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Sturgis barely holds off Red Cloud comeback

Lady Scoopers dominate the boards



Faces strain with effort, the Sturgis defense overwhelms Red Cloud’s Kianna Big Crow. Sturgis defenders left to right: Sierra Fischer (33), Kylie Shaw (center) and Donni Bruch (11).

Faces strain with effort, the Sturgis defense overwhelms Red Cloud’s Kianna Big Crow. Sturgis defenders left to right: Sierra Fischer (33), Kylie Shaw (center) and Donni Bruch (11).

STURGIS — “If we can win the battle of the boards, we can win most games,” Sturgis Head Coach Jordan Proefrock said, following the Lady Scoopers 52-51 victory over visiting Red Cloud last Friday night. “We had 40 rebounds; that seems to always do good things for us.”

The game got tight near the end because Sturgis had a lot of trouble getting shots to fall, and Red Cloud can shoot, even if they don’t have the length to compete on the boards.

 

 

Although Loralee Stock and Oliva Jolley have athleticism that catches the eye of the crowd, Brook Janz, a 6-0 senior, does the tough work in the trenches Sturgis needs to stay in games.

“Brook, who is our most consistent player, she gets overlooked,” Proefrock said.

Janz had 19 points and eight rebounds, and Red Cloud struggled to match-up against her defensively.

Sturgis led 16-12 after a quarter. Proefrock decided to rest her starters to start the second quarter, but Red Cloud was unable to score, despite sometimes getting three shots at the basket. The game was scoreless for three minutes, before Jolley raced the length of court and was fouled by Aaliyah Provost, a 5-8 senior, on the layup. She made a free throw to make it, 17-12. Neither team could muster much offense before the half and Sturgis went to the locker room up, 23-19.

Red Cloud opened the third quarter with an emphatic three from Provost, and the Lady Crusaders trailed only, 23-22. Doni Bruch answered right back for Sturgis with her own three, 26-22. Provost missed her next shot, Stevi Fallis got the offensive rebound, fed it back to Provost, and when Provost attempted a pass to Maya Franks, Bruch intercepted, got the ball to Jolley, who raced down court to make it, 28-22, Sturgis. Red Cloud seemed disoriented, they were taking some reckless shots, and Janz got the turnover, launched a three, and it was 31-22, Sturgis. Red Cloud Head Coach Matt Rama was forced to call a time out.

This pattern held true until the quarter ended; Sturgis would build a lead, Red Cloud would whittle it down, but by half time, the Lady Scoopers had doubled their lead from four points to eight, and led, 44-36.

With just under five minutes remaining, Janz scored a lay-up and Sturgis led, 50-41. They would score only one more bucket the rest of the game, and Red Cloud would outscore them 15-8 in the final quarter.

After the Janz lay-up, 6-2 Sturgis junior, Haley Lambert, blocked a shot from the 5-6 Franks, Janz got the rebound, but she traveled. Teylor Albers responded with a three, and Red Cloud trailed only, 50- 44. Janz missed a shot, Provost rebounded, and Franks added another three for Red Cloud, and it was 50-47, 3:17 to play.

Then came the winning bucket, although no one had any idea then. Sarah Janz, a 5-11 sophomore, missed a shot, Bruch grabbed the offensive rebound, fed it to Brook Janz, who scored to make it 52-47.

Sturgis kept sending Mahpiya Luta to the line, but they kept missing half their free throws, whittling away at a lead they should have erased. Finally, Stock fouled Provost and sent her to the line with 4.7 seconds remaining. Provost hit both free throws, and it was 52- 51, Sturgis.

It was imperative that Red Cloud foul immediately once Sturgis inbounded, but Sturgis was able to elude any foul, and the final buzzer sounded as the dribble reached midcourt.

Although cold shooting from Sturgis kept Red Cloud in a game they should have trailed by 15, Red Cloud had their chances down the stretch, but missed free throws and poor shot selection prevented them from achieving a comeback win. The Lady Crusaders are impressive beyond the arc, but in the paint, they hastily chuck it up and just hope it falls in.

Provost led all scorers with 23 points. Jolley had 17 points for Sturgis, and a game leading 10 rebounds. For Red Cloud, the season is over. They finished 13-5, and sit in fourth place in Region 7 A. Once power points are recalibrated, they should draw Little Wound in the first round of the play-offs. Sturgis, 8-10, has two more games, against Douglas at Box Elder, Friday night, and next Monday, at home, against Rapid City Central. Sturgis lost the first meeting, 50-45, to Central.

(James Giago Davies is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He can be reached at skindiesel@ msn.com)

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