It was deja vu all over again … almost.
The Watertown Arrows scored a narrow 48-46 victory over the Yankton Bucks Thursday night, but for the second game in a row, the YHS crew had a chance for a game-winning shot. This time, Jaden Kral’s off-balance three-point shot fell short of the hoop as the buzzer sounded.
The Bucks dropped to 5-3 on the season while the Arrows picked up their second win against five losses. Yankton will host Sioux Falls O’Gorman on Saturday night.
“Give Watertown a lot of credit tonight,” said YHS coach Chris Haynes, “they came in with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, especially on the defensive end early.”
That defensive intensity starting the game enabled the visitors to jump out to a 9-0 lead by the time the first quarter had ticked 4:27. And although the Bucks outscored the Arrows 6-2 in the final minutes of the first period, the damage seemed to be done as Watertown carried an 11-6 lead to the second frame.
The Bucks seemed out of synch throughout the first eight minutes, hitting only two of nine shots with four turnovers. They also they also appeared to be feeling the loss of starter Cody Oswald, who missed the game due to health reasons. Oswald has averaged nine points per game in his six appearances this season and had been one of the team’s top defenders.
Yankton found a spark of rhythm early in the second quarter, cutting the gap to 15-9 at the 3:09 mark, but the visitors went on a little 5-0 run to push their lead to 20-9 with 1:06 to play in the half. Only a pair of free throws and a three-point shot, all by Drew Ryken in that final minute, made the halftime score 20-14.
“I didn’t think we responded or attacked when they came out with that energy,” noted Haynes. “We left a lot of points on the court with missed layups. You just can’t miss six, seven layups and expect to beat a good team.”
The Bucks came out with a renewed sense of urgency, cutting the lead to 25-19 in the first minute of play. However, the Arrows answered with a 6-0 run to widen their lead to 29-19 at the 6:16 mark. Haynes called timeout.
Whatever was said in that huddle, the Bucks came out with increased energy. Mac Ryken’s five points paced Yankton’s 10-0 run; Rugby Ryken’s slashing layup at the 3:24 mark of the stanza yanked Yankton into a 29-29 tie.
The Bucks got their first lead of the game when Mac Ryken buried a trey with 2:44 in the third period. The lead went back and forth. With 17 seconds left, Kral grabbed a defensive rebound, flipped a pass to Rugby Ryken, who pushed the ball upcourt hard and found Kral cutting down the lane. The senior’s layin lifted the Bucks to a 34-33 lead heading to the final eight minutes of play.
The Bucks opened the final frame by pushing the lead to 40-33 thanks to a pair of Kral short jumpers. But Watertown turned the tables and tallied seven unanswered points by the 3:07 mark to tie things at 40-40.
Rugby Ryken slashed his way to a layup to give YHS a 42-40 lead, but Reese Stark pushed Watertown back in front with a big three-point bucket. Stark widened the gap to 45-42, seconds later, when he got to the hoop down the lane.
A layin by Mac Ryken trimmed the margin to 45-44 with 1:31 left. Watertown tried to run the shot clock down on their next possession, but let it slip to zero, earning a violation with 22 seconds in the game and giving Yankton the ball.
YHS took a timeout and set up an inbounds play, but Arrows coach Zach Wevik, a former assistant under Haynes, answered the YHS timeout with a timeout of his own. Yankton got the ball in, and with 16 seconds to play, Kral found an opening down the lane, but got fouled before the shot. YHS had the ball at their own end line, and Rugby Ryken found Kral under the hoop. His bucket with 12 seconds to play pushed Yankton in front 46-45.
After another timeout, Watertown got the ball upcourt quickly and Drew Norberg dropped in a trey with 54 seconds in the game to give Watertown a 48-46 lead.
Mac Ryken inbounded the ball to Kral, who dribbled into the front court, but was fouled. YHS got the ball on the side. Rugby Ryken inbounded to Kral and things started to look just like the final ticks of the Bucks’ last game, when Kral laced a triple at the buzzer to lift Yankton to a win over Harrisburg. But Kral’s three-point shot fell inches short as the buzzer sounded.
“No excuses,” Haynes stated. “The game is 32 minutes for both teams and Watertown simply outplayed us.”
The Bucks were led in scoring by Mac Ryken, Rugby Ryken, and Kral, each with 12 points. Drew Ryken added 8 and Michael Mors had 2. The Arrows were paced by Stark with 16 and Norberg with 10. Kral had 8 rebounds while Rugby pulled down 7 and dished out 6 assists.
In the junior varsity game, Yankton lost 51-48. YHS was led by Isaiah Schellhaas, 18, and Drew Ryken, 12. Watertown won the sophomore game, 54-40. YHS scoring leaders were Landon Potts, 19, Matthew Sheldon and Tyson Prouty each with 6. The freshman A game was won by Watertown, 52-43, with Carson Ness netting 12 and Evan Serk scoring 11 for Yankton. The frosh B game was a Yankton loss, 64-54, as Owen Wishon tallied 18 and Kael Garry scored 14 for YHS.
Cole Holden 2 0-0 4, Drew Norberg 4 0-0 10, Reese Stark 7 1-2 16, Mack Johnson 2 0-0 4, Devon Lewis 2 0-0 6, Kohen Kranz 0 0-0 0, Jake Olson 0 0-0 0, Marcus Rabine 1 0-0 2, Evan Hamre 3 0-0 6. TOTALS: 21 1-2 48.
Drew Ryken 2-5 2-3 8, Mac Ryken 4-8 3-4 12, Rugby Ryken 4-8 4-4 12, Dylan Prouty 0-5 0-0 0, Isaiah Schelhaas 0-1 0-0 0, Jaden Kral 6-12 0-0 12, Michael Mors 0-2 0-0 0, Colton Potts 1-1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 17 9-11 46
WATERTOWN 11 9 13 15 — 48
YANKTON 6 8 20 12 — 46
Three-Pointers: W 5 (Norberg 2, Lewis 2, Stark 1), Y 3 (D. Ryken 2-5, M. Ryken 1-1, R. Ryken 0-3, Prouty 0-3, Kral 0-2).