Tigers clinch share of Big Dakota title
By Jay Davis
When a team is having a down year, you don’t want to let them hang around and suddenly think they can beat you. The Tigers took that notion to heart in Ft. Pierre on Tuesday. The Tigers jumped out to a 21-3 lead and ran off with a 76-44 win over Stanley County.
The Tigers’ 15th straight win guarantees at least a Big Dakota Conference co-championship. The Tigers are 6-0 in the Big Dakota with one game (at Winner) to play. Miller is 4-1 in the conference. The Rustlers play at Stanley County on Friday and host Winner on Monday.
The Tigers took care of business from the opening tip in Ft. Pierre on Tuesday. Mitch Heumiller, Daniel Roberts, Pearson Wientjes and Zach Dockter all scored before the Buffaloes got a field goal to make the score 14-3. Heumiller scored five more points as the lead quickly rose to 21-3. The Tigers led 26-7 after eight minutes of play.
“In the first quarter we got out and did what we wanted to do,” said coach Tim Frederick.
Frederick said the goal was to take the momentum from the second half of the Crow Creek game and carry it over. He felt that was accomplished in the first quarter.
The Tigers were not at their collective best the rest of the game, but they had plenty to keep extending the lead. They did get a bit sloppy on defense in the second quarter and sent Stanley County to the free throw line eight times.
“After we jumped out we kind of went into coast mode,” said Frederick. “We talked about it at halftime and had a decent third quarter.”
With Dockter scoring the first nine points, the Tigers opened the second half by running the lead up to as much as 30 points at 61-31.
Dockter led the Tigers with a game-high 27 points, including buzzer beating three-pointers at the end of the first and second quarters. Heumiller scored 19, Roberts 10 and Jason Hill nine.
Tucker Fischbach scored 14 points and Brady Washechek scored 10 to lead Stanley County.
After falling behind early, the Tigers came storming out of the locker room in the third quarter and went on to beat Crow Creek 63-51 in Stephan on Friday.
An early 4-0 lead did the Tigers no good. They went on to commit 10 turnovers in the first quarter and fell behind 17-10. They trailed by as much as 12 points at 26-14 before a 7-0 run late in the second quarter tightened the score. The Tigers still took a 28-21 deficit to the intermission.
“We came out and we were bad,” said Frederick. “It was one of those first quarter things where we weren’t on our toes. We were missing bunnies and fumbling the ball around.”
A different pride of Tigers hit the floor for the second half. The defense turned things around by forcing Crow Creek into 10 turnovers, while the offense rode the scoring of Dockter, Roberts and Heumiller. The trio scored the first 22 points of the quarter, including Dockter and Roberts combining for 11 points during a 12-2 run that gave the Tigers a 32-30 lead. Crow Creek regained the lead at 36-35, before Heumiller ignited a quarter-ending 13-3 run and the Tigers had control with a 48-39 lead.
“We made some adjustments and got it going in the third quarter,” said Frederick.
Frederick gave the defense a lot of the credit for the offense flying to a 27-point quarter.
“We cranked the defense up a level in the third quarter,” said Frederick. “The kids did a good job reading passes.”
The Tigers did not let the Chieftains threaten in the fourth quarter. After Crow Creek scored first to cut the lead to 48-41, the Tigers, and namely Heumiller, went on a 9-2 run that pushed the lead to 58-43. The Tigers made five of six free throws in the waning minutes to preserve the 12-point win.
Heumiller led the Tigers with 20 points, including 18 in the second half. Dockter used six-of-six free throw shooting for a 16-point night. Roberts scored all 10 of his points in the second half and added seven rebounds. Wientjes scored 10 points on five of six shooting.
Claye Thunder Horse hit five three-pointers to lead Crow Creek with 15 points. Corey Bishop scored 14 points, but just four in the second half.
A perfect Big Dakota Conference season is on the line when the Tigers square off against the Winner Warriors on Friday.
“This is gold for our kids,” said Frederick. “It’s going to be like district basketball. It’s going to be a clash of two quality basketball teams who are playing their best basketball right now.”
Winner is just 8-8, but the Warriors are on a roll with five straight wins.
While the Tigers are 27-22 all-time against the Warriors, Winner has won five of the last six, including a 66-38 win at Scherr-Howe Arena last season. Beating the Warriors has conference implications. The Tigers beat Winner at home in 2010 to win a share of the BDC title. The last time the Tigers beat the Warriors in Winner was during the Big Dakota Conference winning 2004-05 season.
On Monday, the Tigers will return to Mobridge-Pollock High School Gymnasium to host Cheyenne-Eagle Butte in the regular season finale. The Tigers edged the Braves 58-52 in Eagle Butte on Jan. 29 and hold a 59-48 lead in the all-time series.
“I like ending the regular season with Winner and Cheyenne-Eagle Butte,” said Frederick.
Mobridge-Pollock (15-3) 26 40 61 76
Stanley County (2-15) 7 18 34 44
Mobridge-Pollock: Zach Dockter 10 4-4 27, Cody Schaefbauer 0 0-0 0, Pearson Wientjes 3 1-1 7, Daniel Roberts 5 0-0 10, Mitch Heumiller 8 2-5 19, Jason Hill 4 1-2 9, Mason Keller 1 0-0 2, Tyler Villbrandt 1 0-0 2, Totals 32 8-12 76.
Stanley County: Brady Washechek 3 4-6 10, Blake Onken 1 4-4 6, Dalton Shrake 2 0-1 4, Tucker Fischbach 4 4-6 14, Kevin Anderson 3 1-2 7, Kaiden Karst 0 1-2 1, Colten Dragaset 1 0-0 2, Totals 14 14-21 44.
3-point field goals: Mobridge-Pollock 4 (Dockter 3, Heumiller); Stanley County 2 (Fischbach 2). Rebounds: Mobridge-Pollock 33; Stanley County 24. Total fouls: Mobridge-Pollock 19 (Schaefbauer out); Stanley County 13. Turnovers: Mobridge-Pollock 10; Stanley County 16.
Mobridge-Pollock (14-3) 10 21 48 63
Crow Creek (6-11) 17 28 39 51
Mobridge-Pollock: Zach Dockter 5 6-6 16, Cody Schaefbauer 0 1-2 1, Pearson Wientjes 5 0-0 10, Daniel Roberts 4 2-5 10, Mitch Heumiller 7 4-6 20, Jason Hill 2 0-0 4, Mason Keller 1 0-0 2, Totals 24 13-19 63.
Crow Creek: Jason Shields 2 0-0 5, Claye Thunder Horse 5 0-0 15, Corey Bishop 5 4-5 14, Tyan Arrow 1 0-0 3, Barker Evans 1 0-0 2, Marquel Thompson 2 1-2 5, Tyler Grassrope 3 1-1 7, Totals 19 6-8 51.
3-point field goals: Mobridge-Pollock 1 (Heumiller); Crow Creek 7 (Thunder Horse 5, Shields, Arrow). Rebounds: 23 (Roberts 7, Heumiller 5, Schaefbauer 5); Crow Creek 26. Assists: Mobridge-Pollock 8 (Heumiller 3); Crow Creek 8. Steals: Mobridge-Pollock 16 Dockter 4, Heumiller 3, Wientjes 3, Schaefbauer 3); Crow Creek 9. Blocked shots: Mobridge-Pollock 2; Crow Creek 3. Total fouls: Mobridge-Pollock 11; Crow Creek 16 (Evans out). Turnovers: Mobridge-Pollock 28; Crow Creek 29.