STURGIS, SD – The Sturgis Scooper girls basketball squad lost a hard-fought matchup with the Hill City Rangers, 51-37, while the Scooper boys used a strong third quarter to defeat Hill City, 62-47 on Tuesday night at West Gym.
The Hill City Ranger girls, led by senior post player Maggie Taylor, jumped out to a 12-2 first quarter lead behind Taylor’s eight points. The Rangers led 21-9 at intermission.
Scooper sophomore Tori Williams heated up in the third quarter and helped Sturgis outscore Hill City 14-10 to cut into the Ranger lead. Hill City led 31-23 headed into the fourth quarter.
Sturgis cut the Ranger lead to six to start the fourth quarter but Hill City found their groove, with Taylor and Lillie Ross combining for 12 points to seal the 51-37 win.
Taylor finished with 17 points and 18 rebounds for Hill City, who improves to 11-2 on the season. The Rangers shot 38% from the field and 61% from the charity stripe, committing 13 turnovers and grabbing 39 rebounds for the game.
Williams dropped in two three-pointers and 17 points for Sturgis, who fell to 2-6 on the year. The Scoopers shot 26% from the field, 61% from the free throw line, snared 18 rebounds and had 13 turnovers in the contest.
In the boys game, the Scoopers and the Rangers traded long bombs throughout the first half, with Sturgis taking a 19-13 lead after the first quarter. Hill City junior Alex Stoeckmann dropped in nine points in the second quarter and the Rangers trailed Sturgis 29-28 headed into halftime.
“It’s nothing about X’s and O’s,” said Scooper head coach Dan Skinner. “We go into that locker room and tell the boys that we have to step up and play harder, we have to do all the things we talk about and we just got to do it at a better level. Leaders, we need you guys carrying us, we need you guys paving the way for us offensively and defensively.”
The Scoopers followed their coach’s advice and held Hill City to just four points in the third quarter and led the Rangers 49-32 headed into the fourth quarter. Sturgis held strong throughout the fourth quarter and cruised to a 62-47 victory.
“We preach aggressive mindset and aggressive mentality,” Skinner said. “We will never stop doing that as long as I’m around. We embrace tough things around here. That’s my message to the boys. When the hard comes, face it head on and stand up to it.”
Sturgis shot 43% from the field and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. The Scoopers had only eight turnovers and 31 rebounds. Ryan Heinert had a great night for Sturgis, dropping in 30 points and grabbing seven boards. Teigen Wormstadt chipped in 11 points for the Scoopers, who improved to 3-5 on the year.
Hill City was led by Stoeckmann with 21 points and five rebounds. Devin Buehler added 16 points and eight boards for the Rangers. Hill City shot 32% from the field and made only three of 15 free throws for 20%. The Rangers had nine turnovers and 23 rebounds, dropping to 8-5 on the year.
The Scooper girls are in action next on Thursday as they travel to St. Thomas More. Both the boys and girls travel to Red Cloud to take on the Crusaders on Friday.