The Milbank Area Bulldogs competed in the opening game of the Region 1A high school boys basketball tournament Monday, February 29, in Groton. The Dawgs played their hearts out, held their heads high and battled to the finish, but fell short with a 69-30 loss to Aberdeen Roncalli. The team finished the season with a 5-16 overall record.
“We ran into a buzz saw in this one,” noted Milbank Area head coach Matt Bastian. “They shot the ball extremely well and we didn’t. I felt we had some opportunities to try and weather the storm early, but we just couldn’t get the ball to drop.”
The Bulldogs started out slow and trailed 8-19 at the end of the first quarter. Roncalli was hot from three-point-land and fired in four 3’s in the opening period, with sophomore Gus Reede leading the way with 13 points.
The locals got some good offensive looks at the basket, but were unable to finish throughout much of the second quarter and were outscored 17-2 by the Cavaliers. Milbank Area trailed 36-10 at the midway mark and could not recover in the second half.
“I was proud of the kids and how they competed coming out after halftime,” explained Bastian. “The guys didn’t hang their heads and feel sorry for themselves. Instead they played hard and with pride. I was proud of them for that.”
Roncalli shot 49 percent from the field for the game, firing in 26 of 53 attempts. Reede collected 33 points to spark the Cavaliers to victory. The Cavs won the game with 34 rebounds, eight steals, two blocked shots, one assist and just three turnovers.
Nolan Foss led Milbank Area with six points and six rebounds. Bien followed closely with five points and one board while Jacob Jackson added five points and one steal. Isaac Snaza tallied three points and two rebounds, and Jonny Ash had three points, one rebound and one assist on the night.
Also contributing for the Bulldogs were Tanner Gauer, two points and three rebounds; James Weber, two points and one board; Mitch Quade, two points and three rebounds; Cody Dockter, two points, three rebounds and one steal; Kyle Montag, one rebound, and Riley Wollschlager, one steal.
Milbank Area went 10 for 44 from the field for 23 percent shooting on the night. The Dawgs were 4-for-23 in the first half and 6-for-21 in the second. They ended the contest with 36 rebounds, three steals, one assist and nine turnovers.
“I’m disappointed with how the season went for our team,” said Bastian. “As a team, we had higher expectations for the season. I thought we competed better game in and game out this season, but just didn’t have enough to record more wins.
”Four seniors finished out their high school basketball careers. They were Nolan Foss, Isaac Snaza, Jacob Jackson and Kyle Montag.