HURON — The Huron Tiger boys’ basketball team fought back from an early deficit, but saw the Watertown Arrows go on a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter, as Watertown took home a 67-52 win in Eastern South Dakota Conference action Tuesday night at Huron Arena.
Huron falls to 3-6 on the season, while Watertown improves to 4-7 as the Arrows notched their third win in a row.
“We played well in flashes tonight,” said coach Tim Buddenhagen after the contest. “But when we got down, and we got tunnel vision. The ball stopped moving and it became everyone for himself.”
The Tigers found themselves in a deep hole nearly from the jump, as the Arrows hit their first five shots, two of them three-pointers, from Kohen Kranz and Jake Olson, to take a quick 12-5 lead after Huron baskets from Reilyn Zavesky and a three from Dylan Lichty. Two more threes from Kranz on consecutive possessions pushed the lead to 18-5 and prompted a Buddenhagen timeout.
The Tigers came out of the timeout more focused defensively, as they forced Watertown deep into the shot clock on the next two possessions and then got a turnover, as Huron rolled an 8-0 rally, behind a three from Mason Davis, and old-fashioned three-point play from Zavesky and then a floater in the lane by Lichty, which made it 18-13 seconds into the second period.
The teams traded baskets throughout the second quarter, as Watertown would build the lead back to double digits, then see Huron carve it back. The Arrows held a 33-22 cushion after a three-point play from Kranz, but Blake Ellwein, who missed the Tigers’ game at Jefferson on Saturday, scored on a short putback, then, after a Watertown turnover, Ellwein got loose on the right wing and drained a long three pointer with 30 seconds remaining and the Arrows led 33-27 at the half.
The momentum the Tigers built to end the first half lingered into the second half. Watertown got a quick bucket, but Zavesky drained a three, then took a beautiful drive-and-dish from CJ Gainey and suddenly Huron was down by only three, at 35-32. The Arrows got a one-of-two from the line by Caden Beauchamp, then Huron cut the deficit to a single point on a Dawsyn Rogers three pointer. The margin stayed that way until Zavesky scored on a putback that tied the score at 39-all and Gainey gave Huron its first lead of the night, at 41-39, swiping an Arrow pass on the wing and taking it coast-to-coast for the layin.
Brody Torgerson hit a three to put Watertown back up by a point, but Rogers hit two free throws to give the Tigers a 43-42 lead headed to the final period.
Olson scored to put Watertown back on top by a point, then after scoreless possessions by both teams, Beauchamp pushed the margin up to three on a short shot in the paint, off a Tiger turnover. After a missed shot by Huron, Watertown again converted, then forced two more Tiger turnovers, both of which led to Arrow baskets and the lead was suddenly nine points, at 52-43 and Huron was not able to get closer than seven points the rest of the way, as Watertown hit all their free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.
Watertown ended with one more field goal in the game and both teams had seven three pointers, but the difference in the game took place at the free throw line, where Huron made all three of its charity tosses, while Watertown ended 16-21 from the line.
“We can’t give the ball away 16 times in the game,” Buddenhagen said, “and certainly we have to not give up 25 points in a quarter. But we didn’t take care of the ball, tried to force it and turned it over and Watertown turned those mistakes into turnovers.”
Zavesky led all scorers with 27 points and also had six rebounds in the contest.
Kranz scored 19 points to lead the Arrows, 15 in the first half, while Dylan Rawdon scored 11 in the game. Beauchamp and Olson each claimed four rebounds.
Huron will regroup this week to prepare for the annual West River trip, playing at Rapid City Central on Friday night, then at Rapid City Stevens on Saturday.
“We gotta find a way to move the ball, share the ball and make some shots this weekend,” Buddenhagen said. “We need to find a way to do what we need to do to get a win. Tonight is the third time this season that the loss is something we did to ourselves. We need to get past this and find a win.”
In preliminary action, the Huron sophomores outran the Arrows 69-59.
Watertown 18 33 42 52
Huron 11 27 43 67
Watertown (4-7): Dylan Rowdon 4 3-4 11; Caden Beauchamp 3 2-4 8; Kohen Kranz 7 1-1 19; Dalton Baumberger 1 0-0 2; Jake Olson 2 2-4 7; Jack Heesch 0 8-8 8; Brody Torgerson 2 0-0 6; Marcus Rabine 3 0-0 6. Totals: 22 16-21 67.
Huron (3-6): Dylan Lichty 3 0-0 8; Mason Davis 1 0-0 3; CJ Gainey 1 0-0 2; Blake Ellwein 2 0-0 5; Reilyn Zavesky 12 1-1 27; Dawsyn Rogers 2 2-2 7. Totals: 21 3-3 52.
FG: W - 22-43 51%; H - 21-45 47%. 3-pt FG: W - 7-17 (Kranz 4, Torgerson 2, Olson); H - 7-18 (Lichty 2, Zavesky 2, Davis, Ellwein, Rogers). Rebounds: W - 21 (Beauchamp 4, Olson 4); H - 24 (Zavesky 6). Turnovers: W - 10; H - 16. Fouls: W - 8; H - 18 (Lichty out). Technical foul: Lichty.