At times it looked easy for the Sturgis boys' and girls' basketball teams Tuesday night, as they swept Lead-Deadwood with ease inside West Gymnasium in Sturgis.
After a rocky first quarter the boys' rode an aggressive second half defense and its usual strong shooting to a 80-45 win while the girls' rebounded their way to a 52-21 win.
Scooper trio strong again in boys' win
Sturgis junior Ryan Garland admitted that with the veteran experience of the Scoopers, sometimes it's just about finding the hot hand and feeding them the ball.
"When we start finding our shots and get open, they just keep falling," he said. "We look for each other on the board, find out who's hot and who's not because we know they'll make it almost every time."
Tuesday it seemed like everyone had the hot hand. Connor Crane led the way with 21 points, Garland had 15, Dawson Geuke had 12 and Jay Krull had 11 as the Scoopers rolled against Lead- Deadwood.
It didn't look like it was going to be easy, however. The Golddiggers came out of the gate strong and at the end of the first quarter Sturgis only led by one at 13-12.
"I think credit has to go to Lead-Deadwood, they came out and brought the intensity in the first quarter and I would say our kids didn't match it," Sturgis coach Colin McCampbell said. "In the second and third quarter especially we maybe did bring a bit more intensity and played the way we're capable of playing but credit goes to them. They kicked our butt in the first quarter."
The Scoopers outscored Lead-Deadwood 20-7 in the second quarter to take a 33-19 lead into the halftime break. The third quarter was when the tempo started to favor Sturgis.
McCampbell had the Scoopers come out in a press/trap hybrid on defense that forced turnovers, and before anyone knew it, the rout was on.
"It was some token-pressure to try to get them to speed them up, which it obviously did, they took a lot of quick shots and that's what we were looking for," he said. "Those quick shots led to us getting out into transition, we haven't done it a lot, we've worked on it a lot and I'm always weary of putting it into a game so credit goes to (assistant coach Patt) Cass for convincing me it was time to put it in."
Lead-Deadwood coach Patrick Gatzke said the press wasn't unlike presses his team has seen this season, so he was disappointed his team struggled with breaking it.
"We've seen that, the biggest problem was that they ran a little different press than we've seen so far. Our press breakers should have been able to handle it anyway," he said. "I think it's one of those deals where we lost contact with the kids, they lost a little focus but give them credit, they're a great ball club."
In the third quarter Sturgis outscored Lead-Deadwood 29-6, and although the Golddiggers won the fourth quarter 20-18 the deficit was too large to overcome.
"They're a great ball club, they're definitely the best team we've faced so far, great (Class) AA team, they've got a great bunch there," Gatzke said. "They definitely got hot in the second half, and we tried to man them but once we went man, it wasn't possible against them."
Sturgis drained nine 3-pointers in the game, which McCampbell said isn't out of the ordinary with the kind of offense the Scoopers run.
"I thought we shot it okay, I think with the amount of shots we had in the first two quarters we could have more," he said. "The way we shoot it, nine does not surprise me I guess you could say, and the kids that made it didn't surprise me either.
"If we can get our inside game to be a little more productive like how it was in the third quarter then you're real hard to guard."
Sturgis is now 5-1 and takes on Custer Saturday on the road. Lead-Deadwood falls to 3-3 and hosts Upton, Wyo. Thursday.
Scooper defense stands tall
It seemed like the Lead-Deadwood girls' could not find the basket throughout the game, as it made just seven field goals and scored 21 points in a loss to Sturgis.
It wasn't just the low output from the field, the Golddiggers had 31 turnovers and Sturgis was able to control the boards most of the night.
"We knew coming in that rebounding was going to be a big issue," Golddigger coach Tim Hansen said. "They're used to a much more physical brand of basketball than we are, and I think that showed tonight. We just didn't hold our box-outs long enough, we didn't get on the floor for the rebounds and especially on our defense boards we got hurt bad."
Early on, Sturgis struggled the score as well. At the end of the first quarter it was 12-4 in favor of the Scoopers.
Sturgis coach Jordan Proefrock said she wasn't pleased with the lack of offensive production, and knows things will need to better down throughout the rest of the season.
"I think it's a focus thing, we need to get more physical in practice," she said. "Sometimes when you go against your friends you're not going 100 percent, and we need to simulate that."
In the second half Lead-Deadwood didn't hit a field goal and ended the quarter trailing 22-7.
Throughout the game Sturgis issued a full court press that was a nightmare for Lead-Deadwood to deal with.
"We're used to pressure, but we're not used to style of pressure that you see from a Sturgis or a St. Thomas More where they're really good at playing tight to the ball handler and yet not committing the foul," Hansen said. "Typically when we're seeing pressure we're not seeing it applied that aggressively and that cleanly."
In the third quarter Sturgis outscored Lead-Deadwood 14-8 and in the fourth it was also all Scoopers, to the tune of 16-6.
Olivia Jolley was the game's leading scorer with 15 while Loralee Stock contributed 10 for Sturgis. Anna Campbell led the way for Lead-Deadwood with nine.
Proefrock said there is work for the Scoopers to do, but she also saw a lot of good things out of her team.
"You're coming off Christmas break, you're kind of rusty, you're tired. We shot 21 percent, and that's awful," she said. "I think we're disappointing because we're at a point now where we're better than that, we're veteran now, and that was disappointing to see.
"On the other hand, defensively we put the lock down and we rebounded well. Those turnovers are simple things like travels, really simple things that we need to make sure we sharpen up as we continue to play."
Sturgis is now 3-4 and also heads to Custer Saturday, Lead-Deadwood falls to 4-2 and will host Upton, Wyo. with the boys' Thursday.