Savages outlast EV Bear attack

Sigourney used transition opportunities and scored points in the paint to help stave off the Bears in a 47-29 win over EV.

Sigourney came into their matchup with English Valleys on November 30 fresh off the heels of a defensive battle, beating Keota 58-47 earlier in the week. They knew they’d be facing another defensive test when they took on EV and survived several surges by the Bears, pulling away late for a 47-29 win.

The Savages put together an early run, making it seem like it’d be a quick and easy night, pulling ahead 15-4 after the first quarter ended. Transition points played a factor for the Savages, trying to beat the Bears down the court before they could set up their stifling defense. In one instance, Spencer Magill tipped away a pass near half-court and took it all the way, rising for a one-handed slam.

“We did some good things early defensively which allowed us to get some easy baskets and we moved better off the ball,” Sigourney coach Mitch Eslick said. “I thought EV played harder than we did at times and they took away some things we wanted to do.”

The lead slimmed down in the second quarter as EV knocked down a couple big threes and pulled out some important defensive stops. Sigourney counter-punched after EV made their run, holding onto a 22-14 lead going into the half.

“I told them that EV is a young team and if you let them hang around too long, weird things can happen,” Eslick said. “They had a chance to bury them in the first half and I told them they’d have another chance in the second half.”

The Bears closed the gap even more, hitting a couple shots to close the lead to three, putting the pressure on Sigourney to keep scoring. EV would get it within one before turnovers led to a scoring drought for much of the remainder of the quarter, while Sigourney would respond with a handful of points to go up 30-23 to end the quarter.

“EV played harder and crashed the glass harder in the middle of the game,” Eslick said. “We started out great but then we didn’t match their intensity.”

A couple minutes of game play later and the Bears were within three points after knocking down some more buckets. They got within one again, the second time in the half, shifting some of the momentum over to the visiting side and putting the pressure back on Sigourney. The Savages kept up their attack, leading to free throws to extend their slim lead. They would get even more breathing room as EV hid a roadblock and with just over three minutes to go, the Savages led by 10.

“We missed some free throws in the middle of the game, but we made some late, which helped us close it out, and that’s huge,” Eslick said. “We’ll keep improving as more guys get more reps. I liked how we finished, they didn’t leave any doubt in the end.”

More transition buckets, attacking the glass and made free throws increased the lead and led to some more empty possessions for the Bears. Sigourney would close it out with the final possession to win 47-29.

Dustin Haines led all scorers with 22 points on 50 percent shooting and lead the team with nine rebounds to go along with two steals. Magill had 14 points, six steals, four rebounds and two assists while Eric Johnson chipped in with eight points and Kyle Weber and Ben House combined for the final three.

The Savages went on to host Belle Plaine on December 4 while the Bears would host the Eagles.