Hortsman, Jackrabbits looking to defend Summit League titleWinner native Zach Horstman agreed he had his most memorable individual game for South Dakota State earlier this year.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Winner native Zach Horstman agreed he had his most memorable individual game for South Dakota State earlier this year.
In early February, Horstman had a collegiate career-high 13 points in the Jackrabbits’ blowout win over UMKC. He hit all five of his shots, including 3-of-3 behind the three-point line, in front of the home crowd at Frost Arena in Brookings.
But Horstman is quick to change the subject away from himself, explaining that a much better memory was when his team won the Summit League postseason tournament last March for an automatic berth to the NCAA national tournament.
“It was unbelievable,” the 6-foot-6 sophomore guard/forward said. “To be from a small town in South Dakota and be a part of the national tournament, and be the first SDSU men’s team that made it in, that’s the best memory I have so far.”
Today, Horstman and the Jackrabbits play in the first round of the Summit League tournament. The top-seeded Jackrabbits (22-9, 13-3 Summit) play eighth-seeded IUPUI (6-25, 1-15 Summit) at 6 p.m. at Sioux Falls Arena.
This season Horstman, a sophomore, saw time in 19 games and averaged 2.4 points and 1.4 rebounds per game. In 2011, Horstman was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year and the co-Mr. Basketball award winner as a senior in high school. He was a two-time all-state selection, going on to play in 25 games off the bench as a freshman for the Jackrabbits.
The Jackrabbits won the Summit League postseason tournament last year as the No. 2 seed. They claimed a 52-50 overtime win over Western Illinois in the championship, propelling them into the NCAA tournament, where they were knocked out in the first round by Baylor.
This year SDSU started the season 11-6, which included a 74-71 loss to in-state and league rival University of South Dakota on Jan. 5. That game helped turn the season around, Horstman said.
From there, the Jackrabbits went on an eight-game win streak and claimed the league title.
“It’s really been an up and down year,” Horstman said. “After the USD loss, we started playing really well. I think we have some consistency going into the tournament.”
The USD men (10-19, 5-11 Summit) head into the Summit League tournament as the seventh seed and play second-seeded Western Illinois (21-7, 13-3 Summit) at 8:30 p.m. today. This is the first season USD is eligible for the postseason tournament since moving to Division I.
“It’s going to be a wild environment,” Horstman said. “With USD being there and (North Dakota State) having a really good year, I think it’s going to be a great tournament.”
SDSU is led by Summit League player of the year Nate Wolters. The senior guard who has been mentioned in NBA mock drafts is averaging 22.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.
After the Jackrabbits and Coyotes take the court Saturday in first-round action, the semifinals of the tournament are played Monday and the championship is at 8 p.m. Tuesday. All games are at Sioux Falls Arena.
SDSU women gunning for 5-peat at tourney
In each year it’s been eligible, the South Dakota State University women’s basketball team has claimed the Summit League postseason tournament championship.
The Jackrabbits have won all 12 of their postseason tournament games the past four years, claiming the title as a No. 1 seed twice and the No. 3 seed twice.
At noon today at Sioux Falls Arena, head coach Aaron Johnston’s squad holds the top seed and plays eighth-seeded Oakland in the first round. SDSU (22-7, 14-2 Summit) is going for a five-peat. Oakland is 9-19 overall and 3-13 in league play.
“This has been a special team,” Johnston said on Jackrabbit Insider, an SDSU sports-based show. “Just look at the regular season, and they were just a couple wins from being really special. … We beat teams that will be in the NCAA tournament. This has been a great group to work with. They’re streaking and peaking at the right time.”
The Jackrabbits, who have won eight of their last nine games, are led by Megan Waytashek and Ashley Eide. Waytashek, a sophomore guard/forward, is averaging 14.3 points and 4.3 rebounds and Eide, a senior guard/forward, is at 13.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
While the Jacks are looking to claim another Summit title, the USD women are looking for their first. The Coyotes are the third seed in the tournament and play North Dakota State University at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
USD (15-14 overall, 10-6 Summit) is led by Nicole Seekamp at 13.5 points per game. Tempestt Wilson averages 12.9 points and Polly Harrington is at 11.1 points per game.