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Dakota State pulls away from Waldorf in NSAA Tournament

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Aaron Schneider

MADISON, S.D. – Dakota State University earned  a 101-84 victory over the Waldorf College men’s basketball team during Thursday’s North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Tournament quarterfinal.

The Warriors (16-14) entered halftime trailing the Trojans (17-13) by just four points. Dakota State sparked a 14-4 run to start the second half to pull away for the win.

“They had two really big runs in the game, one in each half,” Waldorf coach Nigel Jenkins said. “In the first half, we were able to withstand it and made a good run to cut the lead down before halftime, but it snowballed quickly during the second half.”

Erik Brewer delivered a game-high 30 points for the Warriors. The 6-foot-6 senior forward from Las Vegas knocked down 11-of-23 (47.8 percent) shots from the field and 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) attempts from 3-point range.

Waldorf’s June Prowell provided 25 points. The 6-foot-2 junior guard from Atlanta buried 9-of-16 (56.3 percent) attempts from the floor and converted 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) shots from the free-throw line. Prowell also added four steals and four assists.

Senior Tyler Parrish notched 11 points for the Warriors. Junior Michael Morgan tallied nine points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. Sophomore Eric English scored four points, sophomore Pavle Mihajlovic finished with three points and freshman Isaiah Curry contributed two points.

Kyle Kilgore powered Dakota State’s offense with 22 points and a 10-of-12 (83.3-percent) shooting clip from the field. Derek Meger poured in 18 points while hitting 8-of-10 (80 percent) shots from the floor. Tanner Heiser and Taylor Zirbel added 16 points and 14 points, respectively. Adam Hofer turned in 13 points and Tanner Heiser also scored in double figures with 12 points.

“They’re a talented group,” Jenkins said. “There is no weak link out there for them.”

The Trojans ran a fluid offense, racking up a total of 28 assists. Heiser dished out 11 assists while Hofer handed out eight assists.

“They did a good job of taking what we gave them,” Jenkins said. “They took their time and ran a good a motion offense. When any mistake happened, they had guys who could step up and make plays for them.”

Dakota State turned in a 42-of-68 (61.8-percent) shooting effort from the field and hit 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) shots from downtown. Waldorf knocked down 33-of-69 (47.8 percent) attempts from the floor and 9-of-25 (36 percent) shots behind the arc.

“Our offense wasn’t the issue,” Jenkins said. “It was really about our defense.”

The Trojans overwhelmed the Warriors in the paint, outscoring them by a 64-36 margin. Dakota State also held a 36-28 advantage on the boards.

The Warriors committed 15 turnovers as the Trojans outscored Waldorf 18-15 in points off turnovers. Dakota State turned the ball over 14 times.

Both teams collected 16 offensive rebounds on the night, but the Trojans captured a 22-16 advantage in second-chance points

Dakota State finished the night 9-of-11 (81.8 percent) from the foul line while Waldorf went 9-of-12 (75 percent) at the charity stripe.

The Trojans led by as many as four points during the opening minutes of the game and held a 12-9 edge with 15 minutes, 6 seconds remaining in the first half.

Both teams traded a pair of baskets and the Warriors remained within three points with 13:26 to go in the opening. Dakota State outscored the Warriors 21-9 during the next 6:46 to lead 37-22 with 6:40 left in the half.

Waldorf put together an 11-2 run, narrowing the deficit to 39-33 with 3:56 to play in the first half. The Warriors pulled to within four and trailed 47-43 at halftime before the Trojans broke away in the second half. Dakota State outscored Waldorf 54-41 in the second half. It was the seventh straight win for the Trojans, who advance to Saturday’s NSAA Tournament semifinal against Mayville State University (17-11).

Brewer and Parrish concluded their careers with the Warriors. Brewer tops the Waldorf school record books in career points (1,803) and rebounds (614) while ranking second in blocked shots (90) behind 2015 graduate Jordan Nelson (92). Parrish ranks eighth among school’s all-time scoring leaders with 613 points. The two seniors helped elevate the program to success throughout their careers and have set the bar high for their teammates who return next season.

“I’m really going to miss [Brewer and Parrish],” Jenkins said. “They have had great careers. I hope our young boys can make it to the next level and make our program better.”