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Boys Basketball

Central boys run to fourth straight victory

Sturgis’ Gavin Ligtenberg, center, looks for a teammate as Aberdeen Central’s Sam Rohlfs, left and Spencer Barr, right, go after the ball on the floor during Saturday’s game at Golden Eagles Arena. Barr led the Eagles with 15 points, while Rohlfs had 11 points, and a team-leading five assists and four steals. Photo by John Davis taken 12/18/2021

While Aberdeen Central is tough to deal with in its half-court defense, it might be even more potent in its full-court offense.

The Golden Eagles got out in transition and ran past Sturgis 64-30 to claim their fourth straight non-conference boys’ basketball victory at Golden Eagles Arena Saturday afternoon.

“We’re really good in transition. Everyone is athletic,” said senior point-guard Sam Rohlfs. “We’re all football players for the most part. It’s definitely one of our main strengths is being able to run the court.”

Of course it doesn’t hurt to have one of the state’s premier athletes orchestrating the attack. Rohlfs finished the game with 11 points, five assists and four steals.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had a kid that’s faster with the basketball,” said Central coach Brent Norberg. “But the great thing about him is, a lot of kids use that speed to get a basket themselves, but he’s always looking to throw it ahead. Our guys know if they run, he’s going to get it to them.”

Rohlfs took advantage of those opportunities against the Scoopers, who simply had no answer for Central’s speed and athleticism. It’s a luxury to have a savvy veteran who makes the decision of where go with the ball.

“He’s been our point guard for three years. I will miss him a ton when he’s gone,” Norberg said. “He’s the perfect point guard for this team, because he’s unselfish and his speed gets everyone else to run, and they’ll be rewarded and they know it.”

Rohlfs has plenty of experience of playing with a ball in his hands, whether as a point guard in basketball or a quarterback in football.

“It’s definitely an honor to be the leader in basketball and football,” Rohlfs said. “I take a lot of pride in that for my teammates.”

Central led 14-10 before its defense took a toll. The Eagles used their length to make life miserable for the Scoopers who either turned the ball over or were forced into difficult shot attempts.

The hosts created eight turnovers during a nine-minute stretch in the opening half to open a 20-point halftime advantage.

“I think our guys were patient defensively and that’s hard to be when you’re playing a team that wants to slow it down and run the shot clock down,” Norberg said. “You have to be solid for 30 seconds. It’s hard to get high school kids to do that and our guys did.”

The players know Norberg’s expectations on the defensive end and have bought in.

“Coach Norberg this year has really emphasized on beating them defensively and getting the stops, preaching defense wins championships,” Rohlfs said. “That’s our ultimate goal is to win a championship.”

Aberdeen Central’s Alec Voegele, left, lays up a shot as Sturgis’ Jake Vliem, right, defends during Saturday’s game at Golden Eagles Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 12/18/2021

Spencer Barr led the Eagles with 15 points. Alec Voegele added 13 and AJ Hase added eight.

Central, 4-0, heads into Eastern South Dakota Conference action when they play at Yankton on Tuesday night.

“We haven’t won in Yankton in a long time. They’ll be physical at the guard spot. They’ll put a lot of pressure, so it will be interesting how our guys respond. It should be a good matchup there,” Norberg said. “If think if we have any advantage it will maybe be inside, and we’ll have to take advantage of that.”

Rohlfs knows the schedule will get more demanding. He has grown accustomed to that, but believes the Eagles will be ready to go.

“The rest of the schedule, and it happens every year, it’s going to get tougher along the way,” Rohlfs said. “And then we work into the Sioux Falls area. Its definitely going to be a challenge, but I think we’re up for it.”

STURGIS: Tyan Buus 1 0-2 3, Gavin Ligtenberg 1 0-0 3, Jake Vliem 2 0-0 5, Owen Cass 3 0-0 7, Connor Cruickshank 0 1-2 1, Korbin Jensen 1 0-0 2, Carson Pankratz 2 0-0 4, Joanin Perez 0 0-2 0, Aidan Hedderman 2 0-0 5. Totals 12-40 1-6 30.

ABERDEEN CENTRAL: Alec Voegele 5 3-4 13, Noah Behrends 3 0-0 6, Sam Rohlfs 4 3-4 11, Spencer Barr 5 1-2 15, AJ Hase 3 2-2 8, Carter Dingman 1 0-0 3, Jackson Dorsett 1 0-0 2, Jameson Palmer 2 0-0 4, Brady Rohrbach 1 0-0 2. Totals 25-49 9-12 64.

Sturgis 10 16 22 30

Aberdeen Central 16 36 55 64

3-point field goals – Buus, Ligtenberg, Vliem, Cass, Hedderman; Barr 4, Dingman. Total fouls – Sturgis 7; Aberdeen Central 9. Rebounds – Sturgis 19 (Ridge Inhofer 4); Aberdeen Central 37 (Voegele 8). Turnovers – Sturgis 16; Aberdeen Central 9. Assists – Sturgis 3; Aberdeen Central 10 (Rohlfs 5). Steals – Sturgis 2; Aberdeen Central 10 (Rohlfs 4, Barr 3).

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