Hot Springs uses defense, timely shooting to knock out Winner in Class A SoDak 16
The Bison earned their first trip to the Class A state tournament since 2019.
CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. — Four big free throws punctuated a trip to the Class A state tournament for Hot Springs.
On two different occasions with under a minute left, the 11th-seeded Bison stepped to the free-throw line up two points and made a pair of free throws, icing the game en route to a 47-43 win over No. 6 Winner in the Class A SoDak 16 state-qualifier game in Chamberlain on Tuesday night.
The Bison earned their first trip to the Class A state tournament since 2019 — when they also took down Winner in the SoDak 16 — and their second trip to the state tournament since 1945.
Hot Springs knocked down eight 3-pointers on the night, with six coming in the second half — three each from Camron Maciejewski and Josh Kleinsasser. The 3-point looks were the result of the Bison setting a screen and popping out to the 3-point line after setting the screen rather than rolling to the basket, according to Winner coach Brett Gardner.
Even still, he was pleased with how his squad contested the shots, but said the Bison were just knocking them down.
“It was demoralizing because you would defend for 30 seconds and then they would pop that 3-pointer," Gardner said. "For the most part, every shot was with a hand in the face and they made plays. It’s hats off to them."
The Bison jumped out to an early lead but the Warriors came back and tied the game at 20 by halftime. Blake Volmer scored 18 of his 24 points across the second and third quarter for Winner, helping the Warriors take a 36-34 lead to the fourth.
“Blake Volmer really took over and willed us to stay in the game,” Gardner said of the senior. “He is special. … He was trying to will us to a victory, making those pull-up jumpers, (he) hit a big-time 3. He cares about the Winner Warriors more than anything. He cares about his teammates, and he didn’t want this season to come to an end.”
From there, though, Hot Springs outscored the Warriors 13-7, led by eight fourth-quarter points from Maciejewski. He made two 3-pointers in the final frame, while Kleinsasser accounted for another.
“We just got a lot of guys that can shoot the ball,” Hot Springs coach Aaron Noteboom said. “They play hard and they play together. They believe in each other and they trust each other on the floor, and I think that showed.”
Hot Springs’ defense kept Winner (21-2) out of rhythm, Gardner said, forcing 11 turnovers and limiting Winner to 37% (15 of 40) shooting from the floor and 22% (4 of 18) from 3-point range. Gardner gave a nod to his defense, though, which held Hot Springs to 33% (17 of 50) shooting from the floor.
Maciejewski finished with 18 points for Hot Springs (19-4), going 4-for-9 from 3-point range, while Kleinsasser chipped in 15. Norman Chasing Hawk IV was the second-leading scorer for Winner with six points.
“They played really well,” Gardner said of the Bison. “They were physical, they defended. … We defended really well. They defended a little better.”