The Bulldogs brawled with Dell Rapids during the 2024 Dakota XII/NEC Conference Clash hosted by Madison on Saturday, January 27. Both gyms at Madison High were thrumming all day as matching seeds vied for each title and the nightcap games finally settled things between the top-two seeds – Groton fell to Dakota Valley, and Hamlin lost to Sioux Falls Christian.
In the battle of the No. 5 seeds, Milbank was defeated by Dell Rapids 56-48. Dell Rapids (11-4) was coming off a four-game winning streak – including a 20-point victory over Milbank just five days before. The Bulldogs apparently had learned from the experience and offered the Quarriers no chance to run roughshod over them again. Heading into the half-time break the Bulldogs trailed by just one point at 27-26.
Quarrier Jack Henry put up a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds, but Bulldog Yohana Ajwanga pushed back with 17 points and seven rebounds. Garrett Mertens added nine points, two assists, and five rebounds for Milbank. Joe Schulte scored eight points and jarred loose eight rebounds. Jaxson Wildung scored eight points and came away with five rebounds. Braylen Bowsher and Sam Rick each nailed a three-point bomb. Rick also added three boards.
Rhett Kloth posted a double-double for the Quarriers with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Tad Tjaden made nine points and three rebounds. Three Dell Rapids players –Cole Ruesink, Treyse Eastman, and Drake Eastman– each dropped in five. Ruesink also contributed nine rebounds.
The Bulldogs downed 32 percent of their shots, including 30 percent from beyond the arc. Dell Rapids hit 44 percent overall, including just 20 percent of their 3-pointers. Milbank sank five of 10 from the line. Dell Rapids hit eight of 14 for 57 percent.
What’s next? The Bulldogs travel to Aberdeen to rumble with Roncalli (9-5) on Friday, February 2. The Cavaliers hold a three-game winning streak after defeating Tiospa Zina, Madison, and Britton-Hecla, but they suffered a glaring 77-38 loss to Hamlin on January 23.