WATERTOWN – Needing a win to clinch a home game in the SoDak 16 next week, the Huron Tigers fell on the road to the Watertown Arrows 46-45 Thursday night. Brandon Valley took care of business for the Tigers, however, defeating Rapid City Central Thursday, likely allowing the Tigers to still clinch a home playoff game.
Both teams struggled mightily from the field in the first quarter as plenty of contact was allowed near the basket and neither team could hit from beyond the 3-point arc.
After six minutes of play, the game finally crossed into double-digit points combined between the two teams.
The Tigers finished the first frame with an 11-6 lead behind eight points from Hamtyn Heinz.
While both teams ran their offense more successfully in the second quarter, plenty of Tiger possessions came up empty, leaving Huron pleased to come to half with a 23-19 lead.
Even as the Tigers had the lead, Coach Tim Buddenhagen noted that little things could have put away the game early.
“We have to have all five girls in the paint helping us rebound,” Buddenhagen noted. “Little things like that add up.”
The Arrows found a hole near the hoop in the Tigers zone in the third quarter, allowing senior post Maggie Heesch to bucket six points in the third quarter. However, the Tigers followed the hot three-point shooting of Isabelle Ellwein to expand the lead to 39-33 at the end of the third.
Ellwein hit three shots from deep in the quarter, finishing the third period with a dozen points.
Watertown made its first three shots of the fourth quarter to take the first Arrow lead since it was 1-0 in the first quarter at 42-41.
The Tigers needed a break to have a chance at a last-second victory, and got that break when Abby Bramer missed a free throw, but Huron turned the ball over on the ensuing play, giving Watertown a 46-45 victory.
Huron’s coach spelled out what happened at the end of the game pretty clearly.
“We just didn’t execute down the stretch the way we need to,” Coach Buddenhagen said. “We just stopped scoring.”
Watertown closes out the season at 6-14. Olivia Corey had a huge fourth quarter to finish with 13 points on the night to pace the Arrows. Abby Bramer added 11 points.
Maggie Heesch nabbed a game-high eight rebounds for Watertown.
Huron finishes the regular season at 10-10 with the loss. Ellwein came off the bench to pace the Tigers with a game-high 16 points. Heinz added 12 points.
Heavan Gainey led the Tigers in rebounding with six.
Watertown defeated Huron in the junior varsity game 47-38. In the loss, Ellwein scored 19 points and Bryn Huber added eight points.
Huron took the “C” game 31-23 behind 11 points from Tatum Peterson and 10 points from Kiki Eagle Star.
The Tigers will open postseason play next Friday, and Coach Buddenhagen plans to have his team ready.
“We’ll go back and watch this film and we’ll be ready for next week.”
Huron 11 23 39 45
Watertown 6 19 33 46
Huron (10-10): Bella Shreeve 3 1-2 9, Hamtyn Heinz 4 3-3 12, Isabelle Ellwein 6 0-0 16, Heavan Gainey 2 0-0 5, Brooke Schiltz 1 1-2 3. Totals: 16 5-7 45.
Watertown (6-14): Maddy Rohde 2 0-0 6, Jaida Young 1 1-4 3, Abby Bramer 3 2-4 11, Jade Lund 2 0-0 5, Olivia Corey 5 0-0 13, Maggie Heesch 4 0-0 8. Totals: 17 3-8 46.
FG%: H - 16/44 36%, W - 17/52 33%. 3-pt FG: H - 8/25 (Ellwein 4, Shreeve 2, Heinz, Gainey); W - 9/33 (Corey 3, Bramer 3, Rohde 2, Lund). Rebounds: H 27 (Gainey 6), W 31 (Heesch 8). Turnovers: H 7, W 5. Fouls: H 15, W 14.