By Kristan Krogman
The match-up of White River and Ethan at Saturday’s Hanson Classic in Mitchell may not have been what some expected, but it played out as one of the best of the day before being decided in the final seconds.
The Tigers fell behind 5-0 to start the game but rebounded quickly with a 9-0 run that gave them a 9-5 lead. Up 13-10 at the quarter break, Christian Bartlett provided his usual spark off the bench with five straight points to open quarter two. Offensive flow was unpredictable for both teams through the second. Ethan netted just eight points and seven of the Tigers thirteen second quarter points came at the free throw line. White River led 26-18 at half time.
Tre Iyotte hit a field goal to start play in the second half, giving White River their largest lead of the night, 28-18. Ethan cracked down on defense and looked to attack offensively as the game wore on. Link Tucker had a strong second half for White River, scoring ten of his eleven points in second half action. A Bartlett tip in at the buzzer decreased Ethan’s third quarter advantage to 14-12, and the Tigers maintained a 38-32 lead going into the final stanza.
Back and forth action brought excitement to the early minutes of the fourth period. Following an early three that cut the Tiger lead to three, Ethan again bounced back from an eight point deficit, cutting into the Tiger lead on six of six shooting at the free throw line.
The Tigers converted on a big possession with just under three minutes remaining. Patience in the half court resulted in an and one opportunity for Tavis Burbank and sent Ethan’s Tyler Myers to the bench with five fouls. Despite the missed free throw the Tiger lead seemed secure at 49-43.
The Rustlers went to work though, scoring seven of the next eight points. Ethan guard Blake Borchard, who finished with a game high 20 points, hit a field goal with just under a minute to go that gave the game its first tie, 50-50.
The Tigers held for one shot and with 6.3 seconds remaining called a timeout. Justin Prue was fouled on the ensuing drive and after missing the first of two at the charity stripe, he knocked down the second for a 51-50 lead. A desperation shot at the buzzer just missed its mark for Ethan and the Tigers took the one point victory.
Other games at this year’s Hanson Classic were: Sanborn Central/Woonsocket over Centerville, 56-55; Sisseton over McCook Central/Montrose, 64-46; Clark/Willow Lake over Chamberlain, 65-38; Hanson over Sully Buttes 57-47; Aberdeen Roncalli over Parkston, 63-39; Sioux Valley over St. Thomas More, 39-36 in overtime; and James Valley Christian over Langford, 47-36.