The No. 3-seeded Milbank Bulldogs upset the No. 2-seeded Groton Tigers in the Region 1A
boys basketball semi-finals Friday, March 6 with a 65-56 victory. The win sends Milbank to the SoDak 16. They have been seeded at No. 11.
Milbank takes on the No. 3 seed, Sioux Falls Christian, on Tuesday, March 10. The game will be played in Madison with tip-off set for 6 p.m. The winner advances to the State Class A tournament in Rapid City. “We are thankful for a few days of practice before we go up against one of the better teams in South Dakota,” stated Milbank’s head coach, Logan Diede. “We will be ready to go give everything we have Tuesday night.”
Milbank battled in a game of highs and lows Friday night. The Bulldogs started off hot and led Groton 21-9 after the opening quarter. The teams played evenly in the second period, but the Dawgs maintained a 31-24 lead at the midway mark.
Milbank struggled to produce points in the third quarter and allowed Groton to take the lead at 39-42 heading into the final stanza. Milbank outscored the Tigers by 11 points to secure the upset victory.
“I loved our boys approach to the game and could sense their confidence all week,” said Diede. “The message was the same as it always is. We understand there will be highs and lows. We needed to focus on bringing the best effort that we were capable of, and everything else would take care of itself. And, that’s exactly what we did!”
Bennett Schwenn set the pace for the Bulldogs with 23 points, four rebounds, and two assists. Max McCulloch produced a double-double hitting 14 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and one blocked shot. Will Cummins followed with 11 points, four boards, two assists, and two steals. Ryker Trevett tallied nine points, two rebounds, three assists, and one steal. Carter Hartman scored seven points for the Dawgs, and recorded three rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Mason Riley contributed two rebounds and one steal, and Evan Erickson made one rebound.
Milbank shot 52 percent from the field, firing in 24-of-46 attempts. The Dawgs snared 29 rebounds, had 13 assists, nine steals, and one blocked shot. They committed 12 turnovers.
Groton hit 19-of-59 from the field for 32 percent shooting. The Tigers finished the game with 36 rebounds, 11 steals, four assists, and one blocked shot. They committed 10 turnovers.
Photo: Back- (l. to r.) Will Cummins, Ryker Trevett, Noah Steinlicht, Mason Riley, Max McCulloch, Carter Hartman, Bennett Schwenn, Sam Seffrood, and JD Luck. Front – Evan Erickson, Stevie Ash, Tanner Mertens, Karson Weber, Cade Howard, and Kellen Hoeke.