The De Smet boys basketball team suffered their first loss of the season on New Year’s Eve in Volga, losing 54-50 to the 4th rated class “A” Sioux Valley Cossacks. The game was exactly what it was predicted to be, a hard-fought close battle with outstanding athletes competing on both teams.
The Bulldogs had control of the game early, jumping out to an 8-0 lead. Sioux Valley came back to cut into that lead throughout the first quarter and took a one-point lead before Cody Cavanaugh hit a long three point shot at the buzzer to give the Dogs a 19-17 lead after one.
De Smet maintained a five-point lead most of the second quarter, but after a Bulldog turnover with time running out, the Cossacks hit a buzzer-beater three pointer of their own to cut the De Smet lead to 32-30 at the half.
Sioux Valley coach and former De Smet alum, Bill Vincent, had his team come out the second half playing a 3-2 matchup zone defense that made it hard for the Bulldogs to take the shots they wanted.
The Bulldogs leading scorer, Kalen Garry, was double teamed and had trouble scoring. He led his team with 20 points but was held to four the second half.
The Cossacks ended up outscoring De Smet 17-9 in that crucial third quarter that ended with Sioux Valley up 47-41.
De Smet showed a lot of heart and battled back through the fourth quarter. Cavanaugh again hit a long three to cut the score to 52-50 and then caused a 5-second count defensively giving De Smet one last chance to win or tie.
With eight seconds remaining, the Bulldogs could not get a shot off and were forced to foul resulting in two free throws and a 54-50 final score.
Cavanaugh had eleven points and six assists, and Tory Holland also had eleven points and seven rebounds.
“Disappointing loss tonight on the road,” said Coach Jeff Gruenhagen. “We settled for too many shots behind the three-point line. Proud of these guys battling back to have a chance at the end.”
Sioux Valley 17 30 47 54
De Smet 19 32 41 50