The Aberdeen Central boys basketball team began its 2023-24 home campaign with two wins in Golden Eagles Arena.
Central knocked off Spearfish 62-42 Friday, Dec. 15 and picked up a 61-58 come-from-behind win Saturday, Dec. 16 over Sturgis.
The Golden Eagles are now 3-1 on the season.
“You always want to protect your home court,” Central head boys coach Brent Norberg said following Saturday’s game. “If you want to try and get a home game in the tournament, you have to win your games at home and try to find a way to split on the road, which is difficult in our league. (Friday) we played really well in the second half, today we did not, but to get two wins was very good for our guys.”
Central led Sturgis 31-25 at the half due in large part to rebounding. The Golden Eagles dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Scoopers 42-32. Central had 19 offensive rebounds.
Cam Olson finished with 11 rebounds, five of which were on the offensive glass. Six of Grant Fritz’s eight rebounds were on the offensive end.
“Cam and Grant have done a great job tag-teaming the post for us,” Norberg said. “Cam wound up with some foul trouble, so we needed Grant for a longer stretch, and he was able to finish, so it’s a luxury to have those two guys, for sure.”
Sturgis caught fire early in the third quarter, outscoring Central 27-8 to take a 52-39 lead. The Eagles, however, flipped the script in the fourth quarter, scoring 22 points to only six for the Scoopers.
Prior to taking the floor in the fourth, Norberg told his squad, “You have two choices. You can pout about it or you can grit your teeth, play a little full-court and see how tough we are.”
The full-court press forced Sturgis into 16 turnovers on the night.
“I think our press got them out of their offensive rhythm. They couldn’t just come down and get set in their system, you know? We took 15, 16 seconds off the shot clock. Offense is such a rhythm thing, and once you get a team out of it, it can be difficult to get it back,” Norberg said.
Central finished with three players in double figures, led by Brendan Phillips who came off the bench to score a team-high 14 points.
“His dad was a coach, so you always like to have a coach’s kid because you know he understands the game,” Norberg said. “Brendan puts in a lot of time and we ask him to do a lot for us, and that’s why he’s the player he is.”
A strong second half Friday propelled Central to a 62-42 win over Spearfish.
The Golden Eagles outscored Spearfish 39-20 after halftime, holding the Spartans to seven points in the fourth quarter.
Camden Fauth led the way for Central with 15 points, going three for three from the three-point line. Fritz added 12 points, while Parker Lemer finished with 10.
Central returns to action Thursday, Dec. 21 at Yankton. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Roncalli boys go cold from the floor, fall to Dell Rapids
Aberdeen Roncalli had its worst shooting night of the season, mustering just 31 points and falling to Dell Rapids 50-31 during the Cavalier Classic Saturday at the Roncalli Gym.
“Looking at the numbers right now, we went 43 of 58 possessions without scoring,” Roncalli head coach Dan Gallagher said after the game. “We forced some shots that were uncharacteristic from our team, and I think our guys will recognize that some of those shots we didn’t need at that point in our (offensive) possession.”
Maddox Miller led the Cavaliers with 11 points, while Jack Henry scored a game-high 19 points for Dell Rapids.
Rhett Kluth, a 6-foot-9 post player for Dells, altered shots throughout the game and forced some defensive changes for Roncalli that, at times, were inconsistent, Gallagher said.
“One thing we wanted to do was run them off the three-point line and take care of No. 30 (Kluth), and, for the most part, we did a pretty good job of that, but they just found spots in our defense and hit probably more mid-range jump shots than we’ll maybe see this year,” Gallagher said. “Our zone kind of gave those shots up and (the Quarriers) were very efficient shooting the ball.”
Roncalli, 1-2, returns to action Thursday, Dec. 21 at rival Groton. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Aberdeen Christian splits games with Mobridge-Pollock, Sisseton
Aberdeen Christian dropped a 77-61 road contest to Mobridge-Pollock Tuesday, Dec. 19. The Knights are now 1-3.
Joey Johnson led the Knights with a game-high 23 points with 14 coming in the second half. Konar Furman and Ellis Russell both scored 10 points for the Knights, however Christian couldn’t get enough stops on the defensive end. Christian allowed the Tigers to score 24 points in the second quarter.
Unique White Twin led three Mobridge-Pollock players in double figures with 20 points. The Mobridge-Pollock is now 4-0.
Late during his team’s Saturday game against Sisseton, Aberdeen Christian head boys basketball coach Aaron Moeller had an eerie feeling.
“I was just thinking, ‘Oh, no, here we go again,'” Moeller said.
In its previous two games against Warner and Leola/Frederick, Christian held leads going into the fourth quarter, but lost. This time, however, the Knights held on and picked up a 55-38 victory.
“I think we left a lot of points on the table, but no question, it’s great to see us get into the win column,” Moeller said. “With a group of younger guys that’s never played together, when you saw the ball go through the net, hopefully, it gives them confidence and propels them now as we continue the season.”
The Knights held Sisseton to 12 points in the first half, allowing just one made field goal in the second quarter. However, Sisseton would rally and cut a 15-point lead to seven in the final stanza.
“The fourth quarter tonight felt very similar to the Warner and (Leola/Frederick) games. We had a late lead, but they come roaring back,” Moeller said after Saturday’s game. “I just told our guys to finish and to get over the hump, and they were able to do that.”
Johnson led the Knights with a game-high 23 points.
“You know, I’ve said it a couple times, but I really do think we’ll be a much better team in February than we are now,” Moeller said. “I think the growth is happening, maybe not as quickly as we’d all like, but we are seeing it.”
Groton Area picks back-to-back wins
The Groton boys basketball team picked up a pair of wins in the past week to improve to 2-1.
The Tigers used a 21-6 run in the third quarter to pull away for a 71-54 road win over West Central on Friday.
Lane Tietz led the way for Groton with a game-high 31 points, making 11 shots from the floor and six of seven free throws. Logan Ringgenberg added 11.
West Central was led by Northern State recruit Jake Kuhl, who had 10 points.
The Tigers picked up their first win of the year Dec. 14, routing Sisseton 83-38 on the road. The Tigers finished with three players in double figures, led by Tietz’s 21 points. Ryder Johnson had 18 points, while Jacob Zak added 15.
Highlights from other boys basketball games involving local schools follow.
- Leola/Frederick improved to 5-0 Tuesday night, downing Potter County 72-41 behind 21 points from Noah Kippley.
- Kippley and Brayden Sumption combined for 38 points to help lead Leola/Frederick past Waubay-Summit 58-51 Saturday. Kippley led the Titans with 22 points, while Sumption chipped in 16. The Titans knocked off Aberdeen Christian 66-56 on Thursday as Kippley scored a game-high 27.
- Maddox Foss netted 19 points and Ethan Schwenn 16 as Wilmot downed Langford 59-35 Tuesday.
- Waubay-Summit trailed Ipswich 10-4 after the first quarter Tuesday, but rallied for a 46-39 win. Jackson Wohlleber had 10 points to lead the Mustangs.
- A 16-6 lead at the end of the first quarter proved more than enough for Hitchcock-Tulare as the Patriots rolled to a 59-26 win over Langford Saturday. Patrick Maynard had 23 points for Hitchcock-Tulare.
- Ipswich led Webster 40-39 after three quarters and scored just enough in the fourth to secure a 54-49 road win Saturday. Jace Konsor had 17 points, knocking down four three-pointers. The Tigers rolled to a 60-28 win Thursday Dec. 14 over Langford. Konsor notched 20 points.
- Potter County held Northwestern to a pair of field goals in the first quarter en route to a 53-30 win Saturday. Carter Luikens had 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Battlers. Northwestern got 15 points from Nathan Melius.
Roncalli girls pick up wins over Groton, Northwestern
Aberdeen Roncalli, receiving votes in the latest Class A high school basketball poll, knocked off Groton Area and Northwestern in the past week to improved to 4-0.
Roncalli beat Groton 33-20 Tuesday at Roncalli Gym in a game head coach Derek Larson admitted was no work of art.
“It was not pretty tonight, especially not on the offensive end for both teams. Points were at a premium for sure,” he said.
The teams combined for nine points in the first quarter and hit the break tied at 16. Roncalli hit four of its five three-pointers in the second half and held Groton to four points in the third quarter and zero points in the fourth to pick up the win.
“Both teams did play hard, and we got out of our kids what we asked of them and that was to win the game on the defensive end because both offenses were bad,” Larson said. “We did not play a very smart game offensively. We had too many turnovers where we didn’t need to throw passes. Too many missed shots out of system. We just kind of had some mental lapses.”
Larson also felt the Cavaliers’ rivalry with Groton came into play.
“We got smacked by them last year. They drilled us at their place. We scored one point in the JV game last year, got hammered in the varsity game last year, and I think that was in the back of everyone’s mind to maybe prove this year isn’t last year, and really we did that on the defensive end,” Larson said.
Roncalli forced Northwestern into 22 turnovers in Saturday’s 64-38 win in the Cavalier Classic at the Roncalli Gym.
Three-point shooting was key in Roncalli gaining separation early in the second quarter. McKenna O’Keefe and Maddie Huber both knocked-down triples as the Cavaliers outscored Northwestern 17-10 for a 33-21 halftime lead.
The Wildcats went to 6-foot-2 post Amanda Ratigan early, and it paid dividends until Roncalli turned up the defensive pressure. Ratigan finished the game with 22 points.
Ava Hanson took over the third quarter for the Cavaliers, scoring 11 of her game-high 23 points. She also finished with eight rebounds as Roncalli won the battle of the boards 30-21.
Claire Crawford made three three-pointers and finished with 11 points for the Cavaliers.
Roncalli returns to action Friday, Dec. 22 against Herreid/Selby. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Roncalli Gym.
Central girls make it four straight wins to open season
Aberdeen Central, ranked fifth in the Class AA high girls high school basketball poll, swept road games against Spearfish and Sturgis last weekend to start the season 4-0.
The Golden Eagles rolled to a 59-33 win over the Scoopers Saturday.
Defense for Central proved to be a major factor as the Eagles held Sturgis to just three points in the first quarter and nine in the first half.
Senior Caydi Withers had a breakout game for the Eagles, knocking down eight three-pointers en route to a game-high 24 points. Taryn Hermansen added 18 points.
Friday in Spearfish, Central rallied from a halftime deficit to pick up a 54-47 triumph.
The Golden Eagles outscored the Spartans 37-22 after the break after trailing 25-17.
Central used a 7-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter to extend its lead to 46-42. The defense did its part, too, yielding just five points in the fourth.
Withers and Hermansen led the way, scoring 18 and 20 points, respectively.
The Golden Eagles host Yankton Thursday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. in Golden Eagles Arena.
Groton Area girls even record at 2-2 with win over West Central
Strong three-point shooting helped the Groton girls pick up a 45-35 victory Saturday at West Central.
Sydney Leicht scored a game-high 17 points, knocking down three of the Tigers’ six three-pointers. Kennedy Hanson added two triples and 14 points.
Thursday, Groton fell 65-22 to Sisseton as no Tigers reached double figures.
Krista Langager led Sisseton, ranked No. 2 in the Class A girls poll, with 20 points.
Highlights from other girls basketball games involving local schools follow.
- Mobridge-Pollock built a 33-9 halftime lead and cruised to a 65-16 win against Aberdeen Christian Tuesday. Reagan Weisbeck, Tegan Konold, Charley Henderson and Faith Heil scored 10 apiece to lead the Tigers.
- Warner made it three straight wins to open the season with a 49-37 road victory over Potter County Saturday. Kyra Marcuson paced the Monarchs with 15 points.
- Waubay-Summit’s Faith Larson netted 17 points during a 60-41 victory over Ipswich Tuesday. Bri Geditz netted 11 for Ipswich.
- Langford improved to 2-3 Tuesday with a 50-36 triumph against Wilmot. Alex Darling’s 19 points led the way.
- Potter County downed Leola/Frederick 49-31 Tuesday to claim its first win of the season.
- Ipswich picked up its first win of the year Friday, defeating Langford 62-54. Gabby Wald paced the Tigers with 23 points.
- Langford logged its first victory of the season 43-41 over Hitchcock-Tulare on Saturday. Megan Gustafson paced the Lions with 18 points.
- Aberdeen Christian fell to 0-3 with a 54-28 loss to Redfield at the Cavalier Classic Saturday. Christian was held to three points in the second quarter.