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BALL FIVE: Tigers, Lady Tigers give us a night to remember

It’s nice when an evening comes together.
I’m talking about nights like the one Mobridge-Pollock basketball teams, the coaches, student body, the parents, the fans, the media, the night everything came together for a splendid night of high school sports.
First up were the Lady Tigers. They were facing a Sisseton team that the Lady Tiger basketball program had never beaten.
Last year in Sisseton then sophomore TyRel Thompson went down with a knee injury just a few minutes into the game. The injury would end her season, and it would send the Lady Tigers into a swoon on that night. Sisseton held the Lady Tigers to just 17 points that night.
Flash back to Friday and things were a little different.
Thompson celebrated her second chance at Sisseton by hitting three three-pointers in the first quarter, scoring the game’s first six points and 12 of the Lady Tiger points during a game-opening 15-0 run. A couple minutes later, Jadin Monsen stepped to the line and hit two free throw shots. The first gave the Lady Tigers 18 points, putting them ahead of last year’s scoring. By quarter’s end, the Lady Tigers scored 23 points.
Thompson hit another three and Landyn Henderson went off for 14 points in the second quarter. They led 45-18 at the half.
There’s your Lady Tigers throwing a one-year-later party right at you. Last year they couldn’t get to 20 in Sisseton. Friday, they surpassed their highest scoring game of the season in the first 16 minutes.
Plus, the Lady Tigers got to celebrate winning at home for the first time in a long time. In fact, the win broke a 14-game home losing streak. Their last win at home had been over Britton-Hecla in last year’s season opener. On the flip side, when the Lady Tigers play at Ellendale, N.D., on Saturday, they will be looking for their fourth straight road win. Go figure.
Now, on to the Tigers. May I say, “Wow!” Some teams have your number. Over the years, Sisseton has had the Tigers’. Friday, the teams met for the 44th time. Sisseton was 30-13 in the first 43. They were 7-1 against the Tigers in the last eight games. At times it looked like they were going to keep their winning ways against the Tigers going.
But not on this night baby! This was high school basketball at its best. Okay, maybe it wasn’t like the two best high school teams in the state going toe to toe, but the drama was better than an afternoon soap, the intensity was as thick as pea soup.
Both teams had seven-point leads over the first three and half quarters, but no one had a lead bigger. Every time it looked like the Tigers might take control, back came the Redmen. Every time it looked like the Redmen might take over, back came the Tigers.
Things did not look so good for the Tigers when Sisseton started the fourth quarter with six straight points, but the Tigers hung in there. The Tigers still trailed late in the quarter, but came up with a defensive front and suddenly Sisseton was lucky to get the ball to their half of the court. That defensive pressure led to the Tigers tying the game and having a chance to win in regulation, but a missed layup at the end of regulation turned the roar of the gym into a collective groan.
The Tigers led early in overtime only to see the Redmen stay within striking distance. Things looked good for the Tigers as they led by four with 42 seconds left. Things looked dire for the Tigers when Sisseton’s Dylan Goodhart drilled a 20-foot jumper with 14.4 seconds left to give the Redmen a 76-75 lead. Seconds later, pandemonium filled the air when Caden Halsey’s baseline three-pointer snapped the net with 2.1 seconds on the clock to give the Tigers the win! The crowd roared, the coaches high-fived, the players mobbed Halsey all the way to the other end of the court. The good folks of Sisseton (who were on that other end of the court), could do nothing but grab their jackets and folding bleacher chairs and get ready for their long drive home.
Man, I hope reliving the wins was as fun for you aswriting about it was for me. Happy New Year everyone!