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Knights put on shooting display in win over White River

Aberdeen Christian’s Malek Wieker, center, moves to the basket past Leola-Frederick’s Noah Kippley, right, during a recent game at the Aberdeen Civic Arena. Looking on for the Titans are Connor Spitzer, far left and Samuel Vetter, back center. Wieker made 12 of 15 shots from the field and scored 29 points in a win over White River on Saturday in Mitchell. Photo by John Davis taken 1/14/2023

MITCHELL – On Thursday Aberdeen Christian’s defense was front and center. On Saturday night, it was the Knights’ offense that took center stage.

Second-rated Christian shot a blistering 71 percent from the field and pulled away from top-rated White River for an 87-68 boys’ basketball win during the Hanson Classic at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

“Such a fun week. Waubay tested us offensively Thursday and we knew we needed to change some things to win tonight,” said Christian coach Matt Rohrbach. “All the credit goes to the boys for buying in and making the necessary changes to win tonight’s game.”

The Knights came out firing and hitting from all over the floor on the way to a 44-41 halftime advantage. Christian shot 69 percent from the field during the opening 16 minutes. Who knew that percentage would only go higher in the second half?

The Knights connected at a 74 percent clip in the final half, but the real key was that White River was unable to match Christian’s point production.

“I thought we gained an advantage in the second half by shuffling lineups early and allowing our starters to get the necessary breaks to finish the second half off,” Rohrbach said. “Obviously, Malek (Wieker), Ethan (Russell) and Jackson (Isakson) were tremendous, but it was a total team effort. Kaden Clark and Andrew Brennan were unbelievable on defense in the second half.”

Wieker was stuck on automatic the entire night, making 12 of 15 shots from the field in leading the Knights with 29 points, Russell contributed 23 and Isakson added 14.

Christian was lights out from nearly every angle on the floor.

“The boys put so much extra time in to be good shooters. I really thought that we took what the defense gave us and our shot selection was great,” Rohrbach said. “When we shoot in rhythm and take the right shots, we are capable of shooting a high percentage.”

White River’s Joe Sayler lead all players with 42 points. However, the Knights were able to slow him down in the second half with most of his scoring coming from the foul line.

The Knights are now 10-0 on the season with back-to-back dominating wins over two quality foes in Waubay-Summit and White River. However, there will be little time to celebrate with two more games on the near horizon.

“We’re going to enjoy this win tonight and (Sunday),” Rohrbach said, “but we need to channel our emotions and get ready for Warner and Herreid Monday and Tuesday.”

Monday’s game will be at Warner, while the Herreid-Selby Area game will be at the Civic Arena on Tuesday.

ABERDEEN CHRISTIAN (10-0): Andrew Brennan 2 0-0 4, Jackson Isakson 6 1-2 14, Ethan Russell 8 3-4 23, Malek Wieker 12 3-4 29, Kaden Clark 4 1-2 9, Konnar Furman 2 2-3 6, Joey Johnson 1 0-0 2. Totals 35-49 10-15 87.

WHITE RIVER (10-2): Nicolas Marshasll 1 1-2 3, Mackenzie Wike 2 1-1 5, Joe Sayler 11 14-16 42, TJ Beardt 2 0-0 4, Gavin Folkers 3 1-2 9, Evastine Wright 1 2-2 5. Totals 20-51 19-23 68.

Aberdeen Christian 26 44 68 87

White River 23 41 48 68

3-point field goals – Isakson, Russell 4, Wieker 2; Sayler 6, Folkers 2, Wright. Total fouls – Aberdeen Christian 18; White River 12. Rebounds – Aberdeen Christian 33 (Isakson 7, Russell 7, Wieker 7); White River 18 (Sayler 7). Turnovers – Aberdeen Christian 9; White River 9. Assists – Aberdeen Christian 14 (Clark 4); White River 5. Steals – Aberdeen Christian 5 (Wieker 3); White River 5.

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