BROOKINGS — The Brookings Bobcats got off to a strong start but a full court press and an opportunistic defense helped the Sioux Falls Roosevelt Roughriders pick up a 62-44 win at Bob Jostad Gymnasium in Brookings High School on Tuesday night.
The Bobcats looked good early in the first quarter thanks to senior center Owen Burns. Burns came to play early with nine points and four rebounds in the opening frame as the Bobcats led 14-10 going into the second quarter.
“I thought we had pretty good energy to start that first quarter,” Brookings head coach Mike McCarty said. “We were playing well connected on both ends of the floor. We got some good opportunities that we finished on offense and on defense, we were contesting shots and getting rebounds.”
The game turned in the second quarter, however, as the Roughriders turned up the pressure. Brookings wound up with 18 turnovers on the night including a few giveaways that helped Roosevelt go on a 15-2 run to take the lead and out-score the Bobcats 23-8 on the way to taking a 33-22 lead into halftime.
Roosevelt continued to follow the script in the third quarter, claiming a 21-6 advantage to take a 54-28 lead into the fourth quarter. While Brookings couldn’t hold onto the ball, the Roughriders were willing to take advantage, scoring 33 points off turnovers and having a 10-0 edge in fast break points.
“I thought we did a good job against the full court press but our problem was once we got across half court,” McCarty said. “We had some turnovers that they converted into easy transition points and it was a huge difference in the game.”
Despite the tough second and third quarter, the Bobcats showed some positives while out-scoring the Roughriders 16-8 in the fourth quarter. Brookings also had a 40-24 advantage on the glass and showed plenty of fight at the end of the game.
“I thought that was a definite positive for us,” McCarty said of the fourth quarter. “Just our effort and competitiveness, I was proud of that and it was a positive for us tonight.”
Burns finished the game with 14 points, 12 rebounds, a block and a steal for the Bobcats. Keech Bior also had eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks while Nathan Smith had five points and four rebounds.
Naser Ismail finished with 12 points with two rebounds, two assists and a steal in the win while Hayden Goff had 12 points and three steals. Jamre Tiger also had 10 points, two rebounds and a steal off the bench while Logan Nielsen had seven points, two rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals.
The Bobcats shot 34 percent in the game including 5-for-20 (25%) on 3-pointers. Brookings also went 5-for-8 (62.5%) from the free throw line.
The Roughriders shot 46 percent including 9-for-18 (50%) on 3-pointers. Roosevelt also made 5-of-8 (62.5%) free throws and committed six turnovers.
Brookings fell to 1-14 with the loss and has five games remaining in the regular season. With their goal of making the SoDak 16 fading, the Bobcats are focused on what they can control and look to improve beginning with Friday’s game at Sioux Falls Jefferson.
“We’ve just got to go out there and battle every game,” McCarty said. “We told the guys there’s only five games left and our backs are kind of against the wall. We have to get a few of these to even give ourselves a chance at a playoff spot but we’re just a point or two away. So we’ll have to be able to put it together for a few games.”