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Blackhawks, Beavers clash in first round of state tournament

Hanson's Kendra Cheeseman goes up for a shot during the region championship game against Dakota Christian on Saturday at the Corn Palace.

The Class B girls' state basketball tournament begins today in Huron as eight teams seek a title.

Two of the eight teams are from the Mitchell area and will face off in the first round of competition.

Sanborn Central/Woonsocket (21-2) earned the fourth seed for the tournament and will take on fifth-seeded Hanson (20-3) today at 2:45 p.m. at the Huron Arena.

"(Normally) you get to the state tournament and don't know a whole lot about who you play," Hanson head coach Jim Bridge said. "It does help to know a little bit about who you're playing."

The team teams have squared off this season with Hanson coming out on top 67-46 on Jan. 23 in Forestburg.

"That was quite a while ago," Sanborn Central/Woonsocket coach Tim McCain said about the game. "We've had 12 wins in a row since that point. I think our girls know that we can play with them; we've kind of grown the last half of the year."

"I really don't know if the first game is a true test of what the game will be like," Bridge said.

Both coaches know that even as the fourth and fifth seeds their teams have a shot to win it all.

"It's a balanced field," McCain said. "I think it's wide open for anybody to step up."

Bridge added, "To me it looks like whoever shows up for three days can get the job done. It looks pretty wide open."

Both teams know that even the eighth-seeded Parker has a chance.

"I know how dangerous they are," Bridge said. Hanson defeated Parker 72-65 on Jan. 12 in Parker.

"Parker has had a lot of losses to (Class) A schools," McCain added. "Even though they have a few losses they've definitely played some good competition."

Five of the eight teams competing this weekend enter the tournament with at least 20 wins.

"There are definitely good basketball teams there," McCain said. "I'd give our team a chance in every game that we play."

Bridge mentioned that it is unusual that Hanson is the fifth seed after a 20-win season.

Hanson hopes that its only senior, Ashley Robinson, can continue her success and help lead the team through to the championship.

"With her being our only senior we've relied on her a lot," Bridge said. "She's done a tremendous job. Really the key to our team at this point has been the fact that everybody around her has started to play better."

Bridge hopes that the Beavers' younger players can play to their potential to give the team a shot.

"I don't think they all have to show up and play Michael Jordan-type performances," he added. "They just need to do what they're capable of doing."

McCain hopes that Sanborn Central/Woonsocket can continue to get production from different faces from the Blackhawks' lineup.

"We've been led by Shelby Selland all year," he said. "She's kind of our defensive leader, (but) we've had girls that have stepped up a lot during the year."

Among the other players that McCain expects to do well are Rachelle Moore at the point and the team's 3-point specialist, Marissa Weber.

"We're going to go out like we do every night," McCain said. "We going to play hard and at the end of the game we're going to know that we've given it our all."

Bridge seems to share the same mindset stating, "I'm just going to be happy if we do what we're capable of doing. If we can just come and be ourselves we'll see where things fall."

Bridge also mentioned that he hopes to get the chance to sit back and watch the tournament more so than he has in the past.

"I just want to try and enjoy it," he said. "Sometimes you work so hard to get here. Winning would be great but it's not the end of the world.

"(We can) get caught up in things that are just a game. I just want to take it all in and enjoy it."

Class B girls' basketball pairings and seeds

1 p.m. -- #1 Summit (21-2) vs. #8 Parker (16-7)

2:45 p.m. -- #4 Sanborn Central/Woonsocket (21-2) vs. #5 Hanson (20-3)

7 p.m. -- #2 Sully Buttes (21-2) vs. #6 Edgemont (18-4)

8:45 p.m. -- #3 Estelline (19-3) vs. #6 Faith (20-3)