RAPID CITY — The Yankton Bucks used a 17-2 run over the first five minutes of the second half, overcoming a potent Huron Tiger first-half effort, to emerge with a 62-42 win in the opening round of the State Class “AA” boys’ basketball tournament in the Barnett Center Ice Arena.
“You have to tip your hat to Yankton,” said Tiger coach Jon Schouten. “They’re the defending state champions and they have one of the best players in the state. We played well in the first half, it got away from us in the second.”
The Tigers controlled the first half, as they held a 20-17 lead at the break, on the strength of Kobe Busch’s 18 point effort. Busch outscored Yankton 13-12 in the first half and ended the half with three three-point field goals. He assisted on the lone basket he didn’t score - to Jett McGirr.
But the second half was a completely different story. While the Bucks were content to spread the floor in the first half and seek the best three-point look - at times all five players were outside the arc - the focus turned to the interior and Buck coach Chris Haynes began to run the Yankton offense through 6-7 All-stater Matthew Mors.
Mors was held ineffective in the first half by McGirr and Derick Siemonsma and ended the first two periods with only three points, all on free throws. The second half found Mors positioned in the high post, as junior guards Cooper Cornemann and Cole Sawatzke rubbed defenders off picks set by Mors and then the Bucks exploited their advantage.
The other change that came out of the halftime break was that the Bucks began pressing the Tigers the length of the court and the press caused problems, leading directly to six of the 17 points that Yankton scored on its game-deciding run.
“Yankton made the adjustments at halftime,” Schouten said. “They did what they wanted to do. We didn’t move the ball, we didn’t screen and we didn’t go hard to the basket in the second half. They got things rolling and it just snowballed on us.”
Cornemann ended the game with 30 points, leading all scorers. Mors came back to score 16 for the Bucks, who improve to 18-4 and will move into the semifinals against the winner of the S.F. O’Gorman vs. S.F. Roosevelt game, which was not completed before the Plainsman went to press Thursday night.
Huron got 21 points and 11 rebounds from Busch, as the Tigers fall to 12-10. They will face the loser of the O’Gorman/Roosevelt game at 1:45 Central time today.
Huron 13 20 26 42
Yankton 12 17 44 62
Yankton (18-4): Mile Carda 1 0-0 2; Cole Sawatzke 2 0-0 6; Cooper Cornemann 9 7-10 29; Owen Feser 2 1-2 7; Dylan Horn 0 1-2 1; Matthew Mors 4 8-11 17. Totals: 18 17-25 62.
Huron (12-10): Jett McGirr 2 0-0 4; Tanner Evers 1 1-1 3; Teegan Evers 3 1-2 8; Kobe Busch 8 2-3 21; Cooper Fryberger 1 0-0 2; Hayden Hegg 0 0-1 0; Blake Cruse 1 2-2 4. Totals: 16-6-9 42.