WATERTOWN — The Huron Tigers closed the book on the 2020-21 season Thursday night, as cold shooting again placed them behind the eight ball and they weren’t able to recover, suffering a 66-45 loss to the Watertown Arrows in Eastern Dakota Conference boys’ basketball, at the Watertown Civic Arena.
“It was a tough loss,” said Tiger coach Jon Schouten after the contest, “but let me tell you that I am so proud of all of our guys. All six of our seniors gave all they had every day in practice and at every game. They got knocked down again tonight and had the chance to just curl up, but again they came out fighting and I can’t say enough about these kids.”
Huron got derailed by cold shooting in the opening quarter again, as the team scored only four points in the opening period, as Derick Siemonsma hit two free throws early in the quarter and a short jumper in the final minute for the Tigers. On the other end of the floor, Watertown got points from four different players, including a pair of threes in a 12-0 run that staked the Arrows to a 15-4 lead after one period.
The Tigers rallied to open the second quarter, as Siemonsma hit one-of-two from the line, Kler Hae hit a nifty spinning jumper and Siemonsma hit from inside again. But Dawson Schmidt hit a three, and Drew Norberg completed a rare four-point play to put the Arrows up by 13 points, at 24-11 with four minutes to play in the half.
Siemomsa would hit in-the-paint jumpers on two straight possessions - the 6-foot, 3-inch senior would wind up with 13 of Huron’s 15 first-half points - only to watch Watertown score the final nine points of the half for a 33-15 cushion at the break.
Facing a double-digit deficit, the Tigers came out scrapping to open the second half. A quick three from Schmidt pushed the lead to 21 for Watertown, but a basket from Jaren Schley and a three from Teagen Pfitzer kept Huron within striking distance. The teams traded points throughout the final three minutes of the quarter and Watertown held a comfortable 45-24 lead headed to the final stanza.
Huron was unable to make strides to cutting the lead any further, however, as the lead grew to 24 points early in the fourth quarter, on back-to-back buckets from Norberg.
The Tigers kept firing, as Pfitzer hit another three, Schley hit from deep and Reilyn Zavesky converted a conventional three-point play. Both teams were able to clear the benches for the last three minutes.
Norberg led all scorers with 22 points for the Arrows, while Schmidt added 18, as the two Watertown players scored nearly two-thirds of the team’s total.
Siemonsma led Huron with 15 points as the Arrows rolled their defense toward him in the second half of play and the going in the paint was tough. Schley added nine.
“This team weathered a lot of storms this season,” Schouten said, “but they never wavered, they never complained and they just kept digging.”
Huron will miss the playoffs this year, as they ended the year with a mark of 2-18, placing them outside the top 16 Class “AA” teams in the state.
Watertown will move on to the boys’ SoDak 16 round, with a likely trip to Brando Valley in the cards.
Score by quarters
Huron 4 15 24
Watertown 15 33 45