Huron girls fall at Jefferson

SIOUX FALLS — It was the case of a ‘perfect storm’ taking place Saturday afternoon on the Sioux Falls Jefferson basketball court.

The homestanding Cavaliers were coming off a narrow two-point win Thursday night over Harrisburg and were motivated to make sure they took care of business on Saturday. Combine that with some aggressive, man-to-man defense by Jefferson and a Huron Tiger offense that scored more points from the free throw line than the field.

It all added up to a 54-31 win for Jefferson.

The Cavaliers improve to 9-2 while Huron falls to 5-4, as its three-game win streak was broken.

“Jefferson’s physicality and aggressiveness on the perimeter really set the tone in the game,” said Huron coach Kody Kopfmann. “When you have a six-footer in the lane defending the basket allows you to play that way and it really took us out of sync tonight.”

Huron struggled to score from the very beginning, as Jefferson’s full-court man-to-man didn’t create turnovers, but forced Huron to take difficult shots and even when a Tiger would get a clean look, the ball wouldn’t fall. After Isabelle Ellwein hit a floater in the lane to tie the score at 2-2, Jefferson ran then final eight points of the quarter and led 10-2 at the break.

Jefferson’s defense caused problems for the Tigers, but the Cavaliers were also getting multiple looks via offensive rebounds. SFJ took 15 shots in the first quarter to six for the Tigers.

Ellwein netted two charity tosses to open the second quarter for the Tigers, cutting the lead to six, but Jefferson scored the next 10 points, turning a manageable margin into a 16-point deficit. Kristen Janes hit two free throws and a three-point field goal in the final minute and Huron trailed 22-9 at the half.

“We know our identity,” Kopfmann said, “we drive the lane and either get a good look or kick it out for a three. We just decided to put our heads down and throw up a shot in the lane. I don’t think we shot six threes tonight. They just really took us out of our game.”

The second half ushered in a change of offense for the Tigers as their passing offense began to find cutters. Huron scored 10 points in the third quarter - eight of them at the charity stripe - as Huron got to the basket, got the foul but failed to see the field goal go in. Hamtyn Heinz scored eight points, all of Huron’s free throws, while younger sister Hylton Heinz got Huron’s lone third quarter field goal.

Jefferson quietly built a 20-point lead headed to the fourth quarter, 39-19.

The final period again saw a Tiger parade to the free throw line, as Huron ended the quarter 8-12 from the stripe, with field goals from Hamtyn Heinz and Elizabeth Heinen, as the Cavaliers’ lead remained in the 22 to 25 point margin the remainder of the way.

For the game, Huron was five of 32 from the field, while Jefferson took 61 shots from the field, hitting 20 of them. The Tigers were 20-31 from the free throw line in the game, as they matched their lowest point total of the season.

Hamtyn Heinz led the Tigers with nine points in the contest, Ellwein added six and Janes chipped in five, while Aliyah McGovern was the only double-figurer scorer in the game, leading Jefferson with 13 points.

Huron held Jefferson four points below its season average, but 14 points fewer than the Tigers have averaged.

Huron will look to rebound Tuesday, when the Tigers travel to Watertown, then will return home for the Rapid City schools next weekend.

“We have a big week ahead of us,” Kopfmann said. “Watertown is never a fun place to visit, no matter the records, plus it’s an ESD game, so we have to be ready to play on Tuesday.”

The games against the West River schools will be played at the Huron Middle School, as the Dakota Oyate Challenge is scheduled in Huron Arena.

Huron           2   9 19 31
S.F. Jefferson     10 22 39 54