SPEARFISH, SD – Former Duke Blue Devil basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said that great rivalries are built on a respect for excellence and not hatred. The rivalry between the Sturgis Scoopers and the Spearfish Spartans has lived up to its billing on the gridiron and on the court and that was true once again on Tuesday night. The Scooper boys and girls battled with the Spartans in their first meeting of the season, with Spearfish winning both contests.
Scooper junior forward Ryan Heinert is in his second year at Sturgis Brown High School after transferring from Spearfish in 2022. The basketball standout had the hot hand in the first half for Sturgis, making six of nine shots from the field including four three-pointers and 16 points. The Scoopers shot 52% from the field and led 31-14 at the half.
The Spearfish tandem of senior Ryan Hamilton and junior Dylon Doren got into a rhythm in the third quarter and were responsible for 12 of the Spartans 19 points, cutting the Sturgis lead to just 11 points headed into the fourth.
Spearfish cranked up the defense in the fourth quarter with full court pressure, forcing several Scooper turnovers that the Spartans turned into buckets. Spearfish led 55-54 with 42 seconds left, when Doren stripped the ball from Heinert and took it to the hoop, extending the Spartan lead to 57-54 with just 26 seconds remaining. Heinert got his revenge with 15 seconds left as he hit a leaning three to tie up the contest at 57-57. Spearfish brought the ball down the court quickly to try to win it, but Hamilton was called for an offensive foul with 5.2 seconds on the clock. Heinert got off a desperation shot from 40 feet at the buzzer that hit the rim but bounced away, sending the game into overtime.
In the extra period it was all Spartans as Hamilton took the ball to the hoop and was fouled repeatedly. Hamilton made four of six free throws and a field goal to extend the Spartan lead to 70-64. Ty Ferguson and Heinert both hit three pointers in OT but the points weren’t enough as Spearfish held on for the 73-69 overtime victory.
Sturgis (4-9) was led by Heinert, who canned 32 points with six three-pointers. Ferguson chipped in 12 points. The Scoopers shot 51% from the field and 58% from the charity stripe, with 28 rebounds and 15 turnovers.
Doren dropped in 26 points for Spearfish (7-7). After a scoreless first half, Hamilton ended with 19 points and five boards. Spearfish shot 38% from the field and 72% on free throws, with just five turnovers and 32 rebounds.
In the girls game, Spearfish led Sturgis 24-13 at the half and looked like they would open things up in the second half but the Scoopers cut the Spartan lead to just nine points in the fourth quarter before running out of gas. Spearfish went on an 11-0 run midway through the fourth on their way to a 50-33 victory.
Sturgis (2-11) was led by Tori Williams who had five three-pointers and 18 points. Avreigh Long added nine points. The Scoopers shot 27% from the field and were 1-for-1 from the free throw line. Sturgis committed 16 turnovers and snared 21 rebounds.
Kate Scharf shot 5-for-11 from the field and scored 12 points for Spearfish (9-5). The Spartans shot 38% from the field and 44% from the free throw line, with 30 rebounds and 16 turnovers.
The Scoopers are in action next on Friday night at home, when they host the Hot Springs Bison. Tipoff for the girls game is scheduled for 6:30pm.