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Boys Basketball

Knights come up short against White River

Aberdeen Christian’s Ethan Russell, left, moves to the basket around Britton-Hecla’s Landon Carlson during a game last week at the Aberdeen Civic Arena. Russell led the Knights with 15 points in a setback to White River Tuesday night at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. Photo by John Davis taken 12/21/2021

MITCHELL – Aberdeen Christian found itself in an unusual position on Tuesday night.

For the first time this year, the second-rated Knights were forced to play from behind down the stretch and third-rated White River made them pay. The Tigers made 9 of 11 free throws in the last 64 seconds to secure a 58-48 non-conference boys’ basketball victory during the Hoops City Classic at the Corn Palace.

The win gave veteran coach Eldon Marshall his 400th career victory. The setback was the first of the season for Christian.

The Knights trailed 10-2 to start the game, led just briefly before the half, and then trailed the entire 16 minutes of the second half.

“Tonight was a battle for sure. White River is a good team,” said Christian coach David Rohrbach. “I thought we came out a bit sluggish and it took us a second to get our footing under us.”

The Knights got back into the game in the second period, but could never quite string enough scoring possessions together or get the stops they needed to get over the hump.

“We didn’t execute offensively at a high enough level, and our movement was lacking at times,” Rohrbach said. “Defensively, we gave up too many second-chance opportunities as well.”

Christian still was within striking distance down the stretch. Andrew Brennan converted a three-point play to get the Knights within 45-42 with about two minutes left. After the Tigers extended the margin seven, Malek Wieker’s three-point field goal closed the deficit to 49-45.

That’s when the Tigers cashed in at the charity stripe. Christian was forced to foul and White River pulled away by making nine free throws, six coming from Dylan Marshall to secure the victory.

Joe Sayler poured in a game-high 28 points to lead White River, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Marshall added 18.

Ethan Russell topped Christian with 15 points and Wieker contributed 10.

“There’s a lot to learn from a game like this,” Rohrbach said. “We’ll definitely use it to make us better.”

The Knights, 4-1 on the season, face First Assembly Christian School out of Tennessee during the classic at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.

ABERDEEN CHRISTIAN: Andrew Brennan 2 1-1 5, Abe Holscher 1 0-0 3, Jackson Isakson 3 0-0 7, Ethan Russell 6 3-4 15, Malek Wieker 4 1-2 10, Blake Rich 1 0-0 2, Kaden Clark 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 5-7 48.

WHITE RIVER: Nicolas Marshall 2 2-2 6, Dylan Marshall 4 10-11 18, Joe Sayler 11 4-6 28, Gavin Folkers 2 0-0 6. Totals 19 16-19 58.

Aberdeen Christian 9 20 35 48

White River 15 24 40 58

3-point field goals – Holscher, Isakson, Wieker 3; Sayler 2, Folkers 2. Total fouls – Aberdeen Christian 18; White River 12.

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