Most Class A tourney teams new from last yearWATERTOWN — Of the eight teams competing at the Class A girls’ state basketball tournament in Watertown this weekend, only two are consecutive state qualifiers.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
WATERTOWN — Of the eight teams competing at the Class A girls’ state basketball tournament in Watertown this weekend, only two are consecutive state qualifiers.
Clark/Willow Lake and Pine Ridge are the two schools that competed in the Class A state tournament last year. Pine Ridge finished sixth last year and Clark/Willow Lake was seventh.
The other six teams are new from a year ago, with several of them making their first trip to state in quite some time.
For Aberdeen Roncalli and Harrisburg, this weekend is their first taste of state tournament action ever. Chamberlain had a seven-year absence from state. Before the Cubs took the court Thursday night against Pine Ridge, Cubs coach Jeff Neuharth talked about how the school is making its third-ever trip to state in girls’ basketball.
“Our last year here was 2005, so it’s exciting for the program, the girls on the team and for the community,” Neuharth said. “We had a nice send-off and pep rally and we have a good crowd. Anytime you haven’t been in the tournament in a while and you get back, it’s a lot of excitement.”
Chamberlain also qualified in 1990. Last year’s Class A state champion, St. Thomas More, did not qualify for this year’s tournament.
Sioux Falls Christian, which lost to Harrisburg in the first round, made its last state tournament appearance in 1986. West Central last made the state tournament in 2008, while Spearfish is a four-time state qualifier, three of which came in Class AA. The last time Spearfish last made the Class A tournament was in 1986.
“There are a lot of quality teams here who haven’t been here for a while,” Neuharth said. “I think that is good for South Dakota girls’ basketball. It’s good to get new teams in here and we hope to be a team who continuously comes back.”