Bulldogs advance to fourth straight title game


ABERDEEN – In a matchup between the two-time defending state champion De Smet Bulldogs and the team that held the top ranking in the state all season long, the Aberdeen Christian Knights, the Bulldogs dominated the second half to get the victory 46-31 in semifinal action Friday night in the boys’ Class B State Basketball Tournament at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen.

Both teams move to 22-3 after the game.

The two teams came out firing but not connecting, with Malek Wieker hitting a fadeaway shot to put the Knights on the board on Aberdeen Christian’s second possession. After a handful of empty possessions, Gannon Gruenhagen got De Smet on the board with a corner three.

Aberdeen Christian’s Ethan Russell nailed a three and the Bulldogs’ George Jensen answered immediately with a long range shot to give De Smet a 6-5 lead at the first media timeout.

Damon Wilkinson got a pair of free throws and Kasen Janssen got a baseline drive to push the lead out to 10-5 before Wieker scored on a runner in the lane for the Knights.

Kadyn Fast got the shooter’s bounce on a turnaround jumper and Wilkinson got the ball down low to push the lead out to 14-7 with a minute left in the first quarter.

Tom Aughenbaugh hit Jensen underneath for a bucket as the quarter ran down, but Wieker was able to hit a long three from the top of the key to make it 16-10 at the end of one.

Wilkinson opened the second quarter with a putback bucket for De Smet. Jensen then hit a post-up move underneath to give the Bulldogs the 20-10 lead.

Wieker hit a pull up for the Knights, but Wilkinson got an offensive rebound and was fouled. He hit one of two to make the De Smet lead 21-12 with 5:31 left in the half.

Jackson Isakson hit his first basket for Aberdeen Christian on a spinning move in the lane just ahead of the media timeout to make it 21-14. Russell got a putback bucket to bring the Knights within five and then Isakson was fouled underneath and hit one of two, bringing the lead to 21-17 for the Bulldogs.

Fast hit a slick move in the lane and Gruenhagen drained a three to quickly push the lead out to nine at 26-17 with two minutes in the half.

A Wilkinson free throw just before half made it 27-17 at half for De Smet.

Isakson opened the scoring in the second half, hitting one of two free throws, but both teams struggled to hit from the field in the first few minutes of the second half. Russell found Kaden Clark underneath for the Knights for the first field goal of the half to make it 27-20. Andrew Brennan then drove all the way to the cup for a layup to cut it to 27-22.

Wilkinson was fouled underneath. He hit one of two to push the Bulldogs lead back out to 28-22 with four minutes remaining in the third. Isakson beat everyone down the court to cut the lead back down to four at 28-24.

Janssen cut down the baseline and made a bucket to give the Bulldogs a 30-24 lead, drawing a timeout from Aberdeen Christian coach Matt Rohrbach.

The Knights got a post up move from Clark out of the timeout. Wilkinson hit Janssen cutting to the hoop for a bucket to make it 32-24 heading into the final quarter.

Clark found Russell cutting underneath to open the fourth quarter. Jensen drove hard to the hoop and was fouled. He hit both free throws for the Bulldogs to make it 34-28 De Smet.

After a steal, Fast hit a pull up jumper. Fast then made a steal and coasted in for the layup to push the lead out to 38-28, drawing an Aberdeen Christian timeout.

Janssen nailed a corner three to push the Bulldogs out to 41-28. Russell got fouled on the block and hit one of two for the Knights. After a Fast runner in the lane, Russell was fouled again underneath but this time missed both shots, leaving De Smet up 43-29 with two and a half minutes remaining.

Clark got a put back and the Knights called a quick timeout. Wilkinson hit Jensen streaking down the court after a rebound for a layup. Fast hit a free throw to make it 46-31, and that would end up the final tally.

The Bulldogs were led by Jensen and Fast with 11 points. Jensen added four blocks. Wilkinson hauled in 16 rebounds for De Smet.

The Knights were led by Malek Wieker with nine points. Ethan Russell scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds.

De Smet will go for its third straight title against Lower Brule tonight. Aberdeen Christian will play White River for third place.

De Smet         16 27 32 46

Aberdeen Christian     10 17 24 31

De Smet (22-3): Gannon Gruenhagen 2 0-0 6, Kadyn Fast 5 1-2 11, Kasen Janssen 4 0-1 9, George Jensen 4 2-3 11, Damon Wilkinson 2 5-8 9. Totals: 17 8-14 46.

Aberdeen Chrstian (22-3): Andrew Brennan 1 0-0 2, Jackson Isakson 2 2-4 5, Ethan Russell 3 1-4 8, Malek Wieker 4 0-0 9, Kaden Clark 3 0-0 6. Totals: 13 3-8 31.

FG: DS - 17/44 39%; AC - 13/46 28%. 3-pt FG: DS - 4/17 (Gruenhagen 2, Janssen, Jensen); AC - 2/22 (Russell, Wieker). Rebounds: DS 40 (Wilkinson 16), AC 28 (Russell 9). Assists: DS 11 (Janssen 3), AC 6 (Brennan, Clark 2). Steals: DS 3 (Janssen), AC 1. Blocks: DS 7 (Jensen 4), AC 1. Turnovers: DS 7, AC 5. Fouls: DS 12, AC 16.

Lower Brule 57, White River 49
ABERDEEN – The top-seeded Lower Brule Sioux fans wore shirts saying “unfinished business” as they took hold of a rematch with the White River Tigers, a team that they played a classic three-overtime game with in the 2022 State B Tournament. The Sioux handled business Friday with a 57-49 victory over the Tigers in the semifinals in Aberdeen.

The Sioux jumped out to as much as a 10-point lead in the first half with excellent shooting and denial defense to keep the ball out of White River’s Joe Sayler’s hands. Coming out of a timeout midway through the second quarter, the Tigers began having Sayler bring the ball up the court, and it completely reset the offense, allowing White River to get back into the game and eventually take the lead going into half 26-22.

The two teams went back and forth throughout the third quarter, with a quick run by the Sioux early in the quarter bringing them even in the game. Neither team separated by more than a few points throughout the third quarter, with Lower Brule holding a 41-39 lead heading to the final frame.

The Sioux kicked in the defensive intensity in the final quarter, and it led to a 11-2 run over the first five minutes of the quarter to open up a 52-41 lead. Lower Brule held up to earn a championship berth.

Lane Gray and Brian LaRoche Jr each scored 15 points to lead the Sioux, now 22-3. Tayshawn Battese added 11 points and hauled in 12 rebounds.

Sayler led the Tigers, now 20-5, with 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

The Sioux will meet De Smet in a championship game rematch from 2022. White River will play Aberdeen Christian for third place.

White River         9 26 39 49
Lower Brule     12 22 41 57

White River (20-5): Nicolas Marshall 1 0-0 2, Mackenzie Wike 1 0-1 2, Joe Sayler 11 3-4 28, TJ Beardt 3 0-0 6, Gavin Folkers 1 0-0 3, Evastine Wright 3 0-0 8. Totals: 20 3-5 49.

Lower Brule (22-3): Lane Gray 5 2-2 15, Brian LaRoche Jr 6 1-2 15, Gavin Thigh 4 0-1 8, Ellwyn Langdeau 4 0-0 8, Tayshawn Battese 5 1-1 11. Totals: 24 4-6 57.

FG: WR - 20/46 44%; LB - 24/47 51%. 3-pt FG: WR - 6/21 (Sayler 3, Wright 2, Folkers); LB - 5/12 (Gray 3, LaRoche 2). Rebounds: WR 25 (Sayler, Beardt 8), LB 25 (Battese 12). Assists: WR 10 (Marshall 4), LB 11 (Thigh 4). Steals: WR 8 (Marshall, Folkers 3), LB 10 (LaRoche 3). Turnovers: WR 17, LB 12. Fouls: WR 12, LB 10. Technical Fouls: LB (Gray).

Castlewood 59, Faith 49
ABERDEEN – The eighth-seeded Castlewood Warriors bounced back after an opening round loss to defeat the Faith Longhorns 59-49 in the consolation semifinals of the boys’ State B Basketball Tournament Friday at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen.

The Warriors move to 19-6 with the victory while Faith falls to 22-3.

After having Lower Brule jump out early on them in the opener, Castlewood made sure to come out strong, opening with the first five points, but Faith came right back. The two teams went back and forth through the first quarter, but Longhorn foul trouble began to add up late in the first quarter.

Fouls would become an issue for Faith as the Longhorns attempted a late comeback, with five players with at least four fouls as the team attempted to close in on the Warriors.

Castlewood hit just enough free throws to clinch a spot in the consolation championship game.

The Warriors were led by Lane Tvedt and Joe Decker with 13 points. Bryon Laue chipped in 10 points and hauled in a game-high 17 rebounds.

Jackson Schauer scored a game-high 22 points for the Longhorns. Caden Selby hit for 11 points and Rylan Palmer netted 10 points. Selby and Matthew Gray each grabbed nine boards to lead Faith.

The Warriors will face Viborg-Hurley in the consolation championship today. Faith battles Ethan for seventh place.

Faith         8 22 34 49
Castlewood     11 27 43 59

Faith (22-3): Rylan Palmer 4 2-2 10, Matthew Gray 1 0-1 2, Caden Selby 4 2-3 11, Jackson Schauer 5 10-10 22, Waycee Nelson 1 1-2 4. Totals: 15 15-18 49.

Castlewood (19-6): Lane Tvedt 4 3-5 13, Quincy Thu 2 4-8 9, Booker Schooley 1 4-6 6, Joe Decker 5 0-0 13, Bryon Laue 4 2-4 10, Jamison Keszler 3 2-2 8. Totals: 19 15-25 59.

FG: F - 15/56 27%; C - 19/40 48%. 3-pt FG: F - 4/17 (Schauer 2, Selby, Nelson); C - 6/14 (Decker 3, Tvedt 2, Thu). Rebounds: F 37 (Gray, Selby 9), C 35 (Laue 17). Assists: F 4 (Palmer 3), C 8 (Schooley 3). Steals: F 8 (Nelson 3), C 6 (Tvedt, Schooley 2). Turnovers: F 12, C 16. Fouls: F 23 (Palmer out), Castlewood 14.

Viborg-Hurley 56, Ethan 42
ABERDEEN – The Viborg-Hurley Cougars took control in the third quarter to defeat the Ethan Rustlers 56-42 in consolation action Friday at the boys’ State B Basketball Tournament in Aberdeen

The two teams went back and forth throughout the first half with four ties and seven lead changes in the first half. The Ethan defense was able to come back and claim a 30-29 halftime lead by holding the Cougars scoreless for the final three and a half minutes of the first half.

The Cougars leaned on the outside shooting of Kobee Sherman and the slashing play of Gage Goettertz to grab a double-digit lead in the second half. The Rustlers couldn’t gather an offensive charge like the first half, and the Cougars were able to close out the victory.

The Cougars move to 21-4 behind 20 points each from Goettertz and Sherman. Nick Hanson added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Ethan fell to 20-5 despite 17 points and 11 rebounds from Riley Endres. Taite Klumb added 10 points.

The Cougars will challenge Castlewood for the consolation championship today while Ethan plays Faith for seventh place.

Viborg-Hurley     17 29 46 56
Ethan         16 30 38 42

Viborg-Hurley (21-4): Brady Schroedermeier 0 2-4 2, Gage Goettertz 10 0-1 20, Kobee Sherman 6 3-3 20, Nick Hanson 4 1-2 10, Bryson Morrison 1 2-2 4, Devin Sayler 0 0-1 0, Nolan Kolthoff 0 0-2 0. Totals: 21 8-15 56.

Ethan (20-5): Kody Klumb 1 2-2 5, Taite Klumb 4 2-4 10, Riley Endres 8 0-1 17, Wyatt Sinkie 1 0-0 2, Kory Storm 3 0-0 6, Drake Gustafson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 4-7 42.

FG: VH - 21/37 57%; E - 18/51 35%. 3-pt FG: VH - 6/11 (Sherman 5, Hanson); E - 2/10 (KKlumb, Endres). Rebounds: VH 26 (Hanson 10), E 29 (Endres 11). Assists: VH 8 (Goettertz 6), E 10 (Endres 3). Steals: VH 9 (Schroedermeier, Goettertz 3), E 4 (Endres 2). Turnovers: VH 14, E 12. Fouls: VH 11, E 13 (KKlumb out).