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Golden Eagles roll past Rapid City Central in AA tourney

Aberdeen Central’s Melanie Jacobs, left, tries to put up a shot as Brandon Valley’s Sidney Thue, right, defends during Thursday’s game at the Class AA State Tournament at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. Jacobs made eight three-point field goals on Saturday to tie a State AA tourney record. Photo by John Davis taken 3/11/2021

SIOUX FALLS – Aberdeen Central finished the season the same way they played for much of it with a potent inside-outside attack Saturday afternoon. The Golden Eagles shot nearly 50 percent from the field in a 61-33 win over Rapid City Central in the seventh place game of the Class AA State Girls’ Basketball Tournament at the Sanford Pentagon.

Between Melanie Jacobs nailing three-pointers outside and Brooklyn Kusler working inside, the Eagles had no shortage of offense on the day. Aberdeen Central scored 19 points in both the first and third quarters on the way to the victory.

“We finally got off to a good offensive start,” said Central Coach Dawn Seiler, “and the kids gained some confidence and shot well today.”

Unlike their first two games in the tournament, the Eagles bolted out of the blocks thanks to Jacobs, who nailed four three-pointers in the opening quarter to stake her team to a 19-14 lead.

Aberdeen extended the lead to double-digits at halftime as the Cobblers managed just six points in the second period.

Kusler then began heating up in the third quarter. The senior scored 12 points in the stanza as the Eagles pulled away and built a 23-point advantage.

The only lingering question in the fourth quarter was whether or not Jacobs would tie the State AA tourney single game record for three-pointers. Jacobs accomplished that feat with her eighth three-pointer with 2:49 left, tying the previous record set by Ellie Brecht of Sioux Falls Lincoln in 2015.

Jacobs finished with contest with 24 points. Kusler, who was named to the all-tournament team, contributed 20.

Josie Hill scored 12 points to pace the Cobblers.

Aberdeen Central concluded the season with a 19-5 record. It was the final game for four seniors: Jacobs, Kusler, Jordan Hermansen, and Abby Kopecky.

It also marked the final game for Seiler, who will be taking over as athletic director at Central. She finished her coaching career as the state’s all-time winningest coach with 629 career victories.

ABERDEEN CENTRAL (19-5): Jordan Hermansen 1 0-0 2, Taryn Hettich 1 0-0 3, Melanie Jacobs 8 0-0 24, Abby Kopecky 2 4-5 8, Brooklyn Kusler 8 3-3 20, Kianna Mounga 1 2-4 4. Totals 21-44 9-12 61.

RAPID CITY CENTRAL (11-12): Sadie Glade 1 0-0 3, Jordon Heckert 2 1-2 6, Josie Hill 6 0-0 12, McKadyn Chasing Hawk 1 0-0 3, Nevaya Cuny 0 1-2 1, Allison Richards 2 3-3 8. Totals 12-49 5-7 33.

Aberdeen Central 19 31 50 61

Rapid City Central 14 20 27 33

3-point field goals – Hettich, Jacobs 8, Kusler; Glade, Heckert, Chasing Hawk, Cuny. Total fouls – Aberdeen Central 8; Rapid City Central 11. Rebounds – Aberdeen Central 34 (Hermansen 7); Rapid City Central 28. Turnovers – Aberdeen Central 11; Rapid City Central 12. Assists – Aberdeen Central 16 (Hettich 5, Kusler 5); Rapid City Central 6. Steals – Aberdeen Central 7; Rapid City Central 11.

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