The Aberdeen Central boys had a shot to take down the top-rated team in the state Saturday at Golden Eagles Arena. In fact, Central had several shots in that quest before Sioux Falls Washington turned back the Golden Eagles 65-59.
“That’s what you want,” said Central coach Brent Norberg of having a shot at pulling off the upset. “It’s unfortunate because we had a lot of shots. We had I don’t know how many open looks at threes from good shooters up two, that would have put us up five with under three (minutes) to go. It might have been a different deal.”
The Eagles still had a chance, trailing 58-57 in the final minute. However, after the Warriors missed a free throw, Eli Williams stole the ball and fed Angot Akot for a three-point play to give SFW a two-possession advantage. About a minute earlier, Williams stole the ball and scored to put the Warriors on top.
“We had the rebound on a free throw and then we turn it over,” Norberg said. “You have to give them credit. That’s a senior play. That’s a smart kid making a play. He did it twice to us.”
Central made it a two-point game on two free throws from Spencer Barr with 15.6 seconds left, but Mikele Kambalo made four straight foul shots in the closing seconds for the final margin of difference.
Sam Rohlfs led four players in double figures for Central with 15 points. Noah Behrends followed with 12, Harrison Reede had 11 and Alec Voegele finished with 10.
In the end, the Eagles were left to wonder how things may have gone differently had one more shot gone in.
“I thought Alec and Sam made tough shots down the stretch. Noah made some tough shots down the stretch,” Norberg said. “(Harrison) had a great look at a 3 in the corner that he almost always makes, in and out. What do you do? We got the looks we wanted, they just didn’t go in.”
Williams finished with 24 points to lead Sioux Falls Washington and three steals, two of which helped to seal the deal.
Central ended the regular season with a 10-10 record. The Eagles should take some confidence into their SoDak 16 game next Saturday after pushing the top team in the state to the brink.
“It definitely gives us some confidence, but we also have to find a way in a close game to make that play to win it,” Norberg said. “Our kids give a great effort every time. We just have to find a way to make that one last play to get over the hump.”
SIOUX FALLS WASHINGTON: Tahj Two Bulls 4 2-3 10, Mikele Kambalo1 6-7 9, Joe Uttecht 3 0-0 7, Akok Aguer 3 0-0 7, Eli Williams 10 2-2 24, Angok Akot 2 1-2 5, Kael Miedema 1 1-2 3. Totals 24-51 13-18 65.
ABERDEEN CENTRAL: Alec Voegele 4 0-0 10, Noah Behrends 3 3-5 12, Harrison Reede 4 0-0 11, Sam Rohlfs 7 1-2 15, Aj Hase 1 0-0 2, Spencer Barr 1 2-3 5, Brady Rohrbach 1 2-2 4. Totals 22-55 8-12 59.
Sioux Falls Washington 17 29 45 65
Aberdeen Central 17 30 45 59
3-point field goals – Kambalo, Uttecht, Willilams 2; Voegele 2, Behrends, Reede 3, Barr. Total fouls – Sioux Falls Washington 10; Aberdeen Central 12. Rebounds – Sioux Falls Washington 26 (Aguer 7); Aberdeen Central 30 (Behrends 9). Turnovers – Sioux Falls Washington 11; Aberdeen Central 12. Steals – Sioux Falls Washington 6 (Williams 3); Aberdeen Central 7 (Hase 4).
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