Milbank traveled to Sisseton on December 8 and returned with the 10-point victory at 55-45. Logan Diede, head coach of the Bulldogs’ varsity basketball team, said, “It was good to get that first one under our belts with a win in the process. The boys were so excited to get out there and compete, and it showed. I thought for the majority of the game we were really good defensively — creating a lot of turnovers and dunks on the other end.”
The top scorer in the game, junior Garrett Mertens, racked up 19 points, including two three-pointers. He also pulled down three rebounds. Jaxson Wildung, also a junior, had 11 points. He hit three field goals and five free throws and added four rebounds. Senior Justus Osborn tossed in 10 points by completing four two-point shots and two from the charity stripe.
Junior Joe Schulte led the Bulldogs in rebounds. He pulled down 11. Schulte also nailed three field goals and three free throws for a total of nine points. Junior Yohanna Ajwanga added four points. Graham Lightfield, a sophomore, chipped in two. Ajwanga was also second on the team in rebounds at five.
Sisseton’s hottest shooter was Junior Nate Tchida. He had 16 points, including three three-pointers. Junior Mason Herzog followed with 11. Tchida also led the Redmen in rebounds with six.
Milbank outscored Sisseton at the free-throw line by pumping in 11 of 17 for nearly 65 percent. The Redmen only managed to lock in seven of 16 for 44 percent. The Bulldogs were 21 of 49 from two-point range for 43 percent. Sisseton hit 41.5 percent. From beyond the arc, Milbank could only muster up two of 18. Sisseton made four of 17.
Diede commented, “We need to improve our outside shooting and take care of the ball better as we move forward, but getting a 10-point win on the road to start the season despite our turnovers and struggles shooting speaks to the boys’ toughness and how well they played defensively.”
Diede, who is now in his ninth year of coaching basketball and his sixth year as head coach of the Bulldogs, continued, “We have a very hungry group that put in a lot of time in every offseason, and that has resulted in big improvements in their game over the years. I really, really like the potential of this group.”
Milbank’s roster for the 2022-2023 season includes eight seniors: Osborn, Will Snaza, Nathan Pillatzki, Max Lightfield, Eli Johnson, Aiden Ludvigson, Tice Mursu, and Tanner Hallquist. Osborn, Mertens, and Wildung will serve as captains. “As always,” Diede said, “I look for all players to lead when called upon.”
He puts Groton at the top of the list for toughest competitors in the region. “But realistically,” he says, “every night out is a big opportunity for us to compete and get better. There are no nights off on our schedule — everyone is a formidable opponent. So we will be tested and challenged all year, which is what we want.”
He said he believes, “Our length and athleticism will be some of our biggest strengths. They will hopefully give us a lot of looks attacking the rim as well as defending on defense. I believe if we are physical, we will be a good rebounding team.”
He circled back to touch again on improving outside and free throw shooting. “We just need to keep getting better every day, which is always a goal of ours. If we do that, it will open up our looks to the rim!”
Diede also emphasized the importance of student and community attendance. “The support our hometown fans bring is always a big boost for the boys. So the more people we have at games cheering them on the better. It’s a lot of fun to coach these boys. Just being around their excitement and eagerness to compete is great. I’m proud of the boys, including the JV and C teams. We look forward to getting back to work!”
Period Scores included: End of first 13-9/ Halftime 33-25/ End of third 47-34/ Final 55-45
What’s next? The Bulldogs are scheduled to host Clark-Willow Lake on Thursday, December 15. Keep up with The Valley Express for weather-related changes.
JV Game– Milbank 39 vs. Sisseton 14
Bryan Meyer and Emmett Hanson put up a combined total of 19 points in the Bulldogs’ JV victory at Sisseton on December 8. Hanson dropped in 10 and Meyer made nine.
Josh Pederson added seven points. Graham Lightfield had five, and Mason Meister contributed four. Sebastian Hooth and Este Abrego-Gonzalez each recorded two.
Meister and Pederson were the top rebounders for Milbank. They each grabbed five. Hanson added three. Lightfield, Charlie Peery, and Abrego-Gonzalez snagged one apiece.
The Bulldogs were not given an opportunity to shoot a free throw during the game. Sisseton hit five of 12 from the charity stripe for nearly 42 percent.
Carter Strickland and Teryn McKay were the top shooters and rebounders for the Redmen. They each claimed four points and nabbed two rebounds apiece.
The Bulldogs’ JV team is scheduled to take on Clark-Willow Lake on Thursday, December 15 in Milbank. Keep up with The Valley Express for weather-related changes.
C Team Game–Milbank 30 vs. Sisseton 17
Milbank’s C team defeated Sisseton by a score of 30-17 on December 8 in Sisseton. Layten Osowski and Este Abrego-Gonzalez led the Bulldogs. Osowski put up eight points and pulled down five rebounds. Abrego-Gonzalez made six points and four rebounds.
Jack Howard and Ryan Keeton each contributed four points. Keeton also chipped in four rebounds and Howard added two. Braylen Bowsher, Charlie Peery, Howie Zemlicka, and Micah Seyer clicked off two points apiece. Zemlicka also had two rebounds. Seyer’s points came in the form of free throws. He went two for two. As a team, the Bulldogs were two of four for 50 percent at the line. Noah Falk, Ethan Owen, and Devon Mueller each grabbed a rebound for the Dawgs.
Isaac Rodlund was Sisseton’s main scorer. He poured in 11 points. As a team, Sisseton hit three of 10 from the free-throw line for 30 percent.
The C team looks forward to a game against Clark-Willow Lake in Milbank on Thursday, December 15. Keep up with The Valley Express for weather-related changes.
Photos: Top–Garrett Mertens puts down one of his two dunks in the 3rd quarter to lead the Bulldogs to a strong lead. Bottom –Jaxson Wildung drives the baseline.