Boys basketball: BBE Jaguars weather the storm in Section 6A-South semifinals
With star Kaden Pieper stymied by the Owls' gadget defense, BBE shows its depth in a 58-42 win over Hancock
GLENWOOD — As four-seed Hancock took Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa star Kaden Pieper out of the equation in the first half, Pieper’s teammates weathered the storm to help the Jaguars advance to the Section 6A-South final on Monday.
Top-seeded BBE never trailed in the second half en route to a 58-42 victory over the Owls at Minnewaska High School. The Jaguars play Border West at 7 p.m. Wednesday back at Glenwood.
“The guys stepped up tremendously. I was locked down the first half and I couldn’t get open,” Pieper said. “They’ve grown so much throughout the season. If we would have run into that in the first week of the season, we would’ve lost by 40.”
Hancock utilized a diamond-and-one defense, different than when the Owls lost to the Jaguars 76-59 on March 3.
Jackson and Jared Koehl and Rylan Meierding were tasked with defending Pieper. They held Pieper, a senior guard, to two points in the first half.
“You have to be a pest on a great player — you have to be in his grill and try to get in his head,” Hancock head coach Cory Bedel said. “I felt the kids just did a great job. Second half, (BBE) got us out of our rhythm.”
With Pieper held to two points, senior guard Brady Schwinghammer and junior guard/forward Luke Dingmann guided the Jaguars to a 27-23 halftime lead as BBE finished on a 12-2 run.
“We push other people to get going,” Schwinghammer said. “(Pieper) can’t do everything. Other people got to get going.”
Dingmann scored nine of his 13 points in the first half and Schwinghammer scored eight of his 13. Sophomore guard Hayden Sobiech added a pair of 3-pointers.
“The positive is, we found a way to have some success without Kaden pouring in points,” BBE head coach Chris Anderson said. “That goes to show the depth of our team and the capabilities of our squad.
“It was great for our guys to see that because I’m sure we’ll see it again. Every team’s goal is to take Kaden Pieper away. I like the way we responded in the second half.”
Pieper finished with a game-high 20 points, going 5 of 15 from the field and 10 of 11 from the free-throw line. Twelve of his points came in the final five minutes of the contest. All 10 of his free throws came in that stretch.
“Whether I score two points or 20 points, I was just ready to do whatever I needed to do to get my team to win,” Pieper said. “(I just needed) to stay cool. I’ve put in thousands of hours in the gym and also just (needed) to trust my work.”
BBE 58, Hancock 42
Hancock (13-13) 27 31 — 58\
BBE (23-4) 23 19 — 42
HANCOCK - Scoring: Jackson Koehl 15, Chase Evink 13, Jared Koehl 7, Brayden Kisgen 5, Hudson Ver Steeg 2 … 3-point shots: Kisgen 1 … Rebound leader: n/a … Assist leader: n/a … Steal leader: n/a ... Block leader: n/a
BBE - Scoring: Brady Schwinghammer 13, Luke Dingmann 13, Kaden Pieper 20, Jamison Reed 2, Hayden Sobiech 7, Luke Illies 2 , Tanner Shelton 1 … 3-point shots: Schwinghammer 3, Sobiech 2 … Rebound leaders: Dingmann 13, Pieper 9 … Assist leader: Dingmann 7 … Steal leader: Pieper 3 ... Block leaders: Sobiech 1, Dingmann 1