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Girls Basketball

Eagles drop girls’ home opener to veteran Washington squad

Aberdeen Central’s Caydi Withers, right, pulls down a rebound as Sioux Falls Washington’s Alexus Motley, left, defends during Friday night’s game at the Golden Eagles Arena. Looking on in the background center is Central’s Taryn Hermansen. Photo by John Davis taken 1/6/2023

In a battle of two teams that have struggled to find a consistent rhythm to the season, it was No. 2 Sioux Falls Washington that prevailed Friday night, claiming a 51-35 girls basketball win over Aberdeen Central at Golden Eagles Arena.

Central, which has endured as many cancellations and postponements as actual games played, came into the game down four rotation players, while Washington, though returning an experienced corps of players, was playing just its third game of the season and its first in over two weeks.

And it showed. The squads combined for 37 turnovers and just eight assists in the contest.

Central scored the game’s first bucket, a Caydi Withers layup on the Golden Eagles’ first possession of the game, then didn’t record another field goal until just under 3 minutes to go in the second quarter.

“We shot, I think, 13 percent in the first half,” said Central coach Mikayla Arechigo. “It’s tough to be competitive shooting 13 percent. But we got some good looks, and I think that can give us something to hang our hats on.”

Down as many as 19 during that scoring drought, the Golden Eagles made a late 8-2 run to end the first half, then cut Washington’s lead to just 10 points early in the third quarter. However, a series of untimely Golden Eagle turnovers helped spur the Warriors back to a comfortable advantage.

Central also struggled to find an offensive rhythm with two post players and a pair of guards out with injuries.

“It’s especially tough when you spend three weeks working on something, then you lose two bigs to injury and two perimeter players to injury in the (junior varsity) game,” Arechigo said. “It’s tough to adjust.”

Central was able to string together some transition buckets in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Warriors 19-10 in that stanza. 

But it wasn’t enough to turn back a Warriors squad that has been together at the varsity level for the better part of four seasons.

Aberdeen Central’s Taryn Hettich, center, tries to escape the defensive trap of Sioux Falls Washington’s Alexus Motley, left and Grace Peterson, right, during Friday night’s game at the Golden Eagles Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 1/6/2023

“You take those 11 turnovers out of that third quarter and things look a lot different,” Arechigo said. “You have to understand that teams are going to speed you up and get you to play out of sync. In that third quarter, we started to play a little more frenzied versus that in-control spacing that we were able to execute in the first half, especially there at the end.”

Washington was led by Brooklyn Harpe’s 16 points and 10 rebounds. Taylor Thompson chipped in eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the first half.

“They’re a very good team and a well-coached team,” Arechigo said. “They’ve been playing together for many years, so you can’t take anything away from them. They made us play the way they wanted to play. I think their experience, even in the fact that they only had two games, showed.”

Central got 10 points from Taryn Hettich. Withers finished with seven points and 10 rebounds, an effort that helped the Golden Eagles to a 33-30 rebounding advantage.

Central will head to Sioux Falls Lincoln today for a 2:30 p.m. tipoff.

SIOUX FALLS WASHINGTON: Taryn Larson 1 0-0 2, Grace Peterson 2 0-0 5, Hannah Harpe 1 2-2 4, Brooklyn Harpe 6 3-6 16, Taylor Thompson 3 0-0 8, Dana Harpe 1 0-0 2, Rylan Kennett 0 2-2 2, Claire Woods 1 0-0 2, Anessa Hosman 0 2-2 2, Alexus Motley 1 0-0 2, Benigne Nitunga 0 0-1 0, Ava Brink 1 0-0 2, Shaelyn Fink 2 0-0 4. Totals 19-42 9-13 51.

ABERDEEN CENTRAL: Anna Malchow 1 0-0 3, Taryn Hettich 3 3-5 10, Sydney Evans 1 0-0 2, Caydi Withers 2 3-4 7, Taryn Hermansen 1 2-6 4, Taylor Lyke 2 0-0 4, Kaylee Mohn 2 0-0 5. Totals 12-43 8-15 35.

SF Washington 14 26 41 51

Aberdeen Central 4 13 16 35

3-pt FG – SFW 4-14 (Peterson, B. Harpe, Thompson 2); AC 3-11 (Malchow, Hettich, Mohn). Fouls – SFW 16; AC 15. Rebounds – SFW 30 (B. Harpe 10); AC 33 (Withers 10, Hermansen 6). Assists – SFW 5 (Thompson 3); AC 3 (Hettich 2). Turnovers – SFW 16; AC 21). Blocks – SFW 1 (Thompson); AC 0. Steals – SFW 13 (Peterson 3, H. Harpe 3, B. Harpe 3); AC 9 (Evans 3).

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