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Girls Basketball

Mounga powers Central past Pierre

Aberdeen Central’s Kiana Mounga, right, moves to the basket as Pierre’s Reese Terwilliger, left, defends during Tuesday night’s game at the Golden Eagles Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 1/25/2022

Aberdeen Central found an answer in the lane to snap a nine-game losing streak Tuesday night.

Senior center Kiana Mounga scored 17 second-half points to lead the Golden Eagles to a 44-28 Eastern South Dakota Conference girls’ basketball victory over Pierre at Golden Eagles Arena.

Central trailed 19-17 at the break before Mounga took control in the second half.

The Eagles had a challenging time in the opening 16 minutes getting the ball inside.

“Offensively in the first half, it felt like we relied on guard play when we were trying to get connections into our posts. Part of the issue was the pressure that Pierre brings to the guard position so our posts were having to rely on a lot of their rebounds to get touches,” said Central coach Mikayla Arechigo. “Luckily, our posts did a great job on the rebounding end. In the second half though we did a better job of getting those connections with our post and they stayed relentless on the boards.”

Mounga scored 11 points in the fourth quarter on her way to a game-high total of 21. She also hauled down 15 rebounds.

A big factor in the second half was Central’s ability to enter the ball inside at better angles where Mounga and teammate Taryn Hermansen could finish at the rim.

Aberdeen Central’s Taryn Hermansen, right, tries to shoot around Pierre’s Ayvrie Kaiser, center and Maya Shorter, left, during Tuesday night’s game at the Golden Eagles Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 1/25/2022

“We were trying to make sure that we weren’t relying on Kiana and Taryn to get rebounds to score. We wanted to focus on finding them on the perimeter and creating angles to get them the ball,” Arechigo said. “Getting those angles comes down to either dribbling down or getting space to give ourselves a ‘top-down’ look to the post. But, also having patience with those looks on the offensive end, especially when it can stop our girls from being on the defensive end too long.”

Kyra Griese finished with seven points for the Golden Eagles while Hermansen added six.

Reese Terwilliger led Pierre with eight points while Lennix DuPris tallied six.

With getting back into the win column, Arechigo believes it will help the team understand the hard work it takes to win consistently.

“You walk in and you think the girls are going to be so excited, but they looked so exhausted from fighting for 32 minutes,” Arechigo said. “I think it’s sinking in that this hard work is what you have to put in to get a win. It’s not going to be 16 minutes of playing hard and 16 minutes of fun. It’s a 32-minute grind at the AA level.”

The Golden Eagles, 2-11 on the season, have a break before playing at Harrisburg, on Friday, Feb. 4.

PIERRE (3-8): Remington Price 1 0-0 2, Layni Stevens 1 0-0 3, Ryann Barry 1 2-2 4, Reese Terwilliger 4 0-1 8, Ayvrie Kaiser 1 1-2 3, Lennix DuPris 3 0-0 6, Maya Shorter 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 3-5 28.

ABERDEEN CENTRAL (2-11): Anna Malchow 1 0-0 3, Kyra Griese 3 0-0 7, Karly Wellman 0 2-2 2, Kiana Mounga 8 5-5 21, Taryn Hermansen 2 2-5 6, Ayrlie Waldo 1 0-0 3, Grace Kuch 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 9-12 44.

PIERRE 10 19 24 28

ABERDEEN CENTRAL 4 17 28 44

3-point field goals – Stevens; Malchow, Griese, Waldo. Total fouls – Pierre 16; Aberdeen Central 11. Rebounds – Pierre 25 (Terwilliger 9); Aberdeen Central 36 (Mounga 15). Turnovers – Pierre 22; Aberdeen Central 20. Assists – Pierre 6 (Kaiser 2); Aberdeen Central 10 (Griese 3, Waldo 3). Steals – Pierre 13 (Kaiser 4); Aberdeen Central 9 (Mounga 4).

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