The De Smet Bulldogs played every bit like the top-rated Class B Boys basketball team in South Dakota Thursday afternoon in their opening game of the Class B State Tournament. The #1 seeded Bulldogs crushed the #8 seeded Lower Brule Sioux 80-53 at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen to move into the semifinals.
Outstanding passing and ball sharing was again the key to De Smet’s great start, as they jumped out to a 25-14 lead after one quarter and extended that lead to 46-24 by halftime. De Smet shot an amazing 58% from the field that first half and 44% from the three-point line.
Balanced scoring was also a big part of the Bulldog success. Kalen Garry led the scoring with 24 points followed by Damon Wilkinson with 15 points. Ethan McCune and Tory Holland added 13 points each.
De Smet outrebounded Lower Brule 36-19 led by Garry with 10 while McCune grabbed six. Assist leaders were Garry with seven, and Rett Osthus dished out six.
As a result of unselfish passing and ball sharing, the Bulldogs made 33 field goals that came off two assists.
De Smet 25 46 63 80
Lower Brule 14 24 42 53
The De Smet Bulldogs (literally) fought their way into the championship game of the 2021 State Class B Boys Basketball Tournament Friday night in Aberdeen. At times, the first half looked more like a wrestling match than a basketball game. After the final bell of the fight rang, De Smet came out on top 56-44 over Viborg-Hurley.
Both teams struggled to get any momentum going because the game was so physical. It appeared that was the game plan for the Cougars, and the Bulldogs found themselves trailing by as much as nine points at one time early in the second quarter.
Coach Jeff Gruenhagen again put in his 6’8” post player, Damon Wilkinson, to plug up the middle, and the sophomore did exactly that, turning the game around with his height and strength inside. The Dogs battled back to take a 27-25 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Bulldogs started hitting their shots, including four huge three-pointers by their scoring ace, Kalen Garry. None was bigger than his buzzer-beating shot off a set play at the end of the third quarter, putting the Dogs up 40-31. Garry led the scoring with 24 points. Wilkinson had a huge night off the bench scoring 14 points and grabbing 11
De Smet 8 27 40 56
Viborg-Hurley 10 25 31 44
The De Smet Bulldogs finished what they set out to accomplish at the beginning of this basketball season Saturday night, March 20 by winning the 2021 State B Boys Basketball title 59-43 over Aberdeen Christian at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen.
The Bulldogs played a flawless first half by holding the Knights to just nine points in both of the first and the second quarters, taking a 15-point lead at halftime 33-18. They did not commit a turnover that first half.
“It feels great!” said Coach Jeff Gruenhagen. “It’s just what we’ve been working for, and there was a huge crowd tonight. It was just fun.”
The Bulldogs shot a warm 54% the opening half while holding the Knights to just 25%.
De Smet maintained their lead the entire second half and outscored Aberdeen Christian 26-25 to claim their first championship since 1999.
Kalen Garry finished his outstanding season by again leading De Smet with 23 points including a monster slam dunk late in the game. Tory Holland had 10 points. Damon Wilkinson had eight; Ethan McCune and Rett Osthus added seven points each. Garry grabbed nine rebounds followed by McCune with seven.
Cody Cavanaugh and McCune both had outstanding tournaments, playing their final games as seniors. Garry, Osthus and Wilkinson were selected to the all-tournament team.
De Smet 12 33 41 59
Aberdeen Christian 9 18 29 43