Friday night was a near disaster for the Rapid City Stevens boys' basketball team, as a 16-point fourth quarter lead almost evaporated, and the Raiders won by two.
Saturday afternoon against Mitchell was a different story.
Stevens used a 15-0 run at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth to close out the Kernels 68-43.
"We had some lulls again tonight, but in the end we kind of put it out of reach in the fourth quarter by getting stops," Stevens coach Chris Stoebner said. "I told the guys, anytime you get a win in AA basketball, it’s a big win, no matter how you get it points wise. It would have been nice to have played a little better start to finish, but we’ll take it."
It was a big afternoon for the Raider bench, as it outscored the Mitchell bench 27-7, including a team-high 15 points from Josh Schumacher.
"Josh Schumacher came off the bench and played really well. When we were struggling a little bit he hit some big shots," Stoebner said. "That’s going to be the key all year, different guys have to step up. We played a few guys more minutes which is good, so we’re not running those guys ragged. In the end, we have to get more consistent and that will come with time."
Schumacher, who was 5-of-6 from the field including 3-of-4 from behind the 3-point line, said he doesn't mind coming off the bench.
"My shot was just falling. I just took the open shot that the defense gave me; the guys gave me some good passes," he said. "You’ve just got to be involved on the bench, cheering on your teammates so when you get in, you’re ready to go."
Friday night Stevens was outscored in the fourth 20-8, but Schumacher said that wasn't on the minds of him or his teammates as they pulled away from Mitchell.
"I wasn’t even thinking about last night, I was focused on this game. I think we came out with a little more energy today and it helped us to extend the lead," he said. "Coach is always talking about defense and boards, and it helped that Cooper Bowman got a ton of steals at the end of the game."
At the start of the game, it appeared that Stevens would have no trouble with the Kernels. It jumped out to a 10-2 lead with 4:14 remaining in the first quarter, but Mitchell ended the first on a 8-3 run, and after the first eight minutes the Raiders led 13-10.
Again in the second quarter, Stevens tried to pull away. It led 24-15 with 4:12 left in the half and 30-20 with 2:06 remaining. Mitchell ended the quarter on a mini run, and going into the locker room the Raiders led 31-24.
The third quarter was when Stevens started to pull away. Leading 45-37 with 2:01 left in the third, the Raiders scored the next 15 points. They led 49-37 at the end of the third and 60-37 before Mitchell would score another point with 5:17 remaining in the game.
That run was where Stevens built up it's advantage on the boards, leading to a 40-25 edge.
"When we made our run we started getting one shot and going, obviously whenever you control the boards it’s going to go a long way in winning the game," Stoebner said.
At the start of the season, Stoebner said he thought this year's team had the potential to have a lot of depth. Saturday more players got more minutes, and Stoebner said that was by design.
"I've got to get more guys in and trust more guys. We can’t run Cooper (Bowman) and Connor (King) in particular into the ground," he said. "A couple of guys got more minutes. Josh has played 15 minutes and gave us some good minutes off the bench. By the end (of the season) we’ll be deep, let’s put it that way."
Bowman finished with eight points and had four steals, many coming in the fourth quarter. King had 12 points and was 3-of-4 from 3-point range. Dawson Paulsen also chipped in 11 points. Will Moore finished with a game high seven boards.
Kiel Nelson of Mitchell led all scorers with 20 points as the Kernels shot 26. 9 percent (14-of-52) for the game including going just 4-for-23 (17.4 percent) in the second half.
For the game, Stevens shot 47.7 percent from the field (21-of-44) and 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from the 3-point line.
Stevens is now 3-1 and will face Spearfish Thursday at home. Mitchell is 0-3 and travels to face Brookings Tuesday.