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Second-quarter surge, Aiden Lieber’s big night boost Mitchell Christian over Colman-Egan

Golden Eagles advance to Region 4B quarterfinals at Howard

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Mitchell Christian's Aiden Lieber (30) looks to finish at the basket through contact from Colman-Egan's Sawyer Uhing (4) during the first half of a Region 4B first round boys basketball contest on Feb. 28, 2022, at Mitchell Christian School.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — Powered by sophomore guard Aiden Lieber’s 33 points, 17 of which came in a 23-11 second quarter, the Mitchell Christian boys basketball team took down Colman-Egan, 69-59, in a Region 4B first-round playoff matchup on Monday night.

Colman-Egan seized the momentum early, going on a 14-0 run to take a 17-8 lead in the first quarter, but the Hawks didn’t stay in the lead for long.

The Golden Eagles scored the final four points of the first quarter, which started a 27-7 spurt that put MCS ahead by as much as 35-24 late in the first half. Lieber led the charge, dropping in more than half of his game-high point total in the second quarter — including a 9 of 12 mark at the free-throw line in the frame — as the Golden Eagles led 35-28 at the break.

“The biggest thing we talked about (between quarters) was energy and relaxing a bit,” said MCS coach Jesse Tolsma. “You get to the postseason and kids are anxious and excited to play. There’s a lot of energy out there, which is good, so I thought we did a really good job of coming out in the second quarter and focusing that energy.”

MCS came out and grew the lead behind a 17-11 third quarter on the back of eight points from Lieber and three 3-point field goals between Micah Frey and Joseph Tegethoff. The trio of Lieber, Frey and Tegethoff accounted for all 52 Golden Eagle points through 24 minutes of play.

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Despite a 20-point fourth-quarter effort by Colman-Egan, the Golden Eagles closed out the contest by matching the Hawks for much of the period, aided by 6 of 8 free-throw shooting as a team.

“In the postseason nobody goes away. They’re going to fight and claw, and Colman-Egan did that,” Tolsma said. “But in that second half, we were just able to focus on defensively controlling the game and closing it out by making free throws down the stretch.”

Lieber added seven rebounds, six assists and six steals to his 33-point outing, while Tegethoff tossed in 16 points on the strength of three triples along with three rebounds and four steals. Frey notched 14 points and eight rebounds, as Anders Enga grabbed a team-high nine rebounds for the Golden Eagles (7-14).

“It was fun to see Aiden have that success,” Tolsma said. “He’s been a big piece for us all year and him being aggressive really helps us. It was also really fun to see the whole team shooting with confidence and stepping into that, especially at this time of the year, not shying away from the moment.”

Colman Egan (3-18) was led by 17 points from Antonio Manzano, with Ben Zwart and Sawyer Uhing adding 11 and nine points, respectively.

Next up for MCS is a trip to take on Howard (16-4), Region 4B’s No. 1 seed. Tolsma acknowledges it will be a steep challenge for his eighth-seeded Golden Eagles, but hopes the team can take Monday night’s effort and apply some of it against the Tigers.

“It’ll be a fun challenge [Tuesday] night. Howard’s got a really good team,” Tolsma said. “The nice part is hopefully we built some confidence we can carry over. … We have no pressure [Tuesday] night. That’s the fun part. We get to come out and focus on coming out and competing with the same type of energy and focus.”

Related Topics: BOYS BASKETBALLPREP SPORTS
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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