The Milbank Area Bulldogs opened the 2017-2018 boys basketball season with a 59-46 victory over the Tiospa Zina Wambdi in front of a large... Dawgs Down the Wambdi in Opening Hoops

The Milbank Area Bulldogs opened the 2017-2018 boys basketball season with a 59-46 victory over the Tiospa Zina Wambdi in front of a large crowd at the Milbank Armory Friday, December 8. Jake Fox led the Bulldogs with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and one assist. James Weber added 10 points. Jordan Riley had nine points, seven boards, and one steal.

“It felt good to have an opportunity for our guys to compete and be tested against real competition,” stated Bulldog Head Coach Logan Diede. “We faced adversity early and often, which is what I was hoping for. I was happy how we handled it, and answered the call. The juice and energy from our crowd, from the guys on the floor, and from our bench was really good. We needed every ounce of it.”

Jonny Ash was also back in action after a football injury. He scored seven points and had four rebounds, one assist, and three steals. Mitch Quade contributed six points, four rebounds, one blocked shot, and two steals. Preston Morton had four points, three rebounds, and one blocked shot.Tate Stricherz made three points and Max McCulloch had two rebounds and one steal.

The Dawgs trailed early at 13-2, but stuck to the game plan and edged their way back to cut the deficit to 13-11 at the end of the first quarter. They then poured in 21 points in the second quarter to give Milbank Area the 32-23 halftime advantage.

“It’s all part of the process,” Coach Diede said. “We knew there would be runs by both teams at one point or another. It just so happened TZ’s big run was right out of the gates. I was proud of our guys with how they handled that adversity, and just kept playing. Our focus is on each possession, and nothing more. If you let things get bigger than the possession you’re currently in – bad things happen. And eventually, if you keep your focus on that you’ll find yourself winning enough possessions to be back in a game, and have a chance to win. Everyday is a constant work in progress on putting our guys in adverse situations so we can continue to handle it on game night. Every game will present new challenges and new adversity.”

The Dawgs were outscored 13-11 in the third period, but held a 43-36 lead heading into the final stanza. Another 16 buckets in the fourth quarter sealed the 59-46 victory. “Effort, energy, juice, and toughness were all huge keys in getting us the win,” Coach Diede said.

Milbank Area shot 19-of-46 from the field for 41 percent. The Dawgs wrapped up the win with 39 rebounds, 15 steals, two assists, two blocked shots. They committed13 turnovers.

Tiospa Zina hit 32 percent of their shots from the field -17 of 54 attempts. The Wambdi made 38 rebounds,13 steals, and committed 15 turnovers.

The Bulldogs face Sisseton Tuesday, December 12, in doubleheader basketball action at the Milbank Armory. Girls varsity starts at 6:30 p.m. Boys varsity follows.

Photo – Jake Fox

Staff Writer

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