2017-02-15 / Sports

White River prevails at Corn Palace

Camren Folkers steps up and earns game MVP
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Today Correspondent

After Sully Butte's 6-9 Lincoln Jordre scored over him, White River's 6-6 Camren Folkers cans a jumper over Jordre. Clay Feller (0) and Jadice Morrison (partial 2) look on. After Sully Butte's 6-9 Lincoln Jordre scored over him, White River's 6-6 Camren Folkers cans a jumper over Jordre. Clay Feller (0) and Jadice Morrison (partial 2) look on. MITCHELL –– Class B basketball doesn’t get much better than the show Sully Buttes and White River put on for the Corn Palace crowd, Saturday afternoon in rain-soaked Mitchell. Eldon Marshall’s Tigers were out-rebounded and out-shot by the fifth-ranked Chargers, but proved they are a team improving markedly with every outing, by hitting the threes and converting the turnovers needed to earn a hard-fought, 50-47 victory.

Before the game there was some question whether career underachiever Camren Folkers, the Tigers powerful, 6-6 senior center, could match-up against Sully Buttes highly touted 6-9 bean-pole, junior center, Lincoln Jordre. On paper, it appears Folkers didn’t, as Jordre scored 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, but in reality, it was Folkers who snatched the critical rebounds, and hit the momentum driving buckets, and he led all players with 5 offensive boards, 11 overall rebounds, and led his Tigers with 15 points.

White River's Justice Morrison drives against Sully Butte's Jacob Howard. 
Photos by James Giago Davies White River's Justice Morrison drives against Sully Butte's Jacob Howard. Photos by James Giago Davies Folkers knew he had a test ahead of him against Jordre, but he tried to keep his focus simple: “They told me he was big, so I figured I should just play more physical, keep moving the ball, keep working inside and feeding it back out.”

This was not the same Folkers who struggled on the court at LNI in December: “I didn’t have a good start to the year so I didn’t think I’d be getting this award, but I had to take over this year as a starter, and Coach Marshall is always telling me they need more scoring from me.”

Given the great shooters and aggressive ball-handlers White River always has in abundance, a rebounding post-up presence able to score in double figures makes the Tigers an extremely tough team to beat, and Folkers provided that presence.

Marshall said of Folkers: “He got some offensive rebounds, he’s solid. He’s put in the work. Done everything we’ve asked of him, and more.”

“It wasn’t our best,” Marshall said of the win. “We still fought and battled to the end. Everyone contributed. They are a good basketball team, but we did what we had to do (to win).”

Under the weather, senior Justice Morrison, nonetheless hit some big threes and younger brother, Jadice, a 6-2 sophomore, pumped in 14 points.

“Jadice has really stepped up his game last couple of weeks,” Marshall said. “Nick Sayler is also playing well. He’s only a freshman.” Sayler led the team with 4 assists.

“Go hard to the rim!” Marshall said in the between-quarter huddle before the final quarter began, his Tigers trailing now 39-36, after leading much of the game.

That didn’t happen immediately. Jordre missed a shot, but hustling Nick Wittler, a 5-10 freshman, scored the put back, and Sully Buttes extended their lead to 41-36. White River brought the ball up court, where 6-0 junior guard, Donnie Yackley was blocked by the towering Jordre. The ball bounced back out to Jadice Morrison, who smooth as silk, drained a no-doubt three. Down by just a bucket, at 41-39, Marshall called a timeout with 5:48 left in the game.

The Tigers got the ball back and Sayler scored on a put-back, tying it up, and 41-all. But with 3:45 remaining, Jordre scored to put Sully Buttes up 45-43 and Chargers coach Brian White called a time-out.

In the huddle Marshall told Folkers, “Stay on (Jordre), keep a forearm on him all the time.” He told the entire team, “Be in attack mode down there. Let’s go out and pressure hard.”

As soon as they hit the floor, Jordre backed right up into the paint and deftly scored right over the top of Folker’s outstretched fingertips, 47-43. Undeterred, Folkers came down court and canned a jumper right over Jordre’s outstretched fingertips, 47-45, Sully Buttes.

White river got the ball back, Yackley missed his shot, freshman Joe Brandis snagged the offensive rebound, fired it back out to Yackley, who hit a crucial three, putting White River on top, 48-47, with 1:24 left to play.

Wittler was fouled by Jadice Morrison, his fourth foul, and went to the line with 1:04 to play. He missed both free throws, but hustling Jordre snatched the offensive rebound, and he missed. Jadice Morrison got the ball back up court and drove the paint for a bucket, making it 50-47, 19.3 seconds remaining. Sully Buttes was unable to score in that time, and White River had a big win in a year where they are once again proving to be the class of West River, and more than likely on their way to the state tournament in Aberdeen for the 12th straight year. If there is a better coach in South Dakota high school basketball than Eldon Marshall, you’d have to ignore the statistical reality to prove it.

White River is now 12-4 and on top in District 13. They have an easy game at home against New Underwood on the 17th, a tough game at home against Todd County on the 18th, before closing the regular season out against 7- 10 Lyman County at home on the 24th.

(Contact James Giago Davies at

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