The Milbank Area Bulldogs are headed to the Region 1A semi-final round after downing number four-seeded Webster Area Bearcats on their home court Tuesday, February 28. The number five-seeded Bulldogs escaped with a 56-50 victory and improve their season record to 8-14.
“The guys had a good start to the game,” stated Bulldog head coach Matt Bastian. “I thought we established ourselves defensively early in the game.”
Milbank Area jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, only to have the Bearcats cut the deficit to two points at 21-19 at the midway mark. The Dawgs outscored Webster Area by five points in the third period to widened their lead to 38-31 heading into the final stanza. The teams battled to the finish. Webster Area held a one-point advantage over the Bulldogs in the final quarter, but Milbank Area held on for the 56-50 win.
“Leading up to the game, we talked about the fact that our defense is what would help us win the game,” said Bastian. “The guys responded and really made it difficult for Webster to score. Offensively, we struggled to get some shots to drop in the second quarter, but our execution was pretty good on that end too.”
Mitch Quade sparked the Bulldogs with 21 points, four rebounds, three steals and one assist on the night. Matt Lenards tallied 10 points and one steal while Jonny Ash added nine points and three rebounds. Nate Bien contributed seven points, three boards and two steals, and Cody Dockter chipped in with six points, five rebounds and one assist in the contest.
Also adding to the score book for Milbank Area were Derrick Aho, two points; James Weber, one point, two rebounds and two assists, and Riley Wollschlager, one rebound.
Milbank Area made 42 percent of its shots from the field, hitting 19 of 45 attempts. The Bulldogs took home the win with 32 rebounds, 13 steals, four assists and 13 turnovers.
Webster Area went 21-for-46 from the field for 46 percent shooting in the contest. The Bearcats finished the game with 28 rebounds, nine steals, one assist and 14 turnovers.
Milbank Area will face number one-seeded Sisseton in the first semi-final game Thursday, March 2, at 6 p.m. in Webster. The winner will advance to the Sweet 16 round. “We will have to play well offensively against Sisseton,” stated Bastian. “They are real good on the defensive end of the floor, so we are going to have to play our best offensive game of the year. Defensively, we have to limit them to one shot as they are too good to give extra opportunities.”
In the second semi-final game Thursday, number three-seeded Groton Area will take on number two-seeded Aberdeen Roncalli. The winner of that game will also advance to the Sweet 16.
Pictured above: Mitch Quade.