Shots were falling early, allowing Shiloh Christian to open up a lead.
The game turned in the third quarter, when the Skyhawks’ defense rose to the occasion.
Shiloh Christian held No. 10-ranked Standing Rock to two field goals in the third quarter and went on to post a 76-53 Region 5 victory over the Warriors on Tuesday night.
“We got our defense going a little bit, got closing out, got some rebounds,” said Shiloh senior forward Jay Wanzek. “Once we got our defense locked in, that’s when we started playing a lot better.”
Leading 37-31 after a tight first half, Shiloh opened the second half with a bucket by Atticus Wilkinson.
Standing Rock countered with a Brently Harrison three-pointer to pull within five at 39-34.
From there, it was all Skyhawks.
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Shiloh allowed only one more Harrison field goal and two Thane Beheler free throws over the next six and a half minutes. The Skyhawks finished the quarter on a 21-4 run, with Kyler Klein draining a three-pointer at the horn to make it 60-38.
“I think they’ve played a lot of games the last couple of weeks, so they were maybe running on tired legs,” Skyhawks coach Brad Miller said. “Normally that’s not going to happen but they played two tournaments back to back so don’t take anything away from them – they’re a good team. I thought our defensive effort was really good tonight.
“We did a pretty good job of contesting their shots. They hit a few, (Brently) Harrison is really good, (Lance) Bradley is a really good shooter, a couple of other guys made some baskets. We had a little more size, but they’re pretty athletic so we were trying to figure out if the size was going to help us or if their athleticism would, but we’re happy with the way we played tonight and I’m sure we’re going to run into them again in the regional tournament.”
“We’ve just got to make sure we close out on them, get a hand up, box out and get rebounds,” said Wanzek, who led the Skyhawks with a game-high 19 points.
The 6-foot-7 Wanzek and 6-6 Wilkinson – who finished with 12 points – got things started in the middle.
“I think our size was a bit of an advantage and we were able to get it in to our guys,” Miller said. “We did have a few turnovers against their press. We have to clean that up a bit. Overall, pretty happy with the way we played.”
Four players finished in double figures for Shiloh – Kyler Klein added 15 points and Carter Englund 15.
“We’ve really got five, guys, maybe even six, that could lead us in scoring any given night and they’ve really shared the ball well,” Miller said. “Hopefully we keep finding the open man.”
“Once we get our passing going, open shots will be there and hopefully we can knock them down,” Wanzek said.
The Skyhawks outscored the Warriors 39-22 in the second half to pull away.
Harrison led Standing Rock with 18 and Bradley finished with 13.
The Skyhawks opened the game on a 9-2 run powered by seven early points by Wanzek and Wilkinson. A 9-4 run to begin the second boosted the lead to 25-16 on an Isaac Emmel three-pointer.
But Standing Rock answered with a 12-1 run with Ryan Weddell hitting a three-pointer to knot the game up at 29-29, followed by a Bradley jumper with a 31-29 Warriors lead just with under two minutes remaining in the first half.
But Shiloh reeled off eight straight points, capped by an Englund three-pointer and a Devan Davis jumper in the lane off an assist by Fagerland to regain the lead going to intermission.
But the second half was all Skyhawks.
Standing Rock (10-2, 3-1 Region 5) is off until Saturday, Feb. 5, when the Warriors will host Garrison.
Shiloh Christian (7-3, 2-0 Region 5) hosts Center-Stanton on Thursday and visits Rugby on Saturday.