Sen. Thune at Class B state tourney for third straight yearABERDEEN — For Sen. John Thune, it makes sense to come to the Class B state boys’ basketball tournament.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
ABERDEEN — For Sen. John Thune, it makes sense to come to the Class B state boys’ basketball tournament.
The annual tournament allows Thune to watch high quality basketball, come back to his roots and interact with South Dakotans.
“I’ve always liked the ‘B’ tournament,” said Thune, a Murdo native. “It’s a lot of our smaller communities across South Dakota and that’s where I grew up. It’s just a great tradition and a great heritage that we have here with these small towns, and they really support.
“It’s a great basketball atmosphere, so it’s fun to take in, and it gives me a chance to talk to a lot of people from South Dakota.”
This is Thune’s third straight year attending the Class B state tournament and he loves seeing the runs, upsets and surprises.
“It’s been sort of fun watching (White River) have their run, and some of the new schools like South Central,” he said. “They haven’t been here in a long time and it’s really neat to see some of the communities of Bonesteel, Burke and Fairfax have a shot at the state tournament.”
Of Bonesteel, Burke and Fairfax, the last school to make the state tournament was Burke in 1959.
“There are always stories like that and that’s what makes South Dakota special,” Thune said.
On the first day of the state tournaments, seven of the total 12 games across the state were upsets. Upsets continued to happen in Friday’s games as another top-seeded team fell. In Class AA, fifth-seeded Brandon Valley knocked off Sioux Falls Roosevelt 57-51.
“I’ve seen some of the teams from all classes play this year, and there’s some really high quality basketball here in South Dakota,” said Thune, who declined to predict state tournament winners. “On any given night, any team can win and we’ve already seen some upsets in these tournaments here this year.”
Thune said he feels fortunate to be able to attend so many athletic events throughout the year, giving him an opportunity to meet many South Dakotans from all around the state.
“This time of the year I try to make it to as many of the state tournaments as I can,” he said. “Some of the communities that are represented at the state Bs, for example, are harder to get to sometimes. I don’t see them as often, so I see a lot of people from those communities at an event like this. It makes sense for many reasons to be at this tournament.”