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Hanson Classic filled with intrigue

Like the girls’ event, the Hanson Boys’ Corn Palace Classic provides exciting matchups and opportunities for teams to move up the rankings.

The first game of the event begins at 10 a.m. today at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

Ethan may have the biggest opportunity of the entire event, meeting an established and top-ranked White River program.

At 5:30 p.m. today, the Rustlers (9-1) take on White River (9-1), a team that has won the Class B state championship the last two years, and has made an appearance in the state title game each of the last six years, winning four titles.

After dropping the first game of the season to Hanson, Ethan has won nine straight with its biggest win coming against then-No. 1 James Valley Christian.

“We’ve been lucky enough that we have had opportunities to prove ourselves on the big stage,” Ethan second-year coach Bryce Roth said. “If we see ourselves beating elite teams, we have to prepare and play like one.”

The Rustlers have three starters averaging over 10 points per game. Sophomore Camden Myers leads the way with 20 points, eight rebounds and two blocks per game. Senior Blake Bartscher averages 16 points and nine assists per game, while senior Jace Connor averages 14 points and eight rebounds per game.

Roth said his team has been playing well up to this point in the season, but will have to put together some of its best basketball to beat the state’s top team.

“We’re going to have to play our game on both sides of the ball and stick to our game plan,” he said. “We know the preparation mentally and physically that goes into being a good team. We just have to take that into these big games.”

White River’s lone loss came to Class A No. 2 Pine Ridge. The Tigers fell 52-47 on Dec. 21 and have won five straight since then.

The Parkston Trojans (7-3) have a chance to knock off No. 5 Aberdeen Roncalli (9-1). After beginning the season with five wins, the Trojans are 2-3 in its last five games.

Other ranked teams in Class B competing today are No. 2 Langford Area (8-1), No. 3 James Valley Christian (9-1) and three teams that are receiving votes in the polls — Sanborn Central/Woonsocket (7-2), Sully Buttes (7-1) and Hanson (9-2).

Along with Aberdeen Roncalli, No. 3 Sioux Valley (11-0) and No. 4 St. Thomas More (8-2) are among the top teams competing from Class A.

Hanson Boys’ Corn Palace Classic

All games today at the Corn Palace in Mitchell

10 a.m.: McCook Central Montrose vs. Sisseton

11:30 a.m.: Sanborn Central/Woonsocket vs. Centerville

1 p.m.: Chamberlain vs. Clark/Willow Lake

2:30 p.m.: Parkston vs. Aberdeen Roncalli

4 p.m.: Summit vs. Hanson

5:30 p.m.: White River vs. Ethan

7 p.m.: St. Thomas More vs. Sioux Valley

8:30 p.m.: Langford Area vs. James Valley Christian

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.