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Titans boys open season 1-1

The Tea Area High School boys’ basketball team began their 2023-24 season on Friday, Dec. 8 when they traveled to Dakota Valley. 

The Titans hung tight with the Panthers through most of the game but Dakota Valley managed to pull away and get the 68-58 victory. 

“Overall, this game looked like your typical first game of the year. We did some things poorly, but we also showed flashes of the type of team that I know we will be by the end of the season,” said Titan head coach Drew Weber. “We were disappointed with the result for sure, but we can easily recognize the issues that cost us in this one and we will work hard in practice to shore those areas up. Dakota Valley is never an easy game and it shows once again how incredibly deep our region will be.”

Against the Panthers, Sam Almas led all scorers with 32 points in the game. Almas hit four three pointers and grabbed four rebounds, had two assists and two steals. Jessen Wiebenga finished with 16 points, grabbed six rebounds, and had two assists and one steal. Marshall Smythe had five points, one rebound, three assists, and two steals. Brenner Konrad had two points, three rebounds, one assist and three steals. Garrett Wiebenga had two points, two rebounds and Grif Wiebenga finished with one point, five rebounds, and one steals. Boston Wilemssen had six rebounds, two assists and led the team in steals with four in the game. 

The Titans held their home opener on Monday, Dec. 11 when they hosted Tri-Valley. 

Taking just a two point advantage with them into the locker room at the half, Tea Area outscored Tri-Valley 22-5 in the third and 10-7 in the fourth to get the 58-36 victory. 

“We said on the very first day of practice that we were going to be a team that embraced playing ugly and this game was about as ugly as it gets,” said Weber. “We are clearly a defensive-minded team and with that comes suspect offense at times. What I am proud of our boys for is that they did not let their offensive struggles in the first half dictate their defensive energy.”

For the Titans, Almas led all scorers with 22 points. He also recorded a double-double, pulling down ten rebounds. He had a team high five steals and recorded two assists. 

J. Wiebenga finished with 12 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal. Willemssen had seven points, five rebounds, one assist and three steals. Keeton Newborg finished with six points, one rebound, three assists and three steals. Garret Wiebenga finished with five points, two rebounds and Smythe, Gavin Johnson, and Grif Wiebenga each provided two points. Smythe also had three rebounds and two assists. Grif Wiebenga had one rebound, one assist and three steals. Konrad pulled down six rebounds for the Titans and had two assists and four steals. 

“We played a great second half and showed that we have the ability to be a pretty good all-around team, but it’s going to take us a bit to click,” said Weber. “We do know that our defense and rebounding will give us a chance to win each night out.”

The Titans will travel to Dell Rapids on Friday, Dec. 15 for a 7 p.m. game. On Tuesday, Dec. 19 the Titans will host Brookings in double header action with the Titans girls. The boys are scheduled to tip-off at 8 p.m. 

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