a lot of really excellent athletes," coach Schultz said. "Their perimeter players are very good and they have two really nice players around the basket, too. They are built a lot like we are, in terms of their perimeter guys have some nice quickness and they defend pretty well."