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MONTROSE — With a smile on her face, Morgan Koepsell is soaking in her senior season on the hardwood. And she has plenty of reason to smile. The 6-foot-2 versatile forward is averaging a double-double for the second straight season while leading McCook Central/Montrose to an 11-1 record. "It's a really good time," Koepsell said. "Becoming a leader has been big for me. I'm kind of shy and quiet sometimes. ... I realized I needed to step up."
TYNDALL — In a way, the first game of the season has defined the Bon Homme boys basketball team's season thus far. The Cavaliers, who went 14-8 last year, hosted Vermillion on Dec. 8 and earned an eye-catching 51-50 win. Bon Homme found a winning blueprint against the Tanagers, holding Vermillion standout A.J. Plitzuweit, who is averaging more than 30 points a game, to a season-low 13 points.
After Mackenzie Miller scored five unanswered points to put the Mitchell High School girls basketball team ahead 30-27 in the third quarter, Brandon Valley head coach Mark Stadem called a timeout. It ended up being a perfect break for the No. 5-ranked Lynx, who responded with a quick 8-0 run. Brandon Valley pushed the second-half onslaught to a 18-4 margin to run away with a 55-44 Eastern South Dakota Conference victory over the Kernels on Tuesday at the Corn Palace.
Two Mitchell High School guards have handled their move to South Dakota as well as they handle a basketball. Derek and Tayler Factor have each seen plenty of playing time on the Mitchell High School varsity basketball teams this season. Together, they are embracing a brand new town, school and team. "I was really excited about it," Tayler said. "It's a new team and new people. It's been pretty good. I'm getting to know everyone still. We've gotten closer as a team and a group."
BROOKINGS — Four games into the conference season, Macy Miller is back where she wants to be: atop the Summit League. The Mitchell native leads the conference in scoring with an average of 17.9 points per game. She's done much of the heavy lifting for the Jackrabbits, who currently sit in second place at 4-0, just behind South Dakota (5-0) in the conference standings. SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said Miller, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee on Dec. 9, 2016, is back to playing like she did before the injury.
CORSICA — Off to an impressive 9-1 start, the Corsica-Stickney girls basketball team is starting to turn the corner. Ten games into the season, the Jaguars have already surpassed last year's win total as the team went 8-13 in the 2016-17 season. Taking a step forward has been the goal for the Jaguars and head coach Lorisa Broughton said the team is benefitting from both depth and experience.
Kathleen Juffer finished second in two races for the University of South Dakota women's swimming and diving team in a dual against Omaha on Jan. 12 in Omaha, Nebraska. Juffer, a Wagner native, took second in the 100-yard backstroke and 200 backstroke, finishing behind teammate Sabrina Sabadeanu both times. In the 100 backstroke, Juffer finished with a time of 1 minute, 3 seconds, while recording a time of 2:10.39 in the 200.
BROOKINGS — Jason Christensen has seen Macy Miller take over plenty of basketball games. On Tuesday, the Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball coach saw the former Mitchell Kernel pour in a game-high 23 points, including 10 in a pivotal third quarter, as South Dakota State University fended off an upset bid by DWU 76-63 at Frost Arena in Brookings. The game counted for Division I Jackrabbits, while the Tigers played it as an exhibition contest.
Needing an offensive spark, Jessica Mieras answered the call for the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team. The 6-foot-4 sophomore provided a season-high 20 points off the bench, including 14 in first half, as the No. 8 Tigers dispatched Midland 75-55 in a Great Plains Athletic Conference game Sunday at the Corn Palace. DWU improved to 16-4 and 8-3 in the GPAC to remain tied for third place.
In a defensive slugfest, Avon's Lauren Sees rose to the occasion. Sees helped kickstart the Pirate offense, after Avon was held to just one point in the first quarter. The 5-foot-9 junior finished with a game-high 24 points as Avon knocked off No. 2 De Smet 41-32 at the 35th Annual Girls Hanson Classic on Saturday at the Corn Palace. "I love her confidence. She stepped up and hit some big shots," Avon head coach Brad Poppe said about Sees. "She put us on her back for a bit."