Watertown rallies to edge Huron

PHOTO BY ROGER MERRIAM/PUBLIC OPINION Watertown’s Maddy Rohde goes for the steal against Huron’s Isabelle Ellwein during their game Tuesday in Watertown.

WATERTOWN – The Huron Tigers led from the first bucket until the very final minute of the game, but the Watertown Arrows came from behind to steal a victory 36-34 Tuesday in ESD girls’ basketball action in Watertown.

Both coaches emphasize defense, and it showed early on, as the first five combined possessions for both teams resulted in turnovers. Hamtyn Heinz finally put the first ball through a basket with a three-point basket off a Bryn Huber drive-and-dish.

Maddy Rohde was fouled by Huber on a drive and made one of two free throws for the Arrows, then Kristen Janes streaked down the lane for a bucket on a feed from Huber. Watertown’s Jade Lund beat the Tigers’ press down the floor for a basket, making it 5-3.

The Arrows offense would go cold the rest of the first period, and Huron would finish the first quarter on an 8-0 run, including a runner and a long three from Isabelle Ellwein and a runner in the lane from freshman Hylton Heinz to make it 13-3 to close out the first frame.

Ellwein opened the second with a three from the top of the key that got the shooter’s bounce. Jaida Young got the ball on Watertown’s third attempt of the possession to break the Arrows’ long scoring drought.

Rohde got a steal and made a layup for Watertown, but Ellwein hit another three on the ensuing possession. After Hamtyn Heinz streaked down the court with a rebound and went coast to coast for a layup, Watertown coach Chad Rohde called timeout to gather his team.

The ploy worked, as the Arrows refocused the rest of the half, with Young blowing by her defender for a layup on the possession after the timeout.

Ellwein hit a pair of free throws after being fouled on a drive. That’s when Watertown sophomore Grace Corey made her presence known off the bench.

Corey hit a runner in the lane. The next trip down the court, Young found Corey for a backdoor layup.

After a pair of scoreless possessions, Corey then finished her own 7-0 run with a corner three to pull the Arrows within seven at 23-16.

A Hamtyn Heinz free throw made it 24-16 at half.

Both teams struggled shooting in the third quarter. Miranda Falconer opened the frame with a corner three, but it was nearly two minutes before Hamtyn Heinz answered with a three for the Tigers.

Ellwein drove and picked up a foul, hitting both charity shots to give the Tigers a 29-19 lead, but Rohde hit a buzzer-beater that seemed to energize the Watertown bench and send the game into the final quarter with Huron up 29-21.

Watertown senior Kendall Paulson hit her first bucket of the game with a corner three. Ellwein responded with a jumper near the block.

Emery Thury then scored her first points of the game for the Arrows as she attacked the hoop on consecutive trips, gaining buckets both times and cutting the Huron lead to 31-28. Tigers coach Kody Kopfmann called a timeout for the Tigers to re-focus his crew.

However, it didn’t work. The Arrows turned the Tigers over and Rohde, after struggling shooting all evening, hit a three from the extended elbow to tie the game for the first time.

Ellwein would hit a three at the top of the key to give the Tigers a 34-31 lead, but Rohde responded with another deep ball to tie the game back up.

With roughly 90 seconds left in the game, Thury worked the pick-and-roll with Young and put in the layup to give Watertown its first lead of the game at 36-34. The Tigers had the ball for a final shot, but a corner three by Huber bounced off the rim, giving Watertown the come-from-behind victory.

Watertown moves to 6-5 behind Rohde’s 11 points. Corey added seven points, and Thury dropped in six points, all in the fourth quarter.

Huron got 20 points from Ellwein and 10 points from Hamtyn Heinz, but falls to 5-5.

Coach Kopfmann said the Arrows did what they needed to do at the crucial point of the game.

“They made shots when it counted,” Kopfmann noted. “We didn’t execute well at all tonight. We didn’t get the shots we were expected to get out of our zone offense.”

Huron won the JV game 47-43.

The Tigers will host Rapid City Central on Friday.

Huron         13 24 29 34
Watertown           3 16 21 36

Huron (5-5): Kristen Janes 1 0-0 2, Hylton Heinz 1 0-0 2, Hamtyn Heinz 3 2-6 10, Isabelle Ellwein 6 4-4 20. Totals: 11 6-10 34.

Watertown (6-5): Maddy Rohde 4 1-2 11, Emery Thury 3 0-0 6, Jaida Young 2 0-0 4, Miranda Falconer 1 0-0 3, Grace Corey 3 0-0 7, Jade Lund 1 0-0 2, Kendall Paulson 1 0-0 3. Totals: 15 1-2 36.