The Sioux Falls Christian boys basketball team started strong, but it was Western Christian (Iowa) that finished ahead, rallying from an 8-point halftime deficit to upend the Chargers 79-68 Thursday night at Sioux Falls Christian.
Gavin Schipper led the home team with 17 points. Teammates Dejay Fykstra and Koln Oppold also scored in double figures, finishing with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Thursday’s bi-state battle featured a pair of ranked teams. Western Christian (19-2) entered as the top ranked in Class 2A (Iowa), while Sioux Falls Christian (11-4) came in as the third-ranked team in Class A.
“We just stopped being aggressive in the second half and they really turned up their aggressiveness,” SFC coach Mike Schouten said. “We just had a really hard time stopping them. We couldn’t get shots to fall and when you can’t stop the other team, things aren’t going to go well.”
The Chargers, who carried a 39-31 lead into the break, led 42-34 early in the third quarter. But the Wolfpack bounced back from their relatively inauspicious start, ripping off a 17-7 run to close out the frame with a 51-49 lead.
Western Christian carried the momentum into the fourth quarter, pushing its lead to double digits before using a few timely free throws down the stretch to ice Sioux Falls Christian’s comeback hopes and close out the 79-68 win.
Jesse Jansma led the visitors with 25 points, while teammate Ben Gesink added 20.
“I think we were just playing so unselfish in the first half,” Sioux Falls Christian guard Lincoln Unruh said. “The refs were letting us play and we were all playing pretty physical. Then in the second half we got into foul trouble and we stopped playing hard – that really hurt us.”
Sioux Falls Christian heads to the Corn Palace in Mitchell on Saturday to take on Aberdeen Roncalli at 1 p.m.
Follow Brian Haenchen on Twitter at @Brian_Haenchen .