BROOKINGS — When a pair of 1-5 teams meet, one of them will come out of it with its second win - it’s a rule.
Tuesday night, that was the Huron Tigers, who saw an early lead dissipate, but came back with some timely shooting and free throws down the stretch for a 51-46 win over the Brookings Bobcats in ESD Conference boys’ basketball action from the Brookings High School gym.
“Overall, I was pleased with how we started the game and then how we finished it as well,” said Huron coach Jon Schouten. “We needed to make some adjustments and I thought we did a good job of making those adjustments as the game went on.
The first quarter played out better than Schouten could have scripted it. Huron missed its first three-point attempt but then proceeded to hit seven of its next eight - with Brandon Decker converting all four of his attempts, while Kler Hay added a pair of treys and Schley added another as the Tigers forged a 22-9 lead after the first period.
Brookings mistakenly opened the game in a loose 2-3 zone defense, allowing Huron’s guards to penetrate the center from the top, then kick the ball to open teammates on the wing and they converted. Late in the quarter, the Bobcats decided to go man-to-man on defense, a decision that would benefit them in the second quarter.
As hot as the Tigers were in the opening stanza, a lid was welded on their basket in the second quarter. Huron had difficulty at times moving the ball against the Brookings defense, and when they did manage to get a clean look the ball refused to go in the bucket.
Over the first 7:15 of the quarter, Brookings put up nine points - five by Henry Hammrich - while holding the Tigers scoreless and cutting the margin to four points, at 22-18. Only a layup from Jaren Schley with 20 seconds left and a last-second three from Schley - the only two Huron buckets in the quarter, got the Tigers off the schneid in the quarter and gave them a 27-18 lead at the halftime break.
“I think that after we started so hot and Brookings made the change on defense, we began to settle for the first shot we saw,” Schouten said. “We kinda figured we would heat up again and that posed a problem when we didn’t.”
Throughout the game, Huron’s defense made life difficult for the Brookings shooters, as the Tigers’ sticky man-to-man caused problems, allowing very few open looks for the Bobcats.
In the third quarter, Brookings scored the first two baskets, from Hammerich and a three-rebound put-back from Brock Longville, that made it 27-22. Decker responded with a floater in the lane, but after a pair of free throws and a tough off-balance jumper from Zach Moe, Brookings had the lead down to three points - at 29-26.
As they did most of the night, Huron rallied, as first Schley and then Max Kranzer hit deuces, but Brookings got back-to-back buckets from Casey Woodall to cut the lead back to three, at 33-30 headed to the fourth quarter.
A three from Schley opened the final stanza, but the Bobcats went on a 5-0 run to cut the margin to one before Kranzer drilled a three to push the lead back to four.
Needing a defensive stop, Huron had its best defensive turn of the night, stifling Brookings attempt to penetrate the lane and forcing a turnover as the shot clock ran out. But the Tigers were unable to make use of the extra possession, as first Hammrick and then Nick Schefers hit buckets to give Brookings its only lead of the night, at 40-39.
The lead was short-lived, as Decker hit his fifth three of the game. A pair of charity tosses from Reilyn Zavesky and Derick Siemonsma’s driving layup put Huron up six with a minute and a half to play.
Shefers hit a basket and after a missed free throw by the Tigers, Huron got another turnover. Schley hit four free throws on two possessions to put the game out of reach and Huron held on for its second win of the season.
“Jaren really stepped up tonight,” Schouten said. “It’s what you expect a senior to do, and while he doesn’t have a ton of experience, he is finding his place. We had a lot of guys chip in tonight - Brandon’s four threes in the first quarter, Max came in and had a couple of baskets, and Kler Hay’s two big threes in the opening quarter as well. That’s the kind of contribution that this team needs this season. Everyone needs to be ready if their number is called.”
Schley and Decker shared scoring honors for the Tigers with 17 points each and Schley also topped the rebounding charts with six caroms.
For Brookings, Hammrich netted 16 points, while Schefers and Moe each chipped in 10. Longville had a game-high seven rebounds for the Bobcats.
Huron returns to action on Friday, when the Tigers travel to O’Gorman to take on the Knights.
Huron 22 27 33 51
Brookings 9 18 30 46
Huron (2-5): Derick Siemonsma 1 2-4 4; Kler Hae 2 0-0 6; Jaren Schley 5 4-4 17; Brandon Decker 6 0-0 17; Max Kranzler 2 0-0 5; Reilyn Zavesky 0 2-2 2. Totals: 16 8-11 51.
Brookings (1-6): Rick Schefers 3 2-2 10; Brock Longville 2 0-0 4; Zach Moe 5 0-0 10; Casey Woodall 2 0-0 4; Henry Hammrich 7 0-0 16; Keegan Fields 1 0-0 2; Jett Leddy 0 0-1 0. Totals: 20 2-3 46.
FG: H - 16-44 36%; B - 20-50 40%. 3PT FG: H - 11-26 42% (Decker 5, Schley 3, Hae 2, Kranzler 1); B - 4-17 24% (Schefers 2, Hammrich 2). Rebounds: H - 30 (Schley 6); B - 31 (Longville 7). Turnovers: H - 15; B - 12. Fouls: H - 11; B - 16.