For area Class B teams, the road to the state tournament in Aberdeen routed through Rapid City on Friday night as four Region 7B squads contested for two spots in next week’s Round of 16 play.
In the opening game of the doubleheader at South Dakota School of Mines, White River (21-2) struggled at times before posting an 81-57 win over Lyman (10-12), while in the nightcap, Lower Brule cruised to a 73-52 victory over Jones County.
In the first game, both teams struggled early with turnovers, while White River grabbed a 9-4 advantage on early buckets by Nick Saylor and a 3-pointer by Tyson Iyotte.
Lyman cut into the lead behind sophomore guard Brenden Estes, who on three occasions caught the Tiger defense napping for easy layups as the quarter closed with White River holding a 14-11 advantage.
A pesky Lyman zone had White River struggling for good looks in the second frame. And good work on the offensive glass allowed the Raiders to narrow the gap to 21-19 with 4:30 remaining in the half. Hopes of a big upset-White River won the two regular season contests by 30 plus margins-faded as the Tigers went on a 15-5 run in the closing moments of the half to build a 36-24 lead at intermission.
“For whatever reason, we came out sluggish tonight,” White River coach Eldon Marshall said. “We weren’t moving our feet and got into foul trouble. But credit Lyman, too. They played a tough zone defense and kept us on the perimeter.”
Though unable to cut into the White River lead, Lyman matched the Tigers throughout the third frame trailing 57-43 going into the final frame.
Two treys by Jadice Morrison, his third and fourth of the game, and another by Teron Sazue broke the game open late as White River outscored the Raiders 24-14 in the final frame.
“Defensively we did a better job in the second half,” Marshall said. “We hit some 3s, played a little smarter and rebounded better and were able to run a little more. And we executed better against the zone by working the ball inside.”
Morrison led the Tigers with 22 points including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc while Nick Saylor chipped in with 15 points and Tyson Iyotte added 14. Estes led Lyman with 18 points and Baptiste Pourier and Tate Wagner each contributed 10 points.
In the second game of the night, the Lower Brule Sioux utilizing a big first half by sophomore guard Shane Sazue Jr. and some dominating work on the glass in the second on the way to running past Jones County.
The opening quarter had the look of a closely contested game as the Lower Brule tandem of Shane Sazue Jr. and Demas Bromwich — four points each — dueled with Coyote center Morgan Fedderson, who knocked down eight of his 10 points in the game in the opening minutes.
Sazue added a trey — one of three in a first half as part of a 13-point barrage as Lower Brule led 16-12 after one quarter of play.
A 3-pointer by Jones County’s Kade Brost opened second quarter scoring and a Austin Olson free throw knotted the game at 16 early in the second quarter before the Sioux’s pressure defense contributed to a 14-0 run and a 30-16 advantage.
A six-point run by junior forward Austin Olson (a team leading 17 points in the game) in the closing moments of the half for Jones County was offset by two more 3-pointers by Sazue Jr. leading Lower Brule to a 40-23 lead at intermission.
“We just came out and adjusted to the game and did a couple of things that we worked on in practice,” Lower Brule Coach Leonard “Yamni” Jack explained. “Their zone slowed us down at first but we countered that with some things that we haven’t implemented during the season and that made the difference I thought.”
Though Jones County played Lower Brule evenly in the third quarter, the Coyotes were unable to draw closer than 15 points in the second half.
Whereas Suzue led the Sioux in the first half, seniors Kevin Peterson (10-of-18 in the game) and Jayshawn Milton (7-of-11) did the damage in the third and fourth quarters second with most of the points resulting work in the paint or offensive rebound put-backs.
“They’ve done that all year,” Jack added. “Milton has been averaging a double-double for us and Kevin has been around that, too.”
In addition to Olson’s 17 points for Jones County, Fedderson was also in double figures with 10 points.
With the wins, White River (21-2) and Lower Brule (15-7) advance to Round of 16 play on Tuesday (sites yet undetermined) with a trip to the Class B state tournament play in Aberdeen (March 15-17) on the line.