Hart, Voss important parts of Wesleyan basketballAmanda Hart and Jalen Voss will be honored by the Great Plains Athletic Conference today. No official announcement has been made by league officials, but Hart will be named to the all-GPAC second team. Voss is being named honorable mention and will earn co-freshman of the year honors. Their coaches confirmed the honors Tuesday night, and it will be officially announced today by the GPAC.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Amanda Hart and Jalen Voss will be honored by the Great Plains Athletic Conference today.
No official announcement has been made by league officials, but Hart will be named to the all-GPAC second team. Voss is being named honorable mention and will earn co-freshman of the year honors. Their coaches confirmed the honors Tuesday night, and it will be officially announced today by the GPAC.
Hart and Voss are both underclassmen and will be playing large roles for the Dakota Wesleyan basketball programs the next few years.
Hart just finished her sophomore season and led NAIA Division II women’s basketball players in 3-point field goals made with 104. She also led the NAIA in 3-pointers made per game at 3.36 and was first on the team, averaging 11.4 points per game.
The Tiger women finished the season one win over .500 and had their second winning season in the past eight years. Jason Christensen, the women’s second-year head coach, said Hart was a nice piece of the puzzle in the team’s turnaround from six wins to 16.
Hart, who made 104 of 334 3-pointers attempted this season, is an Alexandria native who used to play against Christensen while he was coaching the Stickney/Mount Vernon girls’ basketball team. When Christensen took the job at Wesleyan, Hart was already committed to play for the Tigers.
“At times this year, we did struggle offensively,” Christensen said, “and if we didn’t have Amanda, we would have definitely struggled. She had a lot of big 3-pointers at key times for us this year.”
Christensen said his team’s goals this year were to make the GPAC postseason tournament and have a winning record. Both goals were achieved, and now the team is looking to an even brighter future.
Next year, Christensen said he wants his team to qualify for the NAIA national tournament.
“We have to figure out how to get four of five more wins,” said Christensen, whose team will also be represented on the all-GPAC list by sophomore guard Taylor Piper, a Mitchell native. “If you get to 20 wins, usually you get in the national tournament.”
While the DWU women saw a large improvement in their record from two years ago, the Tiger men saw a significant drop off.
The Tiger men went from a 24-win, NAIA national tournament season in 2010-11 to a team that didn’t make the GPAC postseason tournament this year. The Tigers finished 15-15 overall and 7-13 in GPAC play.
Coach Shane Murphy, who also finished his second year at DWU, said many of the team’s struggles during the season were because of its young, inexperienced roster. The Tigers had several transfer players and freshmen on the roster, but the one who contributed the most was Voss.
Voss was second on the team at 9.9 points per game and first with 5.8 rebounds per game. He started all 30 of the Tigers’ games.
In one game late in the season, Voss was unsure whether he could start because of a large lump on his eye from a fall he had taken just days prior in a conference game at the Corn Palace. When he took the floor, the 6-foot-7, 265-pounder was the most intimidating player on the court.
“Jalen was definitely a big sign for us,” Murphy said. “I saw him in the summertime right after I got the job at DWU, and I knew from the first time we saw him play, we would go after him. He was definitely worth all the hours (of recruiting).”
Along with Voss, Tigers guard Mike Lee will be on the all-GPAC list. Lee, who led the team at 13.3 points per game, is a second-team selection.
n The Mitchell girls’ basketball team is something special this year.
The Kernels are ranked No. 1 and are on a 15-game winning streak. They have one loss and are gunning for a state title this year.
With Kerri Young and Macy Miller, Mitchell has the two best girls’ basketball players in the state this year. The Kernels play an up-tempo style of basketball.
Yet, the interest the girls’ basketball program has this season doesn’t reflect their success.
On Monday night, the Kernels used a dominant second half to stomp Huron 70-38 in the first round of the District 3AA tournament. The crowd was less than stellar.
All season long, the Mitchell girls’ basketball team hasn’t had the attendance the Mitchell boys have seen. Sure, it’s Gary Munsen’s final year as the boys’ head coach, but for a team that has a 20-1 record, there should be more support in the stands for the Mitchell girls.
Mitchell girls’ basketball coach Wes Morgan was hesitant to talk about the attendance at the Corn Palace during his team’s home games this season. But he finally admitted crowds have not been as large as what he hopes they could be.
“In my personal opinion, I wish people would come out and watch the kids play,” Morgan said. “The girls play the game the right way.
“It hurts your feelings when people say, ‘I don’t like girls’ basketball.’ We’re playing at a pretty high level. I just wish people would come out and see them. They’re worth coming out and watching.”
The Mitchell girls, who have struggled each year from 2005 until last year, could qualify for their second consecutive state tournament on Thursday. The Kernels host Aberdeen Central at 5:45 p.m. at the Corn Palace for a state tournament berth. If Mitchell wins, it will be the final home game of the season.
Come watch them play.
n Congratulations to Brent Havlik, Mitchell’s 170-pound senior wrestler who won his third straight Class A state wrestling title over the weekend in Aberdeen.
Havlik shares the honor of being one of Mitchell’s two three-time state champions with Doyle Everson.
Everson won championships for the Kernels in 1980, 1982 and 1983, and the two share a connection unknown by many. Havlik’s first state title came in 2008 as a sophomore, when he beat West Central’s Tim Weber 4-2 in overtime in Rapid City. Everson was matside as an official at that state tournament.
Although he didn’t referee the match, Everson said he remembers Havlik’s first state title.
“It’s pretty tough to be a three-time state champion, and it’s a heck of a feat for Brent to do that,” said Everson, who has refereed wrestling for about 15 years and was the head official at last year’s Class A state tournament in Sioux Falls.