SHERRARD -- They may both be out of the running for a West Central North boys' basketball crown, but rivals Orion and Sherrard still wanted to put their best foot forward Friday night.|
Before a large crowd at Harry Hunt Gymnasium, the Chargers used that best foot to defensively stomp on the hosting Tigers. Orion held the Tigers to single-digit scoring in all four quarters. Offensively, Orion was able to spread the wealth around as it rolled to a 46-28 victory.
"When you play a neighboring team like Sherrard, there's going to be a lot of emotion,'' said a hoarse-voiced Orion coach Brent Hutton. "A lot of the kids from both schools know each other well, and the adrenalin can be a little too strong, but I thought we handled it well.''
The Chargers (15-10, 2-5 WCC North) got the start they wanted as Dylan Schultz, Dakota Grant and Austin Anderson each scored four points in the first quarter to stake their team to a 16-8 lead. Teammate Adam Killion stepped up his game in the second period, scoring five of his nine points as Orion opened up a 28-14 halftime lead.
Schultz finished with a game-high 12 points, with Grant adding eight and Anderson six. The Chargers were able to get to the free-throw line consistently -- 24 times to the Tigers' six second-half trips.
"This was a pretty tough game to officiate,'' said Hutton. "We defended pretty well, got our hands on the basketball and used our length to bother them. Our guys were very unselfish with the ball, and a lot of people had good chances to score points.''
Things didn't get any better for Sherrard (4-19, 0-8) in the second half as Orion gradually built a 38-19 lead. The Tigers didn't get on the scoreboard in the second half until late in the third period on Dylan Larson's bucket, and were never able to put together a run to get back in contention as 29 turnovers hurt their cause. Jake Kissner led the hosts with six points.
"Neither team really dominated on offense,'' said Sherrard coach Barry Jackson. "Defensively, when you hold a varsity team to 46 points, you give yourself the opportunity to win, but we just couldn't score. Turnovers have been our Achilles' heel all year, but as tough as it's been, these kids keep coming back and working hard.''
Likewise, Orion is looking to build momentum for the upcoming Class 2A regionals. "It's all about momentum right now,'' said Hutton.
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