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Fast start paces Potter County in Class B SoDak 16 victory over Ethan

No. 4 Battlers take down No. 13 Rustlers to advance to Class B state tournament

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Ethan's Riley Endres (1) brings the ball up the floor while defended by Potter County's Cooper Logan (0) and Ryder Falkenhagen (5) during the first half of a SoDak 16 boys basketball contest on March 8, 2022, at the Redfield High School.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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REDFIELD, S.D. — With a trip to the Class B state tournament awaiting the winner, a dominant first quarter and the Potter County duo of Cooper Logan and Grant Luikens were too much for Ethan on Tuesday night.

No. 4 Potter County (22-1) led for all but the opening 10 seconds of the contest, running out to a 78-47 SoDak 16 victory over No. 13 Ethan (16-7) behind 52 points between Logan and Luikens in front of a packed gym at Redfield Junior-Senior High School.

“We put a lot of things on the board in that locker room — things that we had to do if we were going to come out of here with a win,” said Ethan coach Bryce Roth. “There were a lot more things crossed out than there were checkmarks. Certainly, Potter County is a good team that does a lot of really good things, but there were a lot of things we could’ve taken care of ourselves that we weren’t able to do.”

Early on, it was the Potter County defense that stood out, as the Battlers held Ethan scoreless for the first 3:50 until a Taite Klumb putback put the Rustlers on the scoreboard.

But Klumb’s second-chance basket would be the only field goal of the opening frame for the 13th-seeded Rustlers, who trailed 15-3 after eight minutes, with 11 points from Luikens and Seth Sharp leading the way for Potter County.

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Ethan made a small push in the early moments of the second quarter, cutting an 18-3 deficit to 20-9, but Potter County stretched out the advantage again, with 25 combined points between Logan and Luikens powering a 35-15 halftime lead.

The Rustlers surged again in the third quarter, matching their first-half output in the first five minutes of the period and pulling within 40-30 on a jump shot by Jay Storm.

“Everything we talked about needing to do to win, we did in the third quarter to cut that 20 points lead to 10 points,” Roth said. “That’s right where you want to be. This team proved all year that they’re not out of any game and you saw glimpses of that. … We just couldn’t sustain it.”

However, that’s as close as the lower-seeded team would come, as a quarter-closing 15-3 run put Ethan in a 55-33 hole it couldn’t pull itself out from.

Luikens led all scorers with 27 points, with Logan not far behind at 25 points. Sharp, the Battlers’ third double-digit scorer, fishing with 10 points, alongside six points from Drake Bassett.

“When we were able to play half-court style, we did pretty darn well defensively,” Roth said with regards to Luikens and Logan. “But their strengths are getting out in transition and speeding up the game. When they did that, they caught fire and showed just how good of players they are.”

The Rustlers got a team-high 17 points from Storm and 16 from Riley Endres, as Kody Klumb chipped in seven points for the Rustlers, who end their season with a 16-7 record.

Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at ldierks@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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