South Central looks to make run in tough Class B fieldBONESTEEL — All of the built up excitement and anticipation of attending the Class B state boys’ basketball tournament is here for South Central.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
BONESTEEL — All of the built up excitement and anticipation of attending the Class B state boys’ basketball tournament is here for South Central.
The Cougars, who are attending their first state tournament in 50 years, are the fifth seed in the tournament and play fourth-seeded Potter County in the first round at 1:45 p.m. today at the Barnett Center on Northern State University’s campus in Aberdeen.
Despite Potter County’s undefeated record of 22-0, South Central coach Clayton Steele said today’s matchup should be a competitive one.
“They are a strong team and both teams have played teams that are in the state tournament earlier this year,” said Steele, whose team’s record is 21-2. “We feel like we’re pretty even coming in.”
The Cougars’ two losses were against two teams that are both in the state tournament. Their first loss came against Platte-Geddes, who is in the Class A tournament in Rapid City, and the second was to Viborg-Hurley, who is seeded seventh in the Class B tournament.
“We felt like the game where we were beat by Viborg-Hurley was good for us,” Steele said. “It showed us some things we needed to work on, and now we feel ready. The kids have worked hard and are looking forward to playing (today).
“We’re going to have to be very disciplined on offense and take care of the ball. Our kids have had a lot of experience with close games and good teams, so we feel that is a plus for us.”
South Central earned its spot in the tournament by defeating Ethan 63-62 in the Region 6B tournament, while Potter County beat Sully Buttes in Region 3B. The Battlers snapped Sully Buttes’ eight-year state tournament appearance streak.
South Central senior Tyler Frank said Potter County’s press is going to be challenging to work against.
“We know they are going to be physical and a tough team,” said Frank, who is leading the team in scoring with 17.7 points per game this season. “We’ve been working on getting the press broken and getting up the floor.”
Following Frank in scoring is senior guard Dakota Votaw with 11.4 points per game and junior center Sam Hazen with 11 points per game. Hazen, who is 6-foot-5, leads the team in rebounding with an average of 8.2 rebounds per game.
The Battlers are led by junior Chayce Hall with 14.4 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game this season. Junior Kole Hawkinson is the only other player to average in double-digit scoring figures with 12.3 points per game.
This season, the Cougars averaged 54.1 points per game and allowed their opponents to average 41.9 points per game.
“This group of boys is very level-headed and they are on a mission,” Steele said. “They came close to making it last year, and they came out this year and fulfilled that mission. Now, we have to go out and let the chips fall where they may.”