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Central closes out Harrisburg in AA tourney

Aberdeen Central’s Harrison Reede, right, puts up a corner three-point shot as Sioux Falls Washington’s Tahj Two Bulls, left, closes out on defense during a game earlier this season at the Golden Eagles Arena. Reede made a big three-pointer and two clutch free throws down the stretch in Central's win over Harrisburg on Friday. Photo by John Davis taken 2/27/2021

RAPID CITY – Aberdeen Central had been there several times before, but this time the Golden Eagles found a way to finish.

Central came up big down the stretch and defeated Harrisburg 53-51 in consolation round action at the Class AA Boys’ State Basketball Tournament Friday afternoon.

“It was good to beat a good Harrisburg team. Both teams played well,” said Central Coach Brent Norberg, whose team came up short in the closing seconds Thursday against Sioux Falls Washington. “Unlike yesterday when they made one more play, today we made one more play than them and that was enough.”

Central trailed 49-45 before Harrison Reede connected on a three-point field goal to cut the margin 49-48. That signaled a sign of things to come.

“They got up by four and that was a big play, because if we don’t make that it’s probably game over,” Norberg said. “Sam (Rohlfs) did a good job of pushing it in transition. Harry was the guy on the other end, fought over the screen and just was there a little late. The kid made the three and instead of pouting, (Harry) just sprinted down, got himself one and got it right back. A lot of credit to him doing that, because a lot of kids would just pout and jog, and he didn’t. He turned and ran and got his team the three points back.”

Central tied the game on a free throw by Alec Voegele and then took the lead on a pair of foul shots by Noah Behrends. After a Harrisburg miss, Central also missed, but Voegele was able to secure the rebound and the Eagles got the ball to Reede who was then fouled. The junior made both free throws and the Eagles were able to hang on from there.

“They needed to get a key stop and Alec came up with a giant offensive rebound, and we were able to run it down and let Harry get fouled,” Norberg said. ‘When Harry goes to the free throw line right now you might as well book it. He’s shooting like 90 some percent. That was a huge play.”

That rebound was just a sample of what went on all game as the Eagles outrebounded Harrisburg by 13 and ended up with a 15-2 advantage in second-chance points.

“Our kids I thought did a great job of blocking them out,” Norberg said. “We did a great job of running down long rebounds.”

Another key was Central not settling for long-range shots in the final half after a rough go of it from distance in the opening 16 minutes.

“We took 11 threes in the first half and only made two. The second half we only took two and made one,” Norberg said. “We aggressive going to the rim, getting some free throws and getting some layups.”

Behrends finished with 13 points, Reede followed with 12, Rohlfs contributed 10 and Voegele had nine.

Central (12-11) faces Brandon Valley for fifth place at 3:30 p.m. (CDT) this afternoon.

“That fifth place game you’re playing for a trophy. The loser gets a plaque, the winner gets a trophy,” Norberg said. “If you can come to the tournament and win two games, that’s a really good weekend, so we’re hoping to get that done tomorrow.”

HARRISBURG (16-7): Blaze Lubbers 5 0-2 10, Nate Hoyt 1 0-0 3, Conner Geddes 6 1-2 18, Andrew Walter 3 5-7 11, Jacoby Mehrman 2 3-5 7, Brayden Phipps 1 0-0 2. Totals 18-48 9-16 51.

ABERDEEN CENTRAL (12-11): Harrison Reede 4 2-2 12, Alec Voegele 4 1-2 9, Noah Behrends 4 5-6 13, Jackson Dorsett 0 0-2 0, Sam Rohlfs 4 1-4 10, Aj Hase 3 0-0 6, Brady Rohrbach 1 1-2 3. Totals 20-45 10-18 53.

Harrisburg 12 24 33 51

Aberdeen Central 13 27 38 53

3-point field goals – Hoyt, Geddes 5; Reede 2, Rohlfs. Total fouls – Harrisburg 14; Aberdeen Central 13. Rebounds – Harrisburg 25 (Phipps 7); Aberdeen Central 38 (Voegele 8, Rohlfs 8). Turnovers – Harrisburg 7; Aberdeen Central 12. Assists – Harrisburg 7; Aberdeen Central 11 (Behrends 3). Steals – Harrisburg 7; Aberdeen Central 4.

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