Tigers upset Roncalli, finish fourth
By Jay Davis
On Dec. 10, the Tigers were 0-2 and looking back at an 11-point loss at Aberdeen Roncalli. Move forward three months and the Tigers had things completely turned around. Mobridge-Pollock defeated Aberdeen Roncalli by 15 points en route to a fourth-place finish at the State A Basketball Tournament in Rapid City over the weekend.
To some the Tigers were an overachieving team this year, but to head coach Tim Frederick, this season was the product of hard work, dedication and determination.
“If you look at our season as a whole, where it started and where it ended, a lot of people might think they overachieved,” said Frederick. “But if you look at what they did and how hard they worked to get there; this is where they should have been.”
Frederick said that his senior-laden Tigers had a great season, one that will be looked upon as a great memory in the future.
“This experience was unreal,” said Frederick. “I think the seniors will look back and be very appreciative of the experience and all the hard work they put in to make it happen.”
In a first round that featured two upsets, the Tigers put a nine-game losing streak against Aberdeen Roncalli to sleep with a 67-52 win over the Cavaliers.
“Roncalli was one of those games where everyone did what they have been doing and they did it well,” said Frederick.
The first few minutes of the game set the tempo for the Tigers. Zach Dockter made the tourney official by giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead on their first possession. Mitch Heumiller then hit a bomb to make it 5-0. Daniel Roberts followed with two straight hoops making it 9-0 in favor of the Tigers with 4:40 left in the first quarter. After Dominic King put the Cavaliers on the board with two free throws, the Tigers answered with Pearson Wientjes and Heumiller to make it 13-2. King hit Roncalli’s first field goal before Cody Schaefbauer notched two charity shots to give the Tigers a 15-4 lead. With that, all five Tigers had scored, while the Cavaliers had managed just four points, all from the same player. Roberts came up with two more field goals and Preston Frederick popped a three to give the Tigers a 22-7 lead after one quarter.
The Tigers’ outstanding opening eight minutes set the stage for a game that never showed glimpses of going awry. While Roncalli did outscore the Tigers 18-14 in the second quarter to cut the difference to 11, the Tigers responded by pushing the lead up to 15 points in the third quarter. The Tigers led by as much as 20 points at 29-9 in the second quarter before the Cavaliers went on a 16-7 run the rest of the half. Kendall Deutsch hit a three to start the second half, making the score 36-28, but the Tigers answered with Heumiller and Dockter to push the lead right back to double digits. The lead never fell below double digits the rest of the way.
The win over the Cavaliers was the Tigers’ first since the 2003-04 season when Mobridge went on to finish fifth in state. Before that the Tigers had not beaten the Cavaliers since the 1998-99 season.
“To beat Roncalli in the state tournament, that was a huge win for our program,” said Frederick. “The credit goes to my kids because there is always a coach’s game plan and the kids going out and following through. My kids have a lot of heart. They went out there and got shots and kept them off the board.”
Heumiller was an unstoppable force for the Tigers all night. The lone junior in the starting lineup scored a game-high 26 points. He shot 10 of 12 from the field and made all six of his shots in the second half. He was three of four from three-point land, while adding six assists and five rebounds. Roberts used an eight-point first quarter to finish with 12 points and seven rebounds. Dockter joined them in double figures with 10 points. Wientjes finished with six points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
For the record, the Tigers shot 59.6 percent from the field on 28 of 47 shooting, while holding Roncalli to 15 of 58 shooting for 26 percent. The Tigers controlled the boards with a 37-29 edge.
King led Roncalli with 15 points and eight rebounds. Deutsch scored another 15 points. Kory Schwan and Zach Andera combined for 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Tigers were not the only team to pull off the opening round upset. Number eight Platte-Geddes defeated number one seed and previously undefeated Clark-Willow Lake 66-51 in the tournament’s opening game. The win marked the first time the eight seed had beaten the one seed since Mobridge upset Armour 57-56 at the 1985 state tournament.
The Tigers could have used another quick start against Madison in the semifinals on Friday, but instead it went the other way. The eventual state champions opened the game on a 12-0 and never looked back. The Bulldogs beat the Tigers 66-30 before going on to beat Tea Area on Saturday in the championship game.
“Madison won the state championship, so obviously they are a very good ball team,” said Frederick.
The Tigers could not get anything going early. They had to settle for a Jason Hill three-pointer as their only points of the quarter and fell behind 19-3. The Bulldogs led by as much as 24-3 before Roberts scored five straight points and the Tigers started showing a semblance of offense. The gap, however, would not close. Madison led by 21 at the half and then went on a 22-4 run in the third quarter.
“We as a basketball team, when we’ve played teams that talented in the past, we’ve had a week to prepare for them,” said Frederick. “We’ve had time to learn to exploit their weaknesses and we didn’t have that time.”
Frederick added that playing on consecutive days is one of the beauties of state tournament play. He said that having time to prepare is why there are upsets on opening day, but they seldom happen on Friday and Saturday.
Hill came off the bench to lead the Tigers with eight points. Heumiller and Roberts scored five points each. Wientjes pulled down a team-leading six rebounds, while Heumiller added four boards and three assists.
Trae VandBerg led three Madison players in double figures with 15 points. Tyler Wiebe scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Jacob Giles scored 11 points. Jesse Brown added five points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
This was just the second time the Tigers and Bulldogs have ever played. Mobridge beat Madison 29-26 on its way to winning their second straight state title in the 1944 state tournament.
The Tigers had their opportunities in the first half, but could not get the lid off the basket and fell 47-34 to Platte-Geddes in the third-place game on Saturday.
“If we could have scored early the game could have been different,” said Frederick. “We made some runs in the second half, but we just couldn’t get it going.”
Frederick said he feels that the emotional win on Thursday and the tough, physical loss on Friday played a big part in the Tigers shooting just 15 of 50 and taking just two free throw shots.
“I think fatigue was a factor,” said Frederick.
Despite missing many scoring opportunities in the first half, the Tigers trailed just 22-18 at the half; but after a long halftime that included awards presentations for the previous game, the Tigers scored just four points in the third quarter and fell behind 36-22.
Dockter led the Tigers with 12 points. Heumiller scored nine. Wientjes added six points and grabbed seven rebounds. Wientjes led the Tigers in rebounding all three games.
Coby Johnson led Platte-Geddes with 23 points and six rebounds. Hunter Johnson followed with 10 points and seven boards.
This was the first time the Tigers played as Mobridge-Pollock vs. Platte-Geddes, but not the first time the two programs have met. Platte beat Mobridge 73-59 in the first round of the 2004 state tournament. They went on to take third place.
Although he had to say good-bye to his senior starters, Heumiller was given a chance to say hello to postseason honors when he was named to the All-Tournament team.
Heumiller was joined on the team by: Tyler Wiebe, Mason Sullivan and Trae VandBerg of state champion Madison; Connor Shaull, Mitchel Nissan and Riley Knutson of runner-up Tea Area; Coby Johnson of Platte-Geddes; Skyler Flatten of Clark-Willow Lake; Dominic King of Aberdeen Roncalli; Brandon Kemp of Spearfish; and Jeff LeBeau of Pine Ridge.
Mobridge-Pollock (19-5) 22 36 53 67
Aberdeen Roncalli (16-5) 7 25 38 52
Mobridge-Pollock: Zach Dockter 4 2-2 10, Pearson Wientjes 3 0-0 6, Cody Schaefbauer 2 2-5 6, Mitch Heumiller 10 3-4 26, Daniel Roberts 6 0-0 12, Preston Frederick 1 0-0 3, Jason Hill 2 0-0 4, Totals 28 7-11 67.
Aberdeen Roncalli: Kory Schwan 2 0-0 8, Kendal Deutsch 4 5-7 15, Zach Andera 1 5-6 7, Brayden McNeary 1 1-2 4, Dominic King 5 5-8 15, Zach Schaefbauer 0 2-2 2, Lucas Lorenz 1 0-0 2, Totals 15 18-25 52.
3-point field goals: Mobridge-Pollock 4 (Heumiller 3, Frederick); Aberdeen Roncalli 4 (Schwan 2, Deutsch 2). Rebounds: Mobridge-Pollock 37 (Wientjes 12, Roberts 7, Heumiller 5); Aberdeen Roncalli 29 (King 8, Schwan 5, Andera 5). Assists: Mobridge-Pollock 13 (Heumiller 6); Aberdeen Roncalli 6. Steals: Mobridge-Pollock 5; Aberdeen Roncalli 10. Blocked shots: Mobridge-Pollock 4; Aberdeen Central 3. Total fouls: Mobridge-Pollock 18; Aberdeen Roncalli 14. Turnovers: Mobridge-Pollock 18; Aberdeen Roncalli 12.
Madison (22-2) 19 35 57 66
Mobridge-Pollock (19-6) 3 16 20 30
Madison: Trae VandBerg 6 3-5 15, Jesse Brown 2 0-0 5, Jacob Giles 4 2-2 11, Mason Sullivan 1 0-0 2, Tyler Wiebe 3 5-6 11, Preston Nordling 3 0-0 6, Braxton Olson 2 0-0 6, Eli Roemen 1 1-2 3, Tayler Anderson 1 0-0 2, Rush Milne 2 1-2 5, Totals 25 12-17 66.
Mobridge-Pollock: Zach Dockter 1 0-2 2, Pearson Wientjes 1 0-0 2, Cody Schaefbauer 2 1-2 5, Mitch Heumiller 1 2-2 5, Daniel Roberts 2 0-0 5, Jason Hill 3 1-2 8, Mason Keller 1 0-0 3, Totals 11 4-8 30.
3-point field goals: Madison 4 (Braxton 2, Brown, Giles); Mobridge-Pollock 4 (Heumiller, Roberts, Hill, Keller). Rebounds: Madison 50 (Brown 10, Wiebe 9); Mobridge-Pollock 26 (Wientjes 6, Heumiller 4). Assists: Madison 16 (Wiebe 4); Mobridge-Pollock 9 (Heumiller 3). Steals: Madison 10; Mobridge-Pollock 1. Blocked shots: Madison 3; Mobridge-Pollock 3. Total fouls: Madison 13; Mobridge-Pollock 12. Turnovers: Madison 8; Mobridge-Pollock 14.
Mobridge-Pollock (19-7) 6 18 22 34
Platte-Geddes (18-8) 13 22 34 47
Mobridge-Pollock: Zach Dockter 5 1-2 12, Pearson Wientjes 4 0-0 8, Cody Schaefbauer 1 0-0 2, Mitch Heumiller 4 0-0 9, Daniel Roberts 0 0-0 0, Preston Frederick 1 0-0 3, Totals 15 1-2 34.
Platte-Geddes: Richard Sternberg 2 0-1 4, Tate Van Zee 0 2-4 2, Matthew Randall 1 3-4 5, Hunter Johnson 3 2-2 10, Coby Johnson 8 5-7 23, Drew Turnis 0 1-2 1, Zach Warejcka 0 1-2 1, Totals 14 14-22 47.
3-point field goals: Mobridge-Pollock 3 (Dockter, Heumiller, Frederick); Platte-Geddes 5 (H. Johnson 2, C. Johnson 2, Randall). Rebounds: Mobridge-Pollock 30 (Wientjes 7, Hill 6); Platte-Geddes 29 (H. Johnson 7, Sternberg 6, C. Johnson 6). Assists: Mobridge-Pollock 6; Platte-Geddes 12 (Sternberg 5). Steals: Mobridge-Pollock 5; Platte-Geddes 6. Blocked shots: Mobridge-Pollock 4; Platte-Geddes 1. Total fouls: Mobridge-Pollock 19; Platte-Geddes 8. Turnovers: Mobridge-Pollock 10; Platte-Geddes 9.