Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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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.
HARTFORD -- After getting outplayed by McCook Central/Montrose earlier this season at the Hanson Classic, the Platte-Geddes boys' basketball team wanted its revenge. The Black Panthers fended off a Fighting Cougar fourth-quarter comeback to claim the Region 5A championship 51-47 Tuesday. With the win, Platte-Geddes earned a berth to the Class A state tournament, which is March 14-16 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City. "That's just great satisfaction to take a group that's worked hard and give ourselves an opportunity like this," Platte-Geddes coach Frank Cutler said.
SALEM -- After 33 years of coaching, McCook Central/Montrose boys' basketball head coach Bill Marquardt has decided to call it quits. Marquardt has spent seven years as McCook Central's head coach and five of those years has been under the co-op with Montrose. "I resigned earlier in the year and it's just time," he said. "I've been at it for 33 years and that's enough." The Fighting Cougars went 17-6 this season and won the District 9A title before losing to Platte-Geddes in the Region 5A championship Tuesday.
First-year Mitchell High School boys' basketball coach Tom Young said Monday he's undecided about returning for a second season. Young, in a question-and-answer session with The Daily Republic, said he needs to visit with several people before making a decision. "I always take one year at a time. It was what I did at Mitchell Christian almost every year," he said of his previous coaching job. "I will try to make the right decision for MHS and my family." The Kernels concluded their season with a 59-37 loss Friday against Aberdeen Central.
KIMBALL -- Jesse Taylor has accomplished a feat which no Kimball basketball player has done since 1965. The senior became Kimball High School's all-time leading scorer Thursday during a District 10B basketball game against Mitchell Christian. Taylor broke Ole Olson's record of 1,744 points, which was set over the five-year span 1961-1965, on a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter. "I was told after the game," said Taylor, who now has 1,780 career points. "I didn't know.
HURON -- Behind a strong game from its goalie, the Mitchell Marlins girls' varsity hockey team pulled an upset Friday at the state varsity tournament in Huron at Bergman Arena. The sixth-seeded Marlins got a shutout from goalie Hannah Spates and beat third-seeded Oahe 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the tournament, guaranteeing themselves a top-four finish in the tournament. Marlins forward/ defenseman Kylie Barington scored the Marlins' only goal, coming with 9 minutes, 14 seconds to go in the third period on an assist from forward Haley Stahl.
The fourth-seeded Aberdeen Golden Eagles made a strong defensive showing to defeat third-seeded Mitchell to win the District 3AA elimination game 59-37 Friday night at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. The Kernels end their season with a 5-17 record, ending a 10-year streak of Class AA state high school boys' basketball tournament appearances. "They may go down as one of the worst teams in Kernel history, but I didn't have any eligibility issues, training violations, technical (fouls) or problems with them on the floor this season," Mitchell coach Tom Young said.
WAGNER -- Parkston had one last chance to take the lead after West Central's Madison Kuehl traveled on an inbound pass with 8 seconds left in the game. After a Parkston timeout, senior Krista Radke pulled up for a jumper that was blocked by West Central, securing its 44-43 victory over Parkston in the Region 5A girls' basketball championship game in front of a Parkston-heavy crowd.
After finishing runner-up for the past two seasons, the Mitchell Marlin girls' varsity hockey team is looking to break the trend. "These girls know what it's all about and I'm hoping their experience will pay big dividends for us," head coach Randy Rezac said. "It's a very tight league where anyone can win, but we're going to go for the dance." The Marlins are seeded sixth in the state girls' varsity hockey tournament and will play third-seeded Oahe (11-9-1) in the first round at 3 p.m.