The Tigers ran their winning streak to five games with a 65-38 win over Todd County at Mobridge-Pollock High School Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
“All the weeks we’ve been drilling, they’re not fun, but the kids are getting better at it,” said coach TJ Knudson. “The fun part comes in the winning.”
The Tigers played without one of their starters for the second straight game and again it didn’t really matter.
With Braxton Albers sidelined with an illness, the rest of team took up the slack. With the game tied at 6-6 midway through the first quarter, the Tigers took off on a 12-2 run to take an 18-8 lead after the first stanza. Reese Cerney, back from missing the Chamberlain game with a sprained ankle, scored five points and Caden Halsey, in his first start in 12 games, scored four points during the run.
The Tigers kept the pressure on and outscored the Falcons 19-4 in the second quarter to secure a 37-12 halftime lead. Braden Goehring hit three treys and scored 11 points in the quarter.
While the offense was doing its thing, it was the Tiger defense that led the way, surrendering just three field goals and six points over the last 12 minutes of the first half.
“Giving up 12 points in the first half,” said Knudson, “I was happy with that.”
The defense also did its job on Todd County’s leading scorer, Aiden Bizardie, in the first half. After Bizardie went off for 31 points last year in Mission, the Tigers held him to just two points in the first half.
“The kids made him work for everything,” said Knudson.
Bizardie led a small comeback early in the third quarter. He hit three three-pointers helping the Falcons start the second half on an 11-2 run and cut the deficit to 39-23. The Tigers cut the cord on any comeback attempt with an 8-2 run right after that. Trace Cerney scored four of the Tigers’ eight points.
Noah Feyereisen and Halsey took over early in the fourth quarter. Feyereisen scored six points and Halsey scored five as the Tigers put the game away with a run that restored the 25-point lead at 58-33.
Knudson said one of the keys to the five-game winning streak is that the Tigers are playing as a team on both ends of the court.
“On offense no one cares who scores the points. They are sharing the ball and making good decisions,” said Knudson.
On the swarming defense that has held its last two opponents to a combined 27 points in the first half, Knudson said, “They’re just playing team defense and for the most part rotating to the ball pretty quickly. Plus, the team is hustling up and down the court.”
Feyereisen led the Tigers with 15 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Braden Goehring used three threes and four-for-four free throw shooting to score 13 points. Halsey scored 11, Trace Cerney nine, Reese Cerney seven, Kregen Norder six and Bryston Goehring four. Trace Cerney added seven rebounds, while Reese Cerney added six boards and four steals.
Bizardie did pick up his game in the second half, hitting six three-pointers and leading the Falcons with a game-high 20 points. No other Falcon scored more than six points. Ashaun Roach-Valandra scored four points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
The fight for the top of the Big Dakota Conference standings is on the line on Friday in Eagle Butte as the 9-5 Tigers take on the 11-3 Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Braves.
With two conference games to go, the Braves hold a 5-0 BDC record while the Tigers are 4-1.
Both teams are hot entering Friday. The Tigers have won five in a row, while the Braves are on a 9-1 run with their only loss to fifth-ranked Red Cloud.
The Tigers are playing for the 111th time. In a rivalry that started in 1940, the Tigers lead the all-time series 63-57. The Tigers won the second meeting of the 2016-17 season and both games last year, winning 72-59 at home and 62-49 in Eagle Butte. Before that, the Braves had been on an eight-game winning streak.
Groton Area comes to Mobridge-Pollock High School Gymnasium on Saturday for the nightcap of a Tiger/Lady Tiger doubleheader. The game is slated for around 5:30 p.m.
Groton Area is 4-10 on the season and has lost five straight but to teams with a combined 57-14 record.
While Mobridge and Groton first met on the court in 1936, the teams are playing for just the 21st time. The Tigers hold a slight 11-9 lead in the series.
Groton won a 72-66, two-overtime game in Groton last year, making it the 11th straight time the home team has won.
On Tuesday, the Tigers head to Ft. Pierre for a matchup with the Stanley County Buffaloes. The Buffaloes are 6-7 on the campaign. In their last outing the took Cheyenne-Eagle Butte to overtime before falling 73-72.
This is the 42nd meeting between the Tigers and Buffaloes. Just like Groton, the Tigers played the Buffaloes for the first time in 1936. The Tigers have dominated the series and hold a 31-10 record. The Tigers beat the Buffaloes 57-53 last years for their second straight and 12th win in the last 13 games against Stanley County.
Todd County (9-6) 8 12 27 38
Mobridge-Pollock (9-6) 18 37 47 65
Todd County: Bryce Hammer 0 0-0 0, Aiden Bizardie 7 0-0 20, Jacob Wike 0 0-0 0, Bryant Burnette 2 1-2 6, Ashaun Roach-Valandra 2 0-0 4, Trent Poignee 2 0-0 4, Caleb Clairmont 1 0-4 2, Royal Wike 1 0-0 2, Totals 15 1-6 38.
Mobridge-Pollock: Reese Cerney 2 2-2 7, Noah Feyereisen 5 4-6 15, Caden Halsey 5 0-1 11, Trace Cerney 4 1-2 9, Bryston Goehring 1 2-2 4, Braden Goehring 3 4-4 13, Kregen Norder 2 2-2 6, Totals 22 14-17 65.
3-point field goals: Todd County 7 (Bizardie 6, Burnette); Mobridge-Pollock 6 (Braden Goehring 3, R. Cerney, Feyereisen, Halsey). Rebounds: Todd County 29 (Roach-Valandra 8, Poignee 6); Mobridge-Pollock 27 (Feyereisen 7, T. Cerney 7, R. Cerney 6). Steals: Todd County 2; Mobridge-Pollock 16 (R. Cerney 4, Feyereisen 4, Halsey 3, Bryston Goehring 3). Fouls: Todd County 16; Mobridge-Pollock 10. Turnovers: Todd County 18; Mobridge-Pollock 9.