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Strong second half carries Warriors over Titans

RAPID CITY--In what coach Brett Gardner described as a "pride game," the Winner boys basketball team rose to the occasion. Facing a six-point halftime deficit, the No. 7 Warriors outscored No. 6 Mount Vernon/Plankinton 40-24 in the second half an...

Winner's Cameron Kuil, left, goes up for a shot as Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Dane Rihanek, right, tries to defend him during the Class A state boys basketball tournament on Friday at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City. (Eric Mayer/Republic)
Winner's Cameron Kuil, left, goes up for a shot as Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Dane Rihanek, right, tries to defend him during the Class A state boys basketball tournament on Friday at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City. (Eric Mayer/Republic)

RAPID CITY-In what coach Brett Gardner described as a "pride game," the Winner boys basketball team rose to the occasion.

Facing a six-point halftime deficit, the No. 7 Warriors outscored No. 6 Mount Vernon/Plankinton 40-24 in the second half and earned a 70-60 win in the consolation semifinals at the Class A state boys basketball tournament on Friday at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.

"We really defended well in the second half and that led to points," Winner head coach Brett Gardner said. "We scored 70 points, but it was because of defense. The offense will come from our defense."

Winner (19-6) will face No. 4 Sioux Valley in the fifth-place game at 2:45 p.m. today, while MVP (16-8) takes on No. 8 Aberdeen Roncalli in the seventh-place game at 1 p.m. today in Rapid City.

"We played a really good first half and we just couldn't sustain it in the second half," MVP head coach Eric Denning said. "We really got hurt on the boards. We were getting some stops, but there were times that they were just shooting until they made it."

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The Warriors dominated the glass, outrebounding the Titans 37-17 and Winner pulled down 13 offensive rebounds in the win.

"Going into the game, we talked about how the rebounding battle and turnover battle would be the two biggest keys," Garnder said. "We were able to double them up on rebounds by boxing out and wanting it. We made it our mindset that we were going to outrebound them and we did."

Winner senior Devon Leiferman scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for a double-double, while Drew DeMers added 16 points and Lattrel Terkildsen chipped in 13 points. The Warriors went 28-of-56 from the field for 50 percent, 5-of-13 from behind the arc for 38 percent and 9-of-15 from the line for 60 percent shooting.

"He's a nice player," Denning said about Leiferman. "He can go off the dribble and rise up over the top of you, he can go inside and play, and he can shoot the three, so he's a tough matchup for anybody."

The Titans started sluggish, falling behind the Warriors 9-0 and not scoring their first point until 2 minutes and 20 second into the game. From there, the Titans picked up the pace and raced out to a 17-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The two teams battled back-and-forth and exchanged leads in the second quarter before a pair of Titan 3-pointers in the final minutes gave MVP a 36-30 halftime lead.

"We gave up 36 points in the first half and that was too much," Gardner said. "We held them to seven points in the third quarter and then 14 points until a late 3-pointer to make it 24 points in the second half."

Tate Deinert led the Titans with 18 points, while Hayden Schmidt and Cody Muilenburg each added 12 points. MVP shot 34 percent from the field (16-of-46), 34 percent from deep (8-of-23) and 80 percent from the line (20-of-25).

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Heading into the final day of the tournament, Gardner said his team wants to bring home a consolation championship.

"The biggest key will be rebounding because Sioux Valley prides themselves on rebounding," Gardner said. "It's going to come down to men-against-men, who is going to get the rebound."

For Denning and the Titans, who have lost five consecutive games at the state tournament in the past two years, a chance to end the season with a victory is enough to play for.

"We have to go out and play really well," Denning said. "Our style of play is really hard to maintain over three days, but these kids are fighters and they will go to battle."

W 15 30 49 70

MVP 17 36 43 60

Winner (19-6)

Krockett Krolikowski 3-7 0-1 6, Wyatt Ewing 0-1 0-0 0, Chase Kingsbury 0-1 0-0 0, Isaac Naasz 0-0 0-2 0, Cameron Kuil 3-3 0-0 6, William Schroeder 0-0 0-0 0, Devon Leiferman 11-23 3-4 26, Riley Calhoon 0-0 0-0 0, Trevor Bertram 1-4 0-0 3, Luke Engel 0-0 0-0 0, Drew DeMers 6-11 3-4 16, Lattrel Terkildsen 4-6 3-4 13, Brandon Vollmer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-56 9-15 70

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Mount Vernon/Plankinton (16-8)

Jesse Muilenburg 0-0 0-0 0, Devin Rihanek 3-10 2-2 9, Kyle Koch 0-1 0-0 0, Marcus Hill 1-1 0-0 3, Cole Sonne 0-0 0-0 0, Taylen Trisco 1-1 1-2 3, Jacob Clark 0-0 0-0 0, Sean Sampson 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Graves 0-1 0-0 0, Dane Rihanek 1-2 0-0 3, Tate Deinert 3-8 11-13 18, Cody Muilenburg 4-12 2-4 12, Hayden Schmidt 3-10 4-4 12. Totals 16-46 20-25 60

FG%: Winner .500, Mt. Vernon/Plankinton .348. 3-pt FG:Winner 5-13 (Leiferman 1-5, Bertram 1-2, DeMers 1-4, Terkildsen 2-2), Mt. Vernon/Plankinton 8-23 (Rihanek 1-2, Hill 1-1, Graves 0-1, Rihanek 1-2, Deinert 1-3, Muilenburg 2-6, Schmidt 2-8). Rebounds: Winner 38 (Leiferman 16), Mt. Vernon/Plankinton 17 (Deinert 4, Muilenburg 4, Schmidt 4). Fouls Winner 21, Mt. Vernon/Plankinton 19. Fouled out: none. Technical: none. Assists: Winner 12 (Kuil 4, DeMers 4), Mt. Vernon/Plankinton 11 (Rihanek 4). Steals: Winner 2 (DeMers 2), Mt. Vernon/Plankinton 3 (Schmidt 3). Blocked shots: Winner 5 (Leiferman 3), Mt. Vernon/Plankinton 2 (Deinert 1, Muilenburg 1). Turnovers: Winner 9, Mt. Vernon/Plankinton 7.

Related Topics: BOYS BASKETBALLMOUNT VERNON
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