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Girls' District 11B a tough place to be for postseason

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sports Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Take a look at the Class B girls' basketball rankings and there are no teams from District 11 listed.

Hanson (18-2), a District 11 member, is receiving votes in the poll and is guaranteed the No. 1 seed in the district tournament heading into the postseason. But the road to the district championship won't be easy for the Beavers, the defending district champs. Of the five teams in the district, four teams have winning records with at least 13 wins.

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"It's going to be a war," said Scotland coach Kevin Janish, whose team is 13-6 and sitting in second place in the district.

"I wouldn't expect anything less from the teams in our districts," Janish said. "Whoever comes out of our district will definitely deserve the trophy."

After Hanson and Scotland, Avon is 15-5, Ethan is 15-4 and Menno is 2-17.

Hanson has not lost a game to any of its district opponents this season. The Beavers' only two losses came to fifth-ranked Class B foe Sanborn Central/Woonsocket and Class A's St. Thomas More, which is ranked second in the state polls.

"We feel really good heading into the tournament because of our progress," Hanson coach Jim Bridge said. " ... I am a little bit surprised where we are but then I am not surprised we knew we had some good kids coming back. We realize that you play the practice season first and now we play the real season with the playoffs, which are what we have been working toward this season."

The Beavers won their first 10 games of the season. During that span, they beat Ethan in overtime 63-60 to open the season and slipped by Avon 53-47 in January. Hanson does not play Scotland during the regular season.

"To be honest, I think with Hanson being where they are, they are definitely the team to beat and they definitely deserve that, but anyone has the chance to win it," said Ethan coach Scott Giblin, whose team will be the fourth seed at the district tournament.

"I don't ever remember having a district where having four losses puts you at the fourth-seed in your district," Giblin said. "I am just really shocked that you go in there with a record like you do and still have to play a first-round game."

Ethan is riding a six-game winning streak heading into the tournament, which begins Saturday. The Rustlers take on Menno, the fifth seed in the tournament, with the winner meeting Hanson Tuesday.

The semifinal matchups and the championship games will be played next week at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

Avon, which will be the third seed in the tournament, has a win streak of four games.

The Pirates last lost to Ethan Feb. 2. Attempts to reach Avon coach Brad Poppe were unsuccessful Tuesday.

"District-wise, this is probably the deepest district that I have been a part of since I have been here at Scotland," Janish said. "It's going to be a battle. Whichever team comes out of the tournament is going to have to play two really good games."

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