Tigers finish third at state
By Ross DuBray
They came in number three; they left number three. The Dupree Tigers after a successful season brought their season to a close after defeating the South Central Cougars 64-51 in the third place game at the South Dakota Class B Basketball tournament last weekend in Aberdeen.
After finishing seventh in the tournament last season, the Tigers vowed that if they returned to state, they’d finish higher. After entering the tournament the number three seed, they did just that, defeating the sixth seeded Arlington Cardinals in the opening round to advance to the semi finals against the Viborg-Hurley Cougars. The Tigers lost to the Cougars by three points 34-37 in only their second loss of the season. The Tigers moved on to play for third place against the South Central Cougars. The third place finish is the highest the Tigers ever finished at the state tournament, finishing seventh in 1982, and fourth in 1984.
Third Place Game
In the opening minute, South Central took an early 4-0 lead, before Kash Deal and Jeffrie Shaving scored a field goal each to tie it back up at 4-4. South Central then went on a 9-2 run over the next two minutes to jump out to a 13-6 lead. Shaving and Seth Longbrake would score a basket each to close the gap to three points before the Cougar’s Tyler Frank scored with seven seconds left to extend the lead to five as the first quarter ended.
Nate Widow scored two to pull the Tigers back within three to start the second quarter, but South Central scored six unanswered points to push the Cougar lead back to nine. With 2:44 left in the half, Jeffrie Shaving nailed a three and Deal scored from down low to pull the Tigers back within four points with a minute to play. A shooting foul by Deal sent Cougars’ Garrett Bruns to the line. Bruns made both shots to take South Central’s lead back to six. Creighton LeBeau hit a three with nine seconds left to pull the Tigers back within three 23-20 to close out the half.
“We were flat in the first half, once again we were standing around, we weren’t making good cuts and just weren’t executing,” said Head Coach Jim Hood.
The Tigers scored twelve points in the first six minutes of the third quarter, however the Cougars stayed just out of reach of the Tigers, scoring 11 points to lead by four. With 2:37 left Tate Widow found the basket and a steal by Trenton Pretty Weasel set up a three pointer by Nate Widow to take a one-point lead on the Cougars.
South Central’s Dakota Votaw scored on the next possession to take the lead back for the Cougars, which would be the last lead the Cougar’s would hold. The Tiger offense sparked as Nate Widow scored five unanswered points in the last thirty seconds to push the Tigers to a four point lead to close out the third quarter leading 40-36.
“We got moving in the second half. We called out a couple special plays and scored off of them and that energized us. Then Nate hits that three pointer and that just fired everything up,” said Head Coach Jim Hood. “It was a good team effort.”
The fourth quarter belonged to the Tigers as the defense forced six South Central turnovers and held the Cougars to 15 points as the offense scored 24 points. The Cougars pulled within two points with six and a half minutes left, but the Tigers held them defensively as the offense pulled away with the victory 64-51. Free throws and ball control were key for Tigers in the final quarter as the Tigers hit 13 of 16 free throws and gave up no turnovers.
“In a venue like this, at the state tournament, we got to make free throws, and we did,” said Hood. The Tigers made 18 of 22 free throws for 82% shooting. Overall Hood was very happy with his team’s performance in the tournament, “We wish we could’ve been in that championship game, but it wasn’t meant for us. To play for third and win is really great, these boys played a great game.”
Tiger’s fans paid tribute to their coach in the final game, wearing T-shirts with “Coach Hood” printed on the back. During the awards ceremony, Hood received a standing ovation from the audience when it was announced he was retiring after the end of the school year.
In another milestone of the tournament, Kash Deal scored his 1000th career point in the final minutes of the game. “It’s pretty awesome,” said Deal. “I just want to thank my teammates for that, it wasn’t possible without them.”
Nate Widow hit his 1000th career point in February when playing an away game at Takini.
A welcome home reception for the team was held at the old gym in Dupree on Sunday afternoon as a caravan followed the buses back from Aberdeen.
South Dakota State B Tournament
Dupree (24-2): Trenton Pretty Weasel 1-2 2-2 5, Seth Longbrake 1-4 2-2 4, Nate Widow 5-15 9-11 20, Tate Widow 3-3 0-0 7, Creighton LeBeau 2-2 2-2 7, Kash Deal 5-8 1-2 12, Jeffrie Shaving 3-5 0-1 7, Dayton Spiel 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 20-39 18-22 64
South Central: Garrett Bruns 0-1 4-6 4, Zach Sebern 1-3 0-1 2, Josh Tuttle 2-7 0-0 4, Dakota Votaw 2-4 0-0 5, Tyler Frank 8-13 3-5 20, Sam Hazen 7-14 2-2 16. Totals 20-42 9-14 51
Field Goal %: Dupree 51%, South Central 47%. 3-pt field goals: Dupree 6-14 (Pretty Weasel 1-2, Longbrake 0-1, Widow 1-4, Widow 1-1, LeBeau 1-1, Deal 1-2, Shaving 1-3), South Central 2-7 (Bruns 0-1, Sebern 0-2, Tuttle 0-1, Votaw 1-1, Frank 1-2). Rebounds: Dupree 21 (Widow 7), South Central 27 (Hazen 9). Fouls Dupree 16, South Central 20. Fouled out: Votaw . Technical: none. Assists: Dupree 11 (LeBeau 3), South Central 11 (Tuttle 4). Steals: Dupree 10 (Deal 5), South Central 5 (Votaw 3). Blocked shots: Dupree 2 (Widow 1, Deal 1), South Central 3 (Hazen 3). Turnovers: Dupree 12, South Central 18.