Taking aim at a state title
Lynx prepare for 3rd battle of season with Huron
March 14. 2013 6:00AM
After taking a year off from the state tournament, the Brandon Valley Lynx boys are headed back to the Class AA State event, which will be played in the team’s backyard, the Sioux Falls Arena. The fifth-seeded Lynx (16-6) will face fourth-seeded Huron (16-7) at 1:45 this afternoon.
The Lynx earned a berth to the state show by cruising through the District 2AA tournament, sidelining Sioux Falls Washington and Lincoln nearly two weeks ago.
So with an extended break before their tournament opener against a familiar foe – the Huron Tigers – the team is preparing solely for that game.
“We’re not preparing for anyone except Huron. All of our eggs are in one basket – period,” said Lynx head coach Brent Deckert. “Because if you don’t win the first one, then basically you’re playing two more games. But if you win that first one, you’re one game away from a state championship, so there’s a major difference there.”
Based on the teams previous meetings this season, Deckert and the boys are preparing for a battle with the Tigers.
“Both teams know each other well – it’s Eastern South Dakota basketball,” Deckert says.
In the regular season, the Lynx dropped a three-point loss to the Tigers in early January, and then evened the score by posting a 50-40 win over Huron in early February.
“Both times we played them, it was an absolute battle,” Deckert said. “And it won’t be anything different this time.”
On paper, the Lynx are riding a seven-game win streak, last losing in early February to the No. 2-seeded Pierre Governors, a team the Tigers lost to their district finals. Huron gained access to the state tournament by going through the regional process where they defeated Sturgis 64-45.
“We’ve been playing well in February, and now March, so we’re going to ride that momentum to the state tournament,” said Lynx 6-foot-3 senior guard Chase Marso, The Lynx are riding that momentum behind four senior members – Marso, Adam Bauer (5-11 guard), Nate Winter (6-2 forward) and Jacob Bruget (6-6 center).
Marso leads the team in scoring this season – 385 points – averaging 17.5 points per game. He’s been dangerous from 3-point territory, a 36 percent shooter from that range 43 percent overall. In the District 2AA title game, he nailed five alone in the first half of that game.
And so Marso will be a likely target for the Tigers to key in on.
“They’re going to keep it very, very simple. They’re going to guard us. They’re going to switch screens on us. They’re going to make us execute, extend their defense, and I assume they’ll press,” Deckert said. “They might screw with Chase a little bit, so he’ll have to work for everything he gets.”
Bauer, who averages 5.9 points per game, plays an even bigger role in his behind-the-scenes work, averaging 1.6 steals and 3.4 assists per game.
Bruget, who averages 4.3 rebounds per game, and Winter 3.0 rebounds per game, play key roles inside the paint for the Lynx on both ends of the court, as does junior Jacob Adams (6-3 forward).
The Lynx also get big contributions from juniors Nic Peterson (5-9 guard) and Devan West 6-1 guard).
The bruising Adams has put up 275 points this season and Peterson, also a threat from beyond the arc, has canned 33 triple-counters to date.
Adams, Bruget and Winter will have their hands full guarding Huron’s 6-foot-6 junior center Justin Decker, whose averaging in the 30 to 35 point range in a game.
“We may have to double him like we did with Washington and Lincoln with their bigs,” he said. “The problem with him is that he can flat-out bury you and score with you on his back – he’s a very dangerous player.”
Senior starter Adam Zwanziger (6-6, forward) is also a key player for the Tigers. “He’s their glue,” Deckert tells.
This year’s squad reminds Deckert of the 2003 team, which featured the likes of Brad Weiser and Josh Herr. Deckert cites them as “the best one-two combo that we had as far as guards go.”
But he said the play of Winter largely reminds him of Nick Bentele, who also played on the ’03 team. “He was a lot like Winter. He’s a player that loves to hit people, and he doesn’t play because of his skill level. He plays because he gets guys open, and those guys put up the points.”
Peterson has an inkling that Brandon Valley could just be the surprise team of the tournament.
“No one’s looking at us to be a top team, everyone’s looking at Roosevelt, so maybe we can turn some heads,” he said.
Also suiting up for the Lynx are juniors Dominic Nealy, Cole Albertson, Ryam Immeker, Kevin Petersen, Ryan Sjoberg, Jon Heiberger, Derek Johnson, and sophomores Tyler Erck, Drew Reinschmidt and Austin Trevino.
CLASS AA SCHEDULE
Sioux Falls Arena
Thursday, March 14
Noon: #1 S.F. Roosevelt vs. #8 R.C. Stevens
1:45 p.m.: #4 Huron vs. #5 Brandon Valley
6 p.m.: #2 Pierre vs. #7 R.C. Central
7:45 p.m.: #3 Brookings vs. #36 S.F. Lincoln
Tournament continues Friday and Saturday, March 15-16