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Warbirds are title game bound: Wolsey-Wessington will play undefeated Bridgewater-Emery tonight at 8 p.m.

Posted: Monday, Mar 20th, 2017

Wolsey-Wessington's Riley Gohn, center, tries to drive between Parker's Trey Christensen and Shane Kasten during Friday's semifinal game at the South Dakota Class B Boys Basketball Tournament at Wachs Arena. Gohn hit four three-point field goals to help the Warbirds punch their ticket to this evening’s state title game against Bridgewater-Emery. PHOTO BY JOHN DAVIS COURTESY OF ABERDEEN AMERICAN NEWS

ABERDEEN — The Wolsey-Wessington Warbirds will play for a Class “B” State boys’ basketball title tonight, as they walked all over the Parker Pheasants, 58-42 Friday night at Wachts Arena.

The fifth-seeded Warbirds, 22-2 on the season, will face undefeated first-seed Bridgewater-Emery, which moved to 25-0 with their win over Sully Buttes Friday night.

Parker falls to 16-8 on the season and will play 19-6 Sully Buttes for third place.

The Warbirds’ Bennett White led his team, and the game, with 17 points. Riley Gohn added 12 points - all on long-range bombs - and Darian Ogunjemilusi put 11 on the scoreboard. White also was best on the boards with a game-high 16 rebounds.

Landon Leberman was the Pheasants’ lone double-figure scorer with 13 points, while Connor Carlson and Camden Bialas tied for rebounding honors for Parker with five each.

The game started with both teams scoring in the first minute and it was 3-2 for the Warbirds on the first of Gohn’s long-range artillery.

The Wolsey-Wessington defense stuck tight to Parker, and at the four-minute mark the Warbirds were up 10-4. The Pheasants buckled down, though, and brought it to 12-11 for the Warbirds with two minutes remaining in the quarter and Parker kept nipping at the Warbirds’ heels and at the end of one the Warbirds held a slim 16-15 lead.

The second period started with both teams giving their opponents’ shooters nothing but one-and-done chances, and with five minutes left in the quarter it had only moved to 20-17.

The Warbirds started finding gaps in the Parker defense, however, going on an 11-0 run that pushed the lead to 14.

At 1:19 the Parker finally hit a three pointer to make it 31-20 for the Warbirds.

Wolsey-Wessington kept mixing up its offense - looking inside for White or Ogunjemilusi, or kicking it out to Gohn. And they were shooting well; they were 5-5 on three pointers, and nearly 50 percent on two-point shots. The Warbirds outscored Parker 19-5 in the second quarter, and when halftime came the Warbirds took a comfortable 35-20 lead to the locker room.

The second half started with a barrage of shooting, and at 4:51 it was already 42-26.

The Warbirds kept getting a hand in on Parker’s offense, getting rebounds, blocking shots and making the Pheasants rush, and it worked. At 1:30 left Wolsey-Wessington had a 21 point lead, 49-28, and the quarter ended with the Warbirds leading 51-31.

The final quarter saw the Warbirds eat at the clock while going on a 6-0 run that kept the Pheasants scoreless until 5:18 left in the game, when a Parker bucket made it 57-33 for the Warbirds. When the clock hit the four-minute, the score was 57-35 in the Warbirds’ favor, and both teams started rotating off some of their starters.

For Wolsey-Wessington, it will be its first appearance in a boys’ state title game.

Bridgewater-Emery is in its first year as a co-op, so have not been in a title game as such.

Bridgewater has been to the tournament several times, the last trip was in 1988, while Emery won the “B” in 1987 and was runner up in 1995.

For the complete article see the 03-18-2017 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 03-18-2017 paper.

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