BROOKINGS – The Brookings Bobcats were swept as they hosted Lennox for a basketball doubleheader at Bob Jostad Gymnasium in Brookings on Tuesday night, with the girls team falling 63-44 and the boys team losing 73-69.
• Lennox 63, Brookings 44
The Bobcats got off to a tough start in the opener of the doubleheader as a hot shooting performance by the Orioles led them to victory on Tuesday night.
Brookings was hoping to capitalise off a zone defense that helped lead them to victory over Rapid City Central last weekend but the Orioles were able to attack early and force their way into the paint. While the Bobcats were able to hang with Lennox and take a 17-16 lead on a 3-pointer from Jaden Devine with just over six minutes to play in the second quarter, the Orioles answered with a 13-3 run and took a 32-24 lead into halftime.
“That’s the frustrating thing,” Brookings head coach Mitch McLagan said of the Orioles’ run to close the half. “I thought we played really well on the defensive end all weekend out in Rapid City and our zone was really good. We caused problems with our half court trap, but I thought we were a step slow and they took advantage of it.”
The Orioles were able to extend their advantage in the third quarter thanks to the effectiveness of their own zone defense. Lennox forward Carli Kuyper was a problem in particular as her 6-foot-3 frame altered several shots at the rim and the Orioles went into the fourth quarter with a 46-36 lead.
After the game, McLagan compared the height of Lennox, who also featured 5-foot-10 forwards Ryan Hanssen and Dani Highum, to Mitchell, who featured 5-foot-10 Allison Meyerink and 5-foot-9 forwards Sawyer Stoebner and Delana Henkel. That height advantage was a problem for the Bobcats, who shot 38 percent in the second half as the Orioles pulled away.
“When they can go [5-foot-10, 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-3] across the board, they can pack the paint pretty well,” McLagan said. “They dared us to shoot and we didn’t make shots, but they did.
Lennox shot 47 percent for the game and over 53 percent in the second half to secure the victory, but McLagan did see some positives from his team.
“I thought some kids made plays,” McLagan said. “I thought Gracey Sheridan gave us some really good offense in the first half and got downhill, but then we quit moving the basketball and I thought the ball stuck in our hands and it led to them stopping the ball too much.”
Lennox was led by Highum, who scored a game-high 19 points and Andie Peters, who had 12 points and five assists on the night. Kuyper had nine points and eight rebounds while Hanssen had nine points and seven rebounds. Ashlee Sweeter also had nine points for the Orioles.
Logan Smidt led Brookings with 12 points on the night while Sheridan had eight points. Jaden Devine had six points and Sophie Hammrich had five points and five rebounds.
The Bobcats fell to 2-7 on the season and will travel to Harrisburg on Thursday night.
• Lennox 73, Brookings 69
The Bobcats had one of their best games of the season but it wasn’t enough as the Orioles pulled away in the fourth quarter to secure the victory in the night cap.
The Orioles opened the game on a 10-3 run but the Bobcats answered with a 13-3 run to take a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. Brookings’ offense was a big reason it stayed in the game, shooting 63 percent from the field in the first half as well as a strong defensive effort early against Porter Ihnen.
“I thought we did a good job of knowing where [Ihnen] was at,” Brookings head coach Rohrbach said. “[Ihnen] is a good player and he can shoot the ball. He got open a little bit tonight but I thought we did a good job of making his shots difficult and really contesting them.”
The Bobcats and Orioles were tied at 29-29 late in the second quarter when Lennox deployed a full-court press. Brookings had issues handling the pressure, helping the Orioles go on an 11-0 run to close the half and go into halftime up 40-29.
“We got sped up and they even pressed a little bit later than what we saw on film,” Rohrbach said of the run. “We went to the dead zones, picked the ball up and threw it away. It was just a really bad stretch, we had some bad turnovers and they like to run and take a lot of chances. We had to take care of the ball because if we didn’t, they were going to turn them into points.”
The Bobcats responded in the third quarter, out-scoring the Orioles 16-8 and making it a tightly contested game in the fourth. Sam Conrad hit a pair of big 3-pointers including one that gave Brookings the lead with 6:55 to play but it ultimately came down to Ihnen, who shot 14-for-16 at the free throw line on the way to scoring 24 points and pulling down seven rebounds on the night to lead Lennox to victory.
“He’s a tough matchup,” Rohrbach said of Ihnen. “But I thought [Ben Moret] did a real nice job on him. We kind of had to adjust late in the game but we made sure that we made life as difficult as possible.”
Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives for Rohrbach to draw on. Austin Clark had 22 points while Nathan Lease recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Conrad had 12 points, Ryan Bauman had eight points and Owen Burns had six points in what was an encouraging performance for the Bobcats.
“I felt bad for the guys because I felt like they played a pretty good game outside of a couple of stretches,” Rohrbach said. “I felt like we played a solid game and you would love to come away with that win, but it’s definitely a confidence builder.”
Tate Gerdes came up big for the Orioles with 19 points and five rebounds while Conner Eich had 10 points in the win.
Brookings dropped its ninth straight game to fall to 1-9 on the season and will host Harrisburg at Bob Jostad Gymnasium on Thursday night.