The broad side of the barn was not wide enough in the first half for the Tigers at Mobridge-Pollock High School Gym on Friday. The Tigers fell behind Winner by 23 points before the intermission, fought back in the second half, but lost the game 51-42.
“We couldn’t have thrown one in the Pacific, Atlantic or Indian Ocean in the first half,” said coach Mike Busch. “The kids were feeling good and taking good shots, they just wouldn’t go in.”
After Tom Zott scored inside three times in the first quarter, the Tigers went more than a quarter’s worth of game before hitting another shot. The Winner lead grew from 7-6 to 24-6 before Noah Feyereisen hit a three-pointer with 1:10 left in the second quarter. Winner, however, answered with Brandon Volmer hitting two threes, giving the Warriors a 30-9 halftime lead.
“The most frustrating part is that we didn’t defend well enough to keep ourselves in the game,” said Busch.
While the offense still off in the third quarter, the Tiger defense picked up the pace. The Tigers fused four Winner turnovers to go on a 14-5 run, led by Zott scoring seven straight points, to cut the lead to 35-23 before Volmer hit his third three of the game late, sending the Winner lead back to 15 points.
The offense started picking up the pace in the fourth quarter. Caden Halsey scored the first five points, followed by five straight from Reese Cerney as the Tigers started the fourth quarter on a 10-2 run that cut the Winner lead to 40-33 with four minutes to play. Trailing 45-33, the Tigers scored seven straight points. Trace Cerney hit a basket and Reese Cerney hit a three to make it 45-38. With 1:15 to play, Reese Cerney came up with a steal and passed the ball ahead to Halsey who scored to cut the lead to 45-40. But, the Warriors would not fold. Brady Fritz hit two free throws and when the Tigers missed their next two shots, he made four more, giving the Warriors a lead they could not lose as the clock made its way to zero.
Busch said as bad as the first half was, the second half was that good for the Tigers, who never gave in and fought all the way to the end.
“That’s the beauty of the way we go about it,” said Busch. “Our guys never quit. They never give up.”
Zott led the Tigers with 13 points. Reece Cerney scored 10, Halsey seven, and Trace Cerney and Feyereisen six each. Trace Cerney and Braxton Albers led the rebounding effort with six boards each. The Tigers outrebounded the Warriors by a 36-21 margin. In the second half, they forced eight Winner turnovers, while coming just two.
Fritz led Winner with a game-high 29 points and seven rebounds. Volmer added 12 points.
The postponed game between the Tigers and Cheyenne-Eagle Butte will be played in Eagle Butte on Thursday. The night starts with the C teams at 5:30 p.m.
“A win could move us up in the region,” said Busch. “But most of all it would be nice to get the win and feel good about ourselves heading into the postseason.”
The Tigers beat the Braves 72-59 at home on Jan. 30. With the win, the Tigers are 62-57 in the all-time series and have beaten the Braves two times in a row, coming off the Braves’ eight-game winning streak.
Heading into the regular season’s final games, the Tigers are in seventh place in Region 6A with a 5-14 record and 38.737 seed points. The Braves are sixth with a 6-12 record and 38.333 seed points. Crow Creek leads the region with a 16-3 record and 44.158 seed points, followed by Miller (15-3, 44.0), McLaughlin (13-5, 43.444), Stanley County (11-8, 40.789) and Chamberlain (8-11, 39.947).
Winner (6-13) 13 30 38 51
Mobridge-Pollock (5-14) 6 9 23 42
Winner: Brady Fritz 10 7-8 29, Nolan Sachtjen 2 0-0 4, Brandon Volmer 4 1-2 12, Shea Connot 1 0-0 3, Justus Gregg 0 0-0 0, Casey Stickland 1 0-0 2, Oscar Pravecek, 0 1-2 1, Totals 18 9-12 51.
Mobridge-Pollock: Reese Cerney 4 1-2 10, Braxton Albers 0 0-0 0, Caden Halsey 3 0-0 7, Trace Cerney 3 0-0 6, Tom Zott 6 0-0 13, Noah Feyereisen 2 0-0 6, Totals 18 1-2 42.
3-point field goals: Winner 6 (Volmer 3, Fritz 2, Connot); Mobridge-Pollock 5 (Feyereisen 2, R. Cerney, Halsey, Zott). Rebounds: Winner 21 (Fritz 7, Connot 7); Mobridge-Pollock 35 (T. Cerney, Albers 6, R. Cerney 5, Feyereisen 5). Fouls: Winner 14; Mobridge-Pollock 17. Turnovers: Winner 10; Mobridge-Pollock 6.