The MHS varsity basketball team closed out their season during the second round of region play against the Tigers in Groton. It will be a year remembered for its grueling weather at both away and home games, for the 14 exciting victories they gave their fans, and for the millions of memories they made as a team.
Logan Diede, head coach for the Bulldogs, said, “Thanks to all of the Milbank faithful for supporting us this season as always. Thank you to all of our players for their hard work and dedication. Thank you to our statisticians and student managers for their huge commitment to the program. And thank you to my assistant coaches for their dedication to this program and these young men.” Tony Howard, Eric Townsend, and Kelli Pillatzki served as the assistant coaches.
Diede also added a heartfelt thank you to his senior players “for all their years of hard work and commitment to the Milbank basketball family. They will all be greatly missed, but they have left their mark on the program.”
Milbank 56 vs. Redfield 28
Milbank started post-season play with a big win against Redfield at 56-28. Yohana Ajwanga rang up a season-high score of 18 points. Ajwanga added six rebounds, two steals, and an assist to the Bulldogs’ totals. Senior Justus Osborn scored 11 points. He also had a rebound and two blocks.
Joe Schulte put up seven points and five five rebounds. He pulled off three steals. Garrett Mertens and Jaxson Wildung made six points apiece. Wildung had six rebounds and Mertens had five. They each added three assists.
Graham Lightfield added three points and grabbed two rebounds. He also contributed two assists and managed a steal. Emmett Hanson and Senior Tice Mursu each dropped in two points. Hanson also had an assist. Senior Eli Johnson downed a free throw.
The Bulldogs connected on 22 of their 29 field goal attempts to finish at 56 percent from the floor, including five of 11 from 3-point range or 45.5 percent. They cashed in on seven of their 11 free throws to finish at 64 percent from the line.
The Pheasants secured just 24 percent of their shots from the floor even with a boost of 29 percent from beyond the arc. They hit four of their seven free throw attempts or 57 percent.
Jerron Haider and Justin Ratigan, Redfield’s leading scorers, topped out at six points. Ratigan also led the Pheasants in rebounds with five. Mack Mitchell had five points and four rebounds. Nolan Gall had four points and three rebounds.
Milbank 39 vs. Groton 48
The Bulldogs ended their season with a good run against Groton in their second Region 1A game on March 3. The final score was 48-39. Jaxson Wildung and Joe Schulte were the leading scorers for Milbank. Each posted 12 points. Schulte added five rebounds and Wildung had two. Wildung also nicked a pair of steals.
Mertens scored eight points and added seven rebounds and three assists. Yohana Ajwanga had four points, three rebounds, and a block. Senior Justus Osborn had three points, two rebounds, and one assist.
The Bulldogs shot 37 percent from the floor, including 25 percent from beyond the arc. They were hot from the stripe and knocked down seven of eight or 87.5 percent.
Groton’s Cole Simon and Tate Larson put up 13 points apiece. Larson was also the Tigers’ leading rebounder with six. Lane Tietz followed with five.
Groton hit 45 percent of their field goal attempts, including 17 percent from long range. They landed 12 of 15 from the line to finish at 80 percent.
Photos: Top- Team. Coach Diede and Jaxson Wildung. Yohanna Ajwanga takes the ball to the hoop. Jaxson Wildung gets the Bulldog’s on the board with an early layup. Garrett Mertens surveys the court as he brings the ball up. Joe Schulte takes the ball high to the basket. Justus Osborn slips past his defender and heads to the basket. Graham Lightfield weaves through Groton’s defense.