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Cold shooting trips Waldorf in loss to Trojans

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Matt Oliver

FOREST CITY – A cold shooting night stifled the Waldorf College men’s basketball team in a 70-63 loss to Dakota State University during Tuesday’s North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) contest.

“It was a very tough loss,” Waldorf coach Nigel Jenkins said. “At the end of the day, I think Dakota State wanted it more than us.”

The Warriors (11-6, 4-4) struggled on the offensive end, shooting 23-of-68 (33.8 percent) from the field and 8-of-22 (36.4 percent) from 3-point range. It wasn’t the type of performance they had envisioned and the setback impacts their chances of hosting an NSAA Tournament game in February.

“We could not throw the ball in the ocean,” Jenkins said. “There’s still quite a bit of ball left, but losing conference home games is not a part of the equation to be in the mix for a conference tournament home game.”

It wasn’t a strong shooting night for the Trojans (7-11, 1-2) either, but a 26-of-68 (38.2-percent) effort from the floor and 4-of-20 (20-percent) showing behind the arc was enough down the stretch. Dakota State outscored Waldorf 34-22 in the paint and capitalized with a 17-5 advantage in second-chance points.

“Our defense was solid overall, but the problem was they kept getting multiple chances at the basket,” Jenkins said.

Tyler Parrish led the Warriors with a game-high 21 points. The 6-foot-2 senior guard from Odin, Illinois shot 41.2 percent, going 7-of-17 from the field and 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) from downtown. Parrish hauled in six rebounds, handed out three assists and came away with two steals.

Waldorf senior Erik Brewer added 18 points on 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) shooting and a 6-of-8 (75-percent) effort from the free-throw line. Brewer and Parrish put together strong performances and shots also fell for their teammates, except not on a consistent basis.

“Erik and Tyler gave us what they could,” Jenkins said. “Both of them and some of the other guys had very good looks at the basket, but we just didn’t make them. We didn’t do a great job from the free-throw line either.”

The Trojans knocked down 82.4 percent of their foul shots, converting on 14-of-17 attempts. Waldorf went 9-of-16 (56.3 percent) at the charity stripe.

Sophomore Kaimen Slay provided eight points and five boards for the Warriors. Junior Michael Morgan turned six points, seven rebounds and two steals. Junior June Prowell tallied four points and dished out a team-high four assists while junior Pierre Roddy finished with three points. Sophomore Kaden Verdin scored two points and pulled down six boards to go along with two assists. Freshman Isaiah Curry contributed one point and two steals. Sophomore Eric English closed out the night with seven rebounds.

Kyle Kilgore powered Dakota State with a double-double, netting 18 points and ripping down 11 rebounds to lead his team to a 47-42 advantage on the boards. The 6-foot-7 junior forward went 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) from the floor and hit 6-of-8 (75 percent) foul shots.

Adam Hofer ended the night with 13 points for the Trojans and Derek Meger aided the effort with 12 points and six rebounds. Justin Folkers dropped in eight points. Tanner Heiser scored seven points while leading Dakota State with four assists and two steals.

Waldorf led by nine points midway through the first half and held a 32-31 lead at halftime. The Warriors never led by more than six points the rest of the way as the Trojans steadily reduced the deficit.

Dakota State went in front 42-41 following a layup from Taylor Zirbel with 13 minutes, 17 seconds to play. The Trojans stretched their advantage to seven points on four different occasions.

Waldorf scored five unanswered points as Slay capped the run to trim Dakota State’s lead to 59-57 with 4:18 remaining, but that’s all the closer the Warriors would get. The Trojans remained on top 62-59 following a layup from Brewer with 1:12 left on the clock. Dakota State locked up the win, forcing the Warriors to foul and converting on all eight of its trips to the foul line in the final 45 seconds.

Both teams committed 13 turnovers on the night. Waldorf came away with a 12-9 edge in points off turnovers and a 4-2 advantage in fast-break points. Dakota State’s bench stepped up, outscoring the Warrior reserves by a 26-14 margin.

The loss snapped Waldorf’s three-game winning streak and the Warriors know they have to put the game behind them.

“We have to get better at every aspect of the game,” Jenkins said.

Waldorf resumes conference play against Presentation College (7-7, 0-3). The Warriors held off the Saints in an 81-73 victory last Friday at Hanson Fieldhouse. They expect another battle from Presentation, which ranks fourth in scoring among National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II teams with 95.4 points a game.

“They can score with the best of them,” Jenkins said. “They’ll be confident shooting the ball on their home court. Nothing is easy in the North Star, but we’ve just got to get better.”