Refocused Chamberlain presents balanced attack heading into Class A state tourney

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Jeremy Karll, The Daily Republic, Mitchell, S.D.
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Mar. 17—CHAMBERLAIN — Chamberlain feels it has refound its footing after a three-game losing streak to end the regular season.

It put a damper on a 15-1 start for the Cubs, but now heading into the Class A state tournament, they feel it was a beneficial slip that refocused the team heading into the postseason. They enter the state tournament at 17-4 against Sioux Valley (21-1) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Sanford Premier Center.

"We were able to take the things that happened in those games and adjust," Chamberlain coach Adam Nelson said. "... I think it was more offensively. And when we were struggling offensively, our guys forgot about the defensive end. It snowballed."

Chamberlain sports a balanced attack, with four players scoring in double figures.

Drayton Priebe's 3-point shooting paired with quickness to the basket has resulted in 18.1 points and 4 assists per game. Meanwhile, Sellyck McManus (13.9 ppg/6.8 rpg), Cameron Caldwell (11.4 ppg/5.8 rpg) and Hayden Evans (10 ppg/5.1 rpg) present shooting and an inside presence.

"It's great. It's what makes us kind of special," Nelson said, of Chamberlain's balanced scoring.

As much as the Cubs want to spread the floor to open up opportunities in the paint on offense, they equally want to force teams to hit 3-pointers. It starts by controlling dribble penetration and not allowing easy looks in the paint, which Chamberlain did in a SoDak 16 win over Flandreau.

In the SoDak 16, Caldwell's post defense on the 6-foot-5 Tash Lunday shifted the game early, along with Evans getting early steals. Evans leads the team with 55 steals, while McManus has a team-high 23 blocks and 6.8 boards per game.

"We want teams to have to take contested 3s. And once they take those contested 3s, we have to hold them to one shot," Nelson said. "We can't give teams multiple shots because usually after that first one if they get an offensive rebound, you're going to get an easy put-back or great look from 3."

Sioux Valley has a similarly balanced offense, though Oliver Vincent (24 ppg/5.8 rpg) and Kelton Vincent (16 ppg/5.5 rpg) pace the Cossacks. Parker Puetz and Hayden Ruesink each average 10 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest, as well.

The Cossacks out-rebound teams, 30-24, and score 68 points per game on 52 percent shooting. Meanwhile, opponents score 47 points on 33.2 percent, with five teams being held under 40 points.

"They want the ball back so they can go down and play offense," Nelson said. "We have to be disciplined on the offensive end to take great shots."

The winner faces either Winner or Dakota Valley at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.