When push came to shove, the homes shoved last as the Tigers dropped two straight one-point road games this week. Falling 71-70 to Potter County in Gettysburg on Tuesday after dropping a 54-53 game to Sully Buttes in Onida on Saturday.
Grant Luikens hit a three-pointer with 37 seconds left to lift Potter County to its 71-70 win over the Tigers.
The three-pointer gave the Battlers a three-point lead. The Tigers had three chances to tie. They turned the ball over on first possession, missed a shot on the second and scored a two-point basket as time expired after missing a three-point attempt to tie the game.
“Potter County is a unique team and I will give them credit for playing a good game,” said Coach TJ Knudson.
While Potter County did do its part, especially by shooting 27 of 46 from the field (58 percent), the Tigers did not get the job done.
Mobridge-Pollock took 20 more shots than Potter County and made one less. The Tigers were 24 of 70 (34 percent), from the field. That includes missing 22 of their 31 three-point attempts. They did not take advantage of 20 offensive rebounds. On the other end, they had only 10 defensive rebounds.
“We struggled defending and rebounding,” said Knudson. “We gave them way too many layups and free throws.”
The game was a classic back-and-forth-affair between two old rivals. Neither team had more than a one-point lead at the end of any quarter. The Tigers’ biggest lead was seven points in the second quarter. The Battlers’ biggest lead was 65-61 in the fourth quarter. There were seven ties and 18 lead changes.
Cayden Eisemann led the Tigers with 16 points, including a game-high four three-pointers.
“Eisemann had a nice game,” said Knudson.
Kregen Norder scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds. Trace Cerney scored 11 points and led with seven rebounds. Reese Cerney and Braden Goehring scored 10 points each.
Along with hitting the game winner, Luikens led the Battlers with a game-high 17 points and pulled down nine boards. Cooper Logan and Kayden Ahlemeier scored 13 each and Seth Sharp scored 11. Dylan Drew led all rebounders with 13, while adding nine points.
The Tigers let victory slip away in a 54-53 loss to Sully Buttes in Onida on Saturday.
With the Tigers leading 53-52, Nick Wittler of Sully Buttes drew a foul 65 feet from the basket with less than a second left, hit both shots from the charity stripe and put the Chargers on top with the win.
“It was a learning experience for the kids and for me,” said Knudson.
There was more to it than the last play of the game. The Tigers held an 11-point lead with 4:10 to play before Sully Buttes hit three straight three-pointers to cut the lead to 51-47 with two minutes to play. The Tigers then suffered two straight turnovers while the Chargers scored five points on a basket and three free throws to take a 52-51 lead with 45 seconds left. The Tigers retook the lead when Braden Goehring missed a shot, followed with the rebound and was fouled. He made both ends to give the Tigers a 53-52 lead with 19 seconds left. It looked like the Tigers might have the win in hand when a Charger foul with 3.7 second left send Goehring to the free throw line. His first free throw missed the mark and the out-of-the-ordinary ending ensued.
Knudson said that while letting a win get away is never a good thing, it is a long season and it is the kind of thing that gives the team the opportunity to learn and get better because of.
“We’re worried about the future not the past,” said Knudson.
The Tigers held the lead for most of the first three quarters and seven minutes. They led 12-9 after one quarter, 26-21 at the half and 40-31 after three quarters.
A big part of the lead game from the hot shooting of Caden Halsey, who was six-of-seven from the field, hit four three-pointers and led the Tigers with 18 points.
“He played a really good game offensively,” said Knudson. “We need guys to score points like that.”
The rest of the scoring was balanced with Bryston Goehring, Reese Cerney, Kregen Norder and Braden Goehring all scoring eight points.
Wittler, a returning first team all-stater, led the Chargers with 24 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter.
“We held Wittler to single digits for three quarters,” said Knudson, “and we forced him to take tough shots in the fourth quarter.”
Jett Lamb backed Wittler up with 15 points.
Big Dakota games
The Tigers open Big Dakota Conference play this week, hosting Miller on Thursday and McLaughlin on Tuesday.
The Tigers and Rustlers are playing for the 95th time in a series that dates back to the 1938-39 season when Miller won a 32-7 game. After the Tigers beat Miller in the 2013 Region, the Rustlers won six straight games to take a 50-43 lead in the series before the Tigers broke the streak with a 58-49 win in Miller last season.
Miller is off to a rough start this year with an 0-4 record.
In one of the most storied rivalries in South Dakota high school sports history, the Tigers and Mustangs will be meeting for the 164th time. The teams first played 103 years ago when the Tigers won a 33-15 game in 1917. Since that time the Tigers have built an 89-74 lead. The Mustangs were on a four-game winning streak before the Tigers won a 55-20 game in the second meeting last year. In the first game last season, the Mustangs rallied from an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Tigers 61-60 in McLaughlin.
The Mustangs are 3-1 this season after a 72-61 win at Aberdeen Roncalli on Saturday.
Mobridge-Pollock (5-2) 18 38 53 70
Potter County (4-4) 18 37 53 71
Mobridge-Pollock: Bryston Goehring 2 2-2 6, Reese Cerney 4 0-0 10, Zane Reinert 2 0-0 4, Caden Halsey 0 1-2 1, Kregen Norder 6 0-0 12, Braden Goehring 3 2-2 10, Trace Cerney 3 4-5 11, Cayden Eisemann 6 0-0 16, Totals 26 9-1 70.
Potter County: Logan Cooper 5 5 2-3 13, Seth Sharp 3 5-5 11, Dylan Drew 3 3-4 9, Grant Luikens 7 2-2 17, Kayden Ahelmeier 6 1-2 13, Drake Bassett 2 0-0 6, Ethan Pitlick 1 0-0 2, Totals 27 13-16 71.
3-point field goals: Mobridge-Pollock 9 (Eisemann 4, R. Cerney 2, Braden Goehring 2, T. Cerney); Potter County 4 (Bassett 2, Logan, Luikens). Rebounds: Mobridge-Pollock 30 (T. Cerney 7, Norder 6); Potter County 33 (Drew 13, Luikens 9). Assists: Mobridge-Pollock 17 (Braden Goehring 4, T. Cerney 4); Potter County 13 (Cooper 4, Luikens 4). Steals: Mobridge-Pollock 11 (Braden Goehring 3); Potter County 8 (Logan 4). Blocks: Mobridge-Pollock 1 (Norder); Potter County 3 (Drew 3). Fouls: Mobridge-Pollock 17; Potter County 13. Turnovers: Mobridge-Pollock 10; Potter County 17.
Mobridge-Pollock (5-1) 12 26 40 53
Sully Buttes (3-1) 9 21 31 54
Mobridge-Pollock: Bryston Goehring 3 1-3 8, Reese Cerney 3 2-2 8, Zane Reinert 1 0-0 2, Caden Halsey 6 2-2 18, Kregen Norder 4 0-0 8, Braden Goehring 2 2-3 8, Cayden Eisemann 0 1-2 1, 19 8-12 53.
Sully Buttes: Quinn Jordre 0 0-0 0, Grant Johnson 3 0-0 6, Jett Lamb 4 7-8 15, Nick Wittler 6 8-10 24, Landon Hepker 1 0-0 3, Caleb Chicoine 2 0-0 6, 16 15-18 54.
3-point field goals: Mobridge-Pollock 7 (Halsey 4, Braden Goehring 2, Bryston Goehring); Sully Buttes 7 (Wittler 4, Chicoine 2, Hepker). Rebounds: Mobridge-Pollock 25 (Halsey 9, Cerney 5); Sully Buttes 34 (Johnson 8, Lamb 8, Wittler) 7. Assists: Mobridge-Pollock 14 (Cerney 4, Bryston Goehring 3, Halsey 3, Norder 3); Sully Buttes 11 (Lamb 4, Jordre 3). Steals: Mobridge-Pollock 7 (Cerney 3, Bryston Goehring 2; Sully Buttes 4 (Chicoine 2). Blocks: Mobridge-Pollock 3 (Cerney 2, Norder); Sully Buttes 1 (Johnson). Fouls: Mobridge-Pollock 17; Sully Buttes 14 (Lamb out). Turnovers: Mobridge-Pollock 11; Sully Buttes 15.