On February 26 the Dupree Tigers went up against the Lemmon Cowboys on the Lemmon home range. It was the last roundup between these two Class B Region 8 opponents as they close out their 2020-2021 season. Needless to say, the contest was important to both teams because as the regular season closes, playoff season opens.
Both teams were hoping to increase their total number of wins by one more as they head toward the playoffs. The total number of wins and losses determines seeding as they venture down the road to the SoDak 16 shootout, and then hopefully onto the Barnett Center in Aberdeen for the State Class B Boys Basketball Tournament.
The Cowboys came in with a 12-6 record compared to the 8-10 record of the Tigers. Dupree Acting Head Coach Jeremy Meeks knew the team had its hands full as they walked onto the court of the Lemmon Armory. Not only did the Cowboys’ record look more impressive, so did their starting lineup; the Tigers placed three freshmen on the floor to start the game, whereas the Cowboys started none. Plus, the Cowboys were physically bigger – not faster – bigger.
In the opening quarter the Tigers spotted the Cowboys 7 points. Cowboy Number 20 Talon Trogstad dropped in a field goal and two free-throws as well as a 3-pointer before Spencer Moran got the Tigers on the scoreboard. Cowboy Number 10 Jacob Hetzel made sure the Tigers knew they had jumped into an old-fashioned Wild West shootout. Right after Moran’s basket he rattled in another 3-point bomb. From there four more Cowboys entered the Box Score by making shots that put a lot of distance between them and their visitors. Trying hard to make it to the buzzer, Spencer Moran got two more buckets and freshmen Klayte McLellan and Elijah Brewer dropped in three long balls from behind the arch – Klayte netted one and Elijah the other two.
With the score at 16 to 27 going into the second quarter, the Tigers again spotted the Cowboys 5 points before Elijah Brewer went up for a Stephen Curry Three. The shot was no good but after the attempt Elijah laid on the floor. From there he went to the charity stripe to try and make 3 free-throws. The hard foul must of rattled the sharpshooter because he was only able to make one out of the three free-throws. From there freshman Ted Eagle was able add 2 points.
Then the Cowboys started to steamroll. Cowboy Number 23 Tell Mollman already had 8 points total in the first quarter, but in this quarter, he added 12 more to his overall tally. The Tigers did their best to keep pace; Spencer Moran made 3 free-throws and 1 basket and freshman Josh Morrison stepped up and bagged 2 field goals. Still, the Tigers were struggling with their shooting and the Cowboys were not. They increased their lead to 17 points as the first half ended – 30 to 47.
Following the intermission, the Cowboys’ MO did not change. Again, the Tigers spotted them 7 points to commence the third quarter. The Tigers’ long ball abandoned them and there were way too many empty possessions, so it finally looked good to see senior Cinch Hebb get his first 2 points of the contest. As the saying goes, “They had fight, but were out punched.” At the 1:50 mark in the game, with the score at 70 to 40, a Running Clock started ticking. To ease up, Lemmon’s Head Coach Tyler Kostelecky cleared his bench with 37 seconds left to play in the third quarter. When the horn sounded it was 46 to 70 in favor of the home team.
The final period commenced under a Running Clock. When Coach Meeks’ starters headed back to the floor, Coach Kostelecky reciprocated and put most of his starters back in as well. The Tigers were able to add 12 more points to their total, but the Cowboys bettered them by four (16 total), resulting in a 28-point cushion when the contest ended, 58 to 86 – a season high for the Cowboys.
The result of the game put the Cowboys Number 2 in Region 8 behind the Faith Longhorns, and the Tigers Number 4, which puts the Timber Lake Panthers between them and the Cowboys. The playoffs should be exciting and quite the experience for these young Tigers. As all good cooks know, it will season up these freshmen for next year; Daxton McDaniel, Bobby Brewer, Klayte McLellan, Isaiah Sitting Crow, Todd LaPlante, Tyler Stambach, Ted Eagle, JW Pederson and Josh Morrison, as well as eighth graders Braydon Terveen and Roper Eaton. Next year could very well be the “Year of the Tiger.”
Stats: Tigers: Klayte McLellan – 3, Isaiah Sitting Crow – 5, Elijah Brewer – 11, Spencer Moran – 19, Cinch Hebb – 8, Ted Eagle – 2, Josh Morrison – 10. Cowboys: Tanner Miller 5, Isaiah Portwood – 2, Jacob Hetzel – 27, Cody Drayton – 6, Kristopher Maher – 1, Talon Trogstad – 14, Tell Mollman – 29, Jacob Sonsalla – 2.
DHS 16 14 16 12 58
LHS 27 20 23 16 86