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Howard upsets White River to punch ticket to title game

Craig Wollman
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Howard is heading to the state ‘B’ boys championship game. The Tigers of Howard defeated the Tigers of White River 48-42 on Friday night in the semifinal round.

From top to bottom, the game was pretty even. Both teams shot 37% from the floor, both scored 14-points from the charity stripe, and both had six-points off of turnovers. Howard dominated the rebounding category, however, finishing +14 on the boards. Ten offensive rebounds in the contest for Howard.

This is the first time that the Howard boys basketball team has been to the state championship game since 1995. They haven’t won a state boys title since 1964.

“It’s indescribable. Can’t ask for anything more from my guys. The way they responded after falling behind 8-0 right away. It took us a while for us to get use to the pace of play. We knew they were going to pressure us, but it’s hard to simulate that in practice, you know, until you actually see it out there on the court,” explained Howard head coach Nick Koepsell. “It took us a while to settle in, but just really happy for the guys, happy for our team, our town, and everyone, our school – it’s just awesome.”

Carson Hinker led Howard in scoring with 11-points. Kolt Koepsell put up 10-points and led the team with 15 rebounds. Taiden Hoyer and Luke Koepsell also scored 10-points for Howard in the game.

“Luke and Kolton get a lot of recognition, but we’ve got good players up and down the roster,” coach Koepsell told. “We’ve got guys who don’t get to play, who are good too. Those guys are capable of big games, they’ve done it in the past, and we need one more tomorrow.”

Up next is the ‘B’ boys title game. Howard will play either Castlewood or De Smet on Saturday night at 7:45 pm CT

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.