HURON — The De Smet Lady Bulldogs moved into the championship round at the Class “B” Girls State Basketball Tournament Thursday night, grinding out a 59-44 win over a scrappy White River Lady Tiger team.
De Smet, now 22-1, trailed early in the game, but took control in the second quarter and never gave up the lead as they moved forward in the tournament, where they will face Corsica-Stickney.
White River falls to 18-5, and has a date in the consolation semifinals this afternoon against Ipswich.
The teams traded baskets, literally, over the first three minutes of the game.
Reyna Beck hit a short jumper at the 4:48 mark of the first quarter and backed it up with a 15-footer on the next possession to give De Smet a lead that they wouldn’t give up.
The Lady Bulldogs held a 16-13 lead at the quarter stop.
Kristen Poppen scored for De Smet to make the lead six points as the second quarter began, but White River got three free throws on four attempts from Caelyn Valandra-Prue to carve the lead back to three points. De Smet, however, scored the next eight points to open some breathing room, as Autumn Wilkinson hit a pair of Charity tosses then first Rynn Osthus, then Wilkinson, dialed long distance. White River broke the string with a basket and then a free throw from Kaylee Wells, but Desmet got another three from Osthus. Then she hit a pair of free throw and a lead suddenly jumped to 13 points.
Baskets from Poppen and Beck in the final seconds of the half pushed the margin to 16 points, 36-20, as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
The second half was a series of mini-runs by each team. De Smet was able to maintain a 12 to16-point lead the rest of the way but were never able to pull away from White River, as Valandra-Prue kept the Lady Tigers within striking distance.
The game was decided in a large part at the free throw line, as the Lady Bulldogs shot 33 free throws, converting 21 of them, while White River only shot 20 charity tosses. Both teams committed 16 turnovers in the game.
Valandra-Prue led all scorers with 18 points in the losing effort and Wells joined her in double figures with 13 counters. Three different Lady Tigers had four rebounds in the game.
De Smet put three players in double figures, led by Osthus’ 15 points. Poppen netted 14 points and had a game-high eight rebounds off the Lady Bulldogs bench, and Wilkinson chipped in 10 points.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well, which says much about the tough, physical defense employed by both teams.
“It was really a physical battle,” agreed De Smet coach Doug Osthus. “We talked at halftime about maintaining our defense and working on moving the ball and spacing on offense, then getting the ball inside to our big girls.”
White River 13 20 33 44
De Smet 17 36 44 59
White River (18-5): Quincey Piper 0-0 2-2 2, Caelyn Valandra-Prue 6-11 6-12 18, Kaylee Wells 5-13 2-5 13, Remedy Morrison 1-3 0-0 2, Trinity White Hat 1-5 1-1 3, Gabby Iron Heart 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 16-39 11-20 44
DeSmet (22-1): Emily Martens 0-0 1-2 1, Rynn Osthus 3-9 7-11 15, Reyna Beck 4-5 0-0 8, Raegan Burke 1-7 2-2 5, Kristen Poppen 4-6 6-7 14, Autumn Wilkinson 2-7 5-5 10, Kennadi Buchholz 3-5 0-4 6, Makenzie Zell 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 17-40 21-33 59.
FG%: White River .410, DeSmet .425. 3-pt FG:White River 1-9 (Valandra-Prue 0-2, Wells 1-5, Morrison 0-1, White Hat 0-1), DeSmet 4-13 (Osthus 2-3, Burke 1-5, Wilkinson 1-5). Rebounds: White River 23 (TEAM 5), DeSmet 32 (Poppen 8). Fouls White River 23, DeSmet 18. Fouled out: Valandra-Prue Wells . Technical: none. Assists: White River 0, DeSmet 0. Steals: White River 10 (Wells 2, Morrison 2, Bear Heels 2), DeSmet 9 (TEAM 2, Beck 2, Wilkinson 2). Blocked shots: White River 0, DeSmet 0. Turnovers: White River 16, DeSmet 16.