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De Smet fends off Viborg-Hurley to open State B tournament

De Smet’s Kadyn Fast, center, lays up a shot past Viborg-Hurley’s Devin Sayler, right, as the Cougars’ Gage Goettertz, far left and Brady Schroedermeier, back left, look on during Thursday’s opening round game at the South Dakota Class B Boys Basketball Tournament at Wachs Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 3/16/2023

Viborg-Hurley had the defending champs on the ropes at halftime.

But De Smet, sans departed all-stater Kalen Garry, would not be denied an opportunity to at least compete for the title again.

The third-seeded Bulldogs rallied from a 10-point deficit to take a 51-47 thriller over No. 6 Viborg-Hurley Friday night in the opening round of the Class B Boys’ State Basketball Tournament at Wachs Arena.

Viborg-Hurley did everything it could to pester the Bulldogs in the first half, and for most of the half, it was effective. The Cougars made life difficult for 6-foot-10 De Smet center Damon Wilkinson in the post, sending double and triple-teams at him and almost daring the Bulldogs to shoot from the perimeter.

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The result was a 26 percent shooting effort from De Smet and what was at one point a 15-point lead for Viborg-Hurley.

“We felt really good going into the half,” said Viborg-Hurley coach Galen Schoenefeld. “We had a 10-point lead. I thought we had performed very well on both ends of the court.”

After a somewhat slow start, the Viborg-Hurley offense caught fire midway through the first half. The Cougars went from 30-percent shooting to better than 55 percent from the floor.

De Smet, in contrast, had just 11 points with just over three minutes to go before half.

But the Bulldogs, after cutting their deficit to just 10 by half, scored on their first two possessions of the second half, and steadily chipped away at the Cougars throughout the second half.

“In the first half we threw a lot more lobs,” Wilkinson said. “I was catching them and (Viborg-Hurley) would just hit them out. So we talked at halftime about doing more bounce passes. That’s what kept working in the second half.”

That, and some big made threes after going just 1-for-9 from long range in the first half.

Kadyn Fast and Kasen Janssen hit two big ones each, and George Jensen hit an open shot for the game’s final points despite playing most of the second half with a sore left knee.

De Smet turned up the physicality on the defensive end, as well, badgering the Cougars the same way the Cougars had badgered them in the first half.

“We knew we had to shore up the defense,” said De Smet coach Jeff Gruenhagen. “They were getting a lot of drives and getting way too close to the basket. They were able to make that little extra dish and get an easy one to bank in. You’ve got to stop those.”

Viborg-Hurley’s Nick Hanson, who looked small next to Wilkinson despite his 6-foot-6 frame, was a catalyst for the Cougars in that opening run. Hanson had a pair of 3-pointers and got some hanging shots in the paint to fall as well.

“We knew if we turned our defense around, and just keep going 100 percent the rest of the game – we’ve got three games left, you might as well go 100 percent,” Wilkinson said. “We said we’ll turn our defense into offense and keep moving the ball around and get open shots.”

Wilkinson and Fast finished with 14 points each. Janssen added a dozen. Wilkinson also had 11 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots for the Bulldogs.

Viborg-Hurley was led by Hanson’s 16 points and seven rebounds. Brady Schroedermeier had 10 points and another seven boards, while Kobee Sherman finished with 10 points. Gage Gottertz had five points and six assists for the Cougars.

Viborg-Hurley’s Nick Hanson, left, lays up a shot ahead of De Smet’s Damon Wilkinson, right, during Thursday’s opening round game at the South Dakota Class B Boys Basketball Tournament at Wachs Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 3/16/2023

Viborg-Hurley will face seventh-seeded Ethan in consolation action today at 1:45 p.m.

“I’m extremely proud of (my team),” Schoenefeld said. “I told them we went toe-to-toe with the defending champs. We’re not going to hang our head and pout, just a few things didn’t go our way. Best thing that can happen now is come back and win the next two days.”

De Smet moves on to face second-seeded Aberdeen Christian in the semifinals at 7:45 tonight.

“They’re a really good team,” Gruenhagen said. “It’s going to be just as physical. They have plenty of length and they’re really good from the 3-point line, so we’re going to have to really shore up our defense.”

VIBORG-HURLEY (20-4): Brady Schroedermeier 3 4-8 10, Gage Goettertz 2 1-2 5, Kobee Sherman 3 2-2 10, Nick Hanson 6 1-2 16, Bryson Morrison  1 1-2 4, Devin Sayler 1 0-0 2. Totals 16-37 9-16 47.

De SMET (21-3): Kadyn Fast 6 0-1 14, Kasen Janssen 5 0-0 12, George Jensen 3 2-4 9, Damon Wilkinson 6 2-4 14, Tom Aughenbaugh 1 0-0 2. Totals 21-49 4-9 51.

Viborg-Hurley 15 27 37 47

De Smet 9 17 36 51

3-point field goals – Viborg-Hurley 6-13 (Sherman 2, Hanson 3, Morrison); De Smet 5-18 (Fast 2, Janssen 2, Jensen). Total fouls – Viborg-Hurley 12; De Smet 12. Rebounds – Viborg-Hurley 29 (Schroedermeier 7, Hanson 7); De Smet 27 (Wilkinson 11). Turnovers – Viborg-Hurley 17; De Smet 10. Assists – Viborg-Hurley 11 (Goettertz 6); De Smet 11 (Gruenhagen 3). Blocked shots – Viborg-Hurley 3 (Hanson 2); De Smet 3 (Wilkinson 2). Steals – Viborg-Hurley 7 (Schroedermeier 3, Goettertz 3); De Smet 3.

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