RAPID CITY — The Huron Tigers girls basketball team overcame a sluggish first quarter to get themselves back into contention, but just couldn’t get over the hump and dropped a 49-34 non-conference game to the Rapid City Stevens Raiders at Carol Heir Gymnasium on Friday night.
“We came kind of fearful tonight,” said Tiger coach Tim Buddenhagen. “We were not in sync, and we didn’t execute. I thought that after that first quarter, we gained in confidence so that we could play with this team, and we began to execute much better.”
The Raiders applied pressure from the opening tip, and at times that pressure caused problems for the Tigers. The first quarter ended with Stevens up 15-2, with eight of the Raiders points coming on layups off Tiger turnovers. Only a driving layup from Sami Shultz kept the Tigers from posting a goose egg in the opening quarter.
The second half looked like the script was going to remain the same, as despite baskets from Tigers Kylie Overbay and Brooke Schiltz, the Raiders continued to increase their advantage. The lead grew to 16 points, at 22-6 with three-and-a-half minutes in the half, and then Huron began to climb back into the game.
Bella Shreeve, pressed into a starting lineup due to an injury to Tenley Buddenhagen, scored on a short runner and then nailed another jumper on the ensuing possession. Schiltz converted again from the right win and when Havyn Heinz slithered to the basket for a layup with 30 seconds remaining, the margin was back to 10 points heading to the halftime break.
Huron continued chipping away in the third quarter, as Heinz laced the team’s first three-pointer a minute-and-a-half into the period. After the teams traded buckets, Shreeve hit a three and Shultz hit the front end of a pair of charity tosses to cut the margin to five, at 28-23. Stevens got a three from Laura Petik to counter a pair of Heniz free throws and the margin was six points headed to the final quarter.
The Raiders returned to the pressure defense in the fourth period, but when Shultz found a cutting Overbay to make the score 32-27, the Tigers appeared poised to carve the difference closer.
“When we got it down to five we had a good play set up, but again, we just didn’t execute on a couple of possessions,” coach Buddenhagen said. “If we get one to go, then it’s down to a one possession game and who knows? But it began to slip away again when we turned the ball over. When you turn it over you give up the chance to score and they are turning that into a layup on the other end. That’s tough to overcome.”
But a three from Grace Martin, and a parade to the free throw line, combined with some costly Tiger turnovers that led to easy Raider buckets put the margin to 10 points midway through the period, and although Huron continued to scrap, they couldn’t get any closer.
“Stevens is a very good, very athletic team,” Buddenahagen noted. “They were the state volleyball champions and many of those girls are playing here, so they have good athletes. We played well at times on defense, I thought.”
Heinz led the Tigers with nine points, Shreeve added seven and Shultz chipped in six.
Kyah Watson led the Raiders with 16 points and Petik came off the Raiders bench to net 12 counters.
The Tigers are back in action this afternoon, when they travel cross-town to play the Rapid City Central Cobblers to wrap up their West River trip.
Huron 2 14 25 34
Rapid City Stevens 15 24 31 49