Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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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.
BONESTEEL -- Randy DeWolf, of Burke, is ready to make the trip to Aberdeen Thursday. DeWolf, who has been a part of the Burke school system for more than 40 years, will travel to support the South Central boys' basketball team as it plays in the Class B state tournament for the first time in more than 50 years. "I've been involved in the community in athletics for a long time and everybody is really excited," said DeWolf, who was a coach for the Burke boys' basketball team for 10 years since moving to Burke in 1968.
RAPID CITY -- After the past three years, the Mitchell Kernels have made an impression in the state girls' basketball community. The Kernels have played their way to a seventh-place finish and two state championship appearances after missing the Class AA state tournament in 2010. The recent success of the girls' basketball team is something head coach Wes Morgan, who's been at the helm of the program since the 2008-2009 season, can hold his head high about. "I'm proud of it. I'm proud of the kids for buying into what we're telling them," he said.
RAPID CITY -- Kerri Young has accomplished nearly everything a high school basketball player can. The senior has won a state championship with the Mitchell Kernels girls' basketball team in 2012, earned all-tournament, state and conference accolades and is the school's all-time girls' basketball leading scorer. In her senior season, she crept up on another record and passed it Friday night.
RAPID CITY -- A big defensive effort secured the Mitchell High School girls' basketball team a spot in the Class AA state championship game, beating second-seeded Sioux Falls Washington 46-37 Friday night in Rapid City. With the Warriors trailing 41-37 with just more than two minutes to play, Mitchell pressured Washington's offense and forced two late turnovers. "Those two turnovers at the end were huge and if they get a good look at the basket, it's a different game," said Mitchell coach Wes Morgan, whose team gets a chance to defend its title at 9 p.m.
RAPID CITY -- Mitchell's Kerri Young is closing in on another Mitchell High School basketball record. The senior is three points away from breaking the school's all-time career points record, which is held by Mike Miller, who plays for the NBA's Miami Heat.
RAPID CITY -- The Mitchell High School girls' basketball team is one step closer to defending its state title. The third-seeded Kernels defeated sixth-seeded Rapid City Central 54-43 Thursday night at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. "People think you're going to come blow out teams, but this is the state tournament," Mitchell coach Wes Morgan said. "Teams want to win and (Rapid City Central) is a senior-oriented team and they are pretty darn good." The Kernels defeated the Cobblers 77-38 in the first meeting of the season on Dec.
It's state tournament time for the Mitchell Marlin boys' varsity hockey team and coach John Lord says anything can happen. In the past three seasons, the Marlins have come out with a higher place than they've been seeded. Last season, Mitchell was the third seed and won its second state boys' varsity title in team history. This time around, the Marlins go into the tournament as the seventh seed, ahead of only Aberdeen. Mitchell is set to play second-seeded Sioux Falls in its opening game of the boys' varsity state hockey tournament at 3:30 p.m.
The Sanborn Central/Woonsocket girls' basketball team is heading into the Class B state tournament with something new this year. The Blackhawks, who were in their first year as a cooperative a year ago, played their way to fourth place in last year's state tournament. Every girl on this year's squad contributed to that fourth-place finish last season, giving the team a wealth of postseason familiarity. "It's not the first time being there for any of our players," co-head coach Rob Baruth said.
Cornelius grinned from ear to ear when he was announced the state's best mascot Tuesday in online voting conducted by USA Today High School Sports. The Mitchell High School mascot beat out four other South Dakota mascots to claim the crown, including the Rapid City Central Cobbler, Sturgis Scooper, Newell Irrigator and Sioux Valley Cossack. Cornelius faced his stiffest competition from the Irrigator at the end of the race, which began Feb. 25 and lasted eight days, but he shucked and popped his way through. Cornelius received 78,256 votes, surpassing the Irrigator's 75,580 votes.