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Boys Basketball

Knights transition for victory over Leola-Frederick

Aberdeen Christian’s Jackson Isakson, right, moves to the basket as Leola-Frederick’s Brayden Sumption, left, defends during Saturday’s game at the Aberdeen Civic Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 1/14/2023

Playing its second game in 18 hours, Aberdeen Christian turned to its depth to keep its transition game in full force Saturday afternoon.

The second-rated Knights got out on the break at every opportunity and ran their way to a 65-44 Lake Region Conference boys’ basketball win over Leola-Frederick at the Civic Arena.

“We’re able to keep the energy high because we have a lot of people that want to play and like to play, and they definitely bring it when they do play,” said Christian coach Matt Rohrbach. “That definitely contributes to a quick turnaround.”

After a near even opening quarter, the Knights began to pull away.

Christian attempted to run every chance it had, one transition basket coming just seven seconds after a made Leola-Frederick field goal.

“We emphasize that in practice,” said Christian senior Jackson Isakson. “In practice we’re pushing the floor all the time. I think we’re starting to get everyone on the same page and it’s looking good.”

Christian has the personnel to run the floor and Rohrbach said there is a reason to the team’s fast-paced style.

“We really want to get up and down the floor and get easy points,” Rohrbach said, “and when the defense isn’t set up, that’s when it’s the easiest.”

The Knights began building a double-digit lead in the second quarter and the margin never got under 14 points in the final half.

Isakson helped to ensure Christian would stay in control with 11 second-half points on his way to a team-leading 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including three three-point field goals.

“I’ve been in a slump kind of. It’s nice to get out of that,” Isakson said. “To see one go in feels good.”

Meanwhile, the Titans had a tough time on offense, failing to make a field goal in the second quarter. They were able to get into the lane in the second half and get fouled, but then made just 3-of-9 free throws.

“I told the boys in that one time out, we would rather get to the lane and the shots not fall, then not even attacking the lane,” said Leola-Frederick coach Brock Paschen.

Noah Kippley led the Titans with 14 points. Hans Lapka contributed 10 and Brayden Sumption followed with nine.

Leola-Frederick’s Noah Kippley, right, moves to the basket as Aberdeen Christian’s Kaden Clark, left and Ethan Russell, center, defend during Saturday’s game at the Aberdeen Civic Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 1/14/2023

Leola-Frederick, which has four games this coming week, is starting to find a rhythm, according to Paschen.

“We feel good about what we’re doing,” Paschen said, “and this was an exposure of what our weaknesses are.”

Ethan Russell added 13 points to the Christian total, and Malek Wieker finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Kaden Clark added eight points, and Ellis Russell netted six.

“Everyone contributed,” Isakson said, “all nine guys.”

The Knights (7-0) have a huge week ahead, playing at Faulkton on Tuesday before traveling to unbeaten Waubay-Summit on Thursday and then facing top-rated White River at the Hanson Classic in Mitchell on Saturday.

They will head into the week with some momentum off a solid performance against Leola-Frederick.

“We try to pride ourselves on winning the rebounding battle, the assist battle and the effort battle,” Rohrbach said, “and I felt like we won all three tonight.”

LEOLA-FREDERICK (4-3): Brayden Sumption 3 2-4 9, Stephen Achen 1 0-1 2, Taylor Himanga 1 0-0 2, Noah Kippley 4 4-7 14, Samuel Vetter 1 1-2 3, Milo Sumption 1 0-0 2, Hans Lapka 3 2-2 10, Ethan Petrich 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 9-16 44.

ABERDEEN CHRISTIAN (7-0): Andrew Brannan 1 0-1 2, Jackson Isakson 6 1-1 16, Ethan Russell 6 1-3 13, Malek Wieker 5 1-2 13, Kaden Clark 4 0-0 8, Abe Holscher 1 1-2 3, Konnar Furman 2 0-0 4, Ellis Russell 3 0-0 6. Totals 28 4-9 65.

Leola-Frederick 15 21 32 44

Aberdeen Christian 18 34 51 65

3-point field goals – Sumption, Kippley 2, Lapka 2; Isakson 3, Wieker 2. Total fouls – Leola-Frederick 12; Aberdeen Christian 14. Rebounds – Aberdeen Christian 38 (Wieker 8, Holscher 7). Turnovers – Aberdeen Christian 13. Assists – Aberdeen Christian 11 (Wieker 5). Blocked shots – Aberdeen Christian 3 (Russell 2). Steals – Aberdeen Christian 11 (Wieker 4).

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