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Isakson helps lead Christian past Langford Area

Aberdeen Christian’s Jackson Isakson, center, lays up a shot past Langford’s Kassen Keough, left and Jackson Bahr, right, during Friday night’s Region 1B SoDak 16 qualifier game in Webster. In the background for the Knights is Malek Wieker, back far right. Photo by John Davis taken 3/4/2022

WEBSTER – Jackson Isakson saved his biggest offensive output for the biggest game of the season Friday night.

The junior nailed a career best six three-point field goals to help lead Aberdeen Christian to a 60-47 win over Langford Area in the semifinals of the Region 1B boys’ basketball tournament in front of a packed Webster Armory.

“Boy, Jackson stepped up big time. Really found his shot and then some,” said Christian coach David Rohrbach. “He’s shooting with a lot of confidence and really stepped up for us for sure.”

Isakson finished with 25 points and scored at least five points in each quarter. His sixth and final three-pointer gave Christian a 52-42 lead with 4:55 remaining and the Lions never got the margin under double-digits the rest of the way.

“Isakson was the difference. The first half he relaxed by hitting a couple of big shots. He’s so steady,” said Langford Area coach Paul Raasch. “He’s the guy that kind of gets overlooked with (Ethan) Russell and (Malek) Wieker out there, but you can’t overlook him. We learned that the first night we played them. We tried to get a hand in his face, but he finds spots and he’s a good shot.”

Isakson got going right from the opening whistle, hitting his first two three-point attempts to stake the Knights to an early 9-2 lead.

“It’s nice to see some go. I’ve been off in the last couple of games,” Isakson said. “Tonight was a fun night. I’ve always liked playing in this gym, too.”

Langford was able to weather a couple of storms to stay in contact with the Knights. As a result, the Lions only trailed by six points early in the fourth quarter.

“It felt like we were going to pull away a couple of times and man, they just make runs,” Rohrbach said, “and every time you look up, they’re right there.”

Christian ended up making a dozen three-pointers in the contest and put added pressure on the Langford Area defense.

“We had to have them miss some shots. We knew that coming in,” Raasch said. “Defensively, they’re a hard matchup. They can put shooters on the perimeter.”

While Christian won the first matchup by 15 points, Isakson knew the Knights would be in for a battle against the Lions.

“Raasch is a great coach. … They came out tough. They came out ready to go,” Isakson said. “I think they had like three or four different defenses they had on us. It’s always fun playing against Langford.”

Wieker finished with 17 points, including five three-pointers, and Russell added nine points.

Aberdeen Christian’s Blake Rich, right, blocks the ball from behind as Langford’s Brayden Peterson, center, goes up with a shot under the basket during Friday night’s Region 1B SoDak 16 qualifier game in Webster. Defending at left for the Knights is Malek Wieker. Photo by John Davis taken 3/4/2022

Jesse Keough scored 23 points to lead Langford Area and caused the Knights issues all game long.

“Good player, really quick off the dribble,” Rohrbach said. “He posed some problems. We really struggled to keep him in front of us at times.”

Brayden Peterson added 16 points for the Lions, who finished their season at 12-10, quite an accomplishment considering Langford had to replace all five of its starters from a year ago.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” Raasch said. “In 36 years, I don’t know if I’ve been more proud of a team and how far we’ve come and how they handled themselves.”

Christian, 19-3 on the season, will advance to the SoDak 16 round on Tuesday. The Knights finished runner-up in the state tournament last year.

“It’s a great feeling to know that you get another game in the season, but the ultimate goal is always state,” Isakson said.

LANGFORD AREA (12-10): Ben Gustafson 1 0-0 2, Aiden Godel 1 0-0 3, Brayden Peterson 6 3-3 16, Jackson Bahr 1 0-0 3, Jesse Keough 8 7-7 23. Totals 17 10-10 47.

ABERDEEN CHRISTIAN (19-3): Jackson Isakson 8 3-5 25, Ethan Russell 1 6-8 9, Malek Wieker 6 0-0 17, Kaden Clark 2 0-0 4, Blake Rich 2 1-1 5. Totals 19 10-14 60.

Langford Area 14 25 36 47

Aberdeen Christian 14 26 43 60

3-point field goals – Godel, Peterson, Bahr; Isakson 6, Russell, Wieker 5. Total fouls – Langford Area 16; Aberdeen Christian 13. Rebounds – Langford Area 22 (Peterson 6); Aberdeen Christian 24 (Russell 6, Isakson 5, Clark 5). Turnovers – Langford Area 6; Aberdeen Christian 6. Assists – Langford Area 8 (Keough 4); Aberdeen Christian 14. Steals – Langford Area 2; Aberdeen Christian 3.

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