MITCHELL, S.D.–Breckenridge took on Bridgewater-Emery, South Dakota, and turned in their best game of the season to hold off the No. 1 team in South Dakota Class B for a 76-74 overtime victory. The game was hosted at the Mitchell Corn Palace on Friday, Dec. 28 in the first of two games for BHS in the Hoop City Classic.
“This is an elevation-to-another-level win. They were No. 1 in their state and a very premier program. I thought we showed a lot of toughness and grit to get this done,” Breckenridge coach Arly Ohm said. “A lot of our guys kept asking, ‘Are we good enough to be in this tournament?’ If you weren’t good enough to be in this tournament you wouldn’t have been invited. I think we showed a lot of people in the Midwest that Breckenridge basketball’s not too shabby.”
The Cowboys took an eight-point lead into the half with offensive rebounding playing a major factor. Whether it was Jonah Christensen, Tyson Piechowski, Justin Marsh or Noah Christensen with some putbacks, everybody was doing their part as they grabbed 15 of their own misses
“(Offensive rebounding) has been a point of emphasis since we came back from break,” Ohm said. “We’re trying to play more aggressive on the glass because we didn’t think we were that good in December.”
Noah Christensen caught everybody’s attention with an alley-oop slam over a BE player for his first two points of the game. He went on a run by himself with 16 of Breck’s 18 points late in the first half. The star big man finished with a game-high 30 points to go along with 11 boards.
“(Noah Christensen’s) earned everything he’s gotten. He’s a heck of a player,” Ohm said.
Another key to getting the halftime lead was shutting down Sawyer Schultz. Entering the game averaging 30 points a contest, Breck held him to three heading into the locker room.
“That’s insane. Nobody’s held him. He’s a two-time (South Dakota) Player of the Year, he’s going to be Player of the Year his senior year so this guy’s phenomenal,” Ohm said. “It says a lot about Cowboy defense.”
Schultz found his rhythm in the second half to help his team eventually tie the game. Even though he scored 18 points the rest of the game, he still finished nine points under his average. Answering his big shots were Jacob and Justin Marsh. The twin brothers each buried a pair of 3s and scored a dozen apiece.
“I though Jacob and Justin both offensively and defensively did a heck of a job,” Ohm said. “I felt like our depth wore them down.”
The Huskies took the lead late in regulation with a 3, but a Noah Christensen free throw and a big layup from Caden McGough forced overtime. Noah Christensen started the period with his fourth 3 of the game and Jacob Marsh buried one of his own in the corner for the only other BHS bucket in OT.
Senior starters McGough and Hunter Feigum were both lost to fouls, but the reserves came in to help seal the victory.
“Again, we had adversity and we responded,” Ohm said. “We were deep into foul trouble and a lot of teams wouldn’t be able to survive all the fouls we had, but we were able to do it because of our depth. Hat’s off to our bench, hat’s off to our starters and I couldn’t be more proud of our guys.”
The Cowboys (4-2) played their second game at the Sanford Pentagon on Saturday, Dec. 29. They faced off with Sioux Falls Christian.
“Isn’t the Corn Palace awesome? This is a great place to play, they do a good job running the tournament and it was a lot of fun for high school basketball fans. I’m really proud of all the people that made the trip down,” Ohm said. “I’m really happy for our kids and our community. This was a signature win for Breckenridge basketball.”