BROOKINGS - The Huron Tigers used a pressing, physical defense to keep the Brookings Bobcats offense out of sync all night long, coming away with a 52-41 victory Tuesday in Brookings.
The Tigers and Blake Ellwein jumped out quick, as Ellwein secured the tip and nailed a three 18 seconds into the game. On the inbounds, Huron turned Brookings over and Ellwein finished the play with a bucket, giving Huron a quick 5-0 lead.
The Bobcats then clawed back in as Owen Burns got a putback bucket, Sam Johnson got a steal and a layup, Burns hit a free throw and Keech Bior stepped back for three to give Brookings an 8-7 lead.
Anderson Porisch knotted the score by hitting one of two free throws, but Ben Moret immediately answered with a three to put Brookings on top 11-8.
Ellwein drove hard and drew the foul, hitting one free throw, and after Austin Clark hit a free throw for Brookings, Gavin Moeding got his defender in the air and then drove to the hoop for a bucket, though the Tigers went into the first quarter break trailing 12-11.
Brookings came out ready to fire in the second quarter. Johnson got a bucket on a backdoor cut and Porisch answered with a pull up jumper in the lane.
Then the Bobcats nailed a long-range shot three trips down the court. Huron was able to get a long ball from Carsen Evans during that run but Huron found itself down 23-16 after the barrage of three-point baskets.
Tigers coach Tim Buddenhagen gathered his squad in a timeout, and Huron attacked the basket much better than they had to that point in the game. CJ Gainey drove hard to the hoop and got a bucket, then he hit Moeding on the fast break for a layup. The next trip down the court, Gainey got a bucket on a give-and-go with Blake Ellwein to bring the Tigers within one at 23-22.
Johnson got a bucket for Brookings and then Bior hit a runner across the lane, but Ellwein responded with a three to keep the Tigers within one at 26-25.
Ellwein hit one of two free throws to tie the game and Porisch was the benefactor of hustle on the offensive side, scoring a bucket on the Tigers’ third shot of a possession to give the Tigers a 28-26 lead that they took into half.
Colton McNeil was fouled on a drive to the hoop on the first possession of the second half for Huron and hit both free throws. Then both teams went very cold.
Ellwein hit a reverse layup about two minutes into the half before Clark finally hit a three for Brookings to give them their first second-half points three minutes into the third quarter to close the lead to 32-29.
Ellwein hit one of two free throws and Clark came down the next trip hitting a layup high off the glass to avoid the attempted block of Ellwein. That would be the last real threat the Bobcats would have, however.
The Tigers closed out the third quarter on an 8-2 run to take a 41-33 lead into the final period.
Porisch hit a putback to push the lead out to 10, 43-33, to open the fourth quarter. Ellwein then got an “and one” basket off a give and go with Gainey.
Dior was able to shake free and dunk, and for a two-minute stretch of game time, Brookings had emotional momentum in the game, but the Tigers defense remained stout, and the Bobcats were only able to get a pair of free throws during that time.
After Clark hit a fadeaway baseline jumper, Gainey was never stopped on his way down the court to make it a 50-39 lead.
A pair of free throws for each team made the final 52-41 in favor of the Tigers.
Huron moves to 1-1 with the win behind 20 points and 14 rebounds from Ellwein. Porisch added 11 points and Gainey added six.
Brookings fell to 0-2. Clark had 11 and Bior had 10 to lead the scoring for the Bobcats.
Huron dropped the JV game 66-49.
The Tigers will host Rapid City Central Friday at Huron Arena.
Huron 11 28 41 52
Brookings 12 26 33 41
Huron (1-1): Colton McNeil 1 2-2 4, Gavin Moeding 2 0-0 4, Kolton Ogle 1 0-0 2, CJ Gainey 3 0-0 6, Blake Ellwein 5 8-11 20, Anderson Porisch 5 1-2 11, Carsen Evans 2 0-0 5. Totals: 19 11-15 52.
Brookings (0-2): Ben Moret 1 2-2 5, Austin Clark 4 1-2 11, Nathan Smith 1 0-0 2, Sam Johnson 2 3-4 7, Owen Burns 1 1-2 3, Griffen Bartels 1 0-0 3, Keech Bior 4 0-0 10. Totals: 14 7-10 41.