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VERMILLION -- Defense wins championships. It's a common sports saying that the Gregory Gorillas proved to be true during their 31-8 Class 9AA state football championship victory over Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central. "Our defense is amazing," Gregory senior defensive back and quarterback Kurt Braun said after the game.
VERMILLION -- In the 2010 census, the population in Howard was 858. But on Thursday, there were closer to zero people in the town as residents relocated to Vermillion to cheer on the Tiger football team in the Class 9A state championship. "I hope the last person shut the door on the way out," Howard resident Joe Walter said. "I think everyone gets their work done ahead of time and plans ahead to make it work.
GREGORY -- As the town of Gregory descends upon Vermillion today to watch the Gorillas take on the Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central Blackhawks at 1:30 p.m.
Heading into the Class 9AA state title game today, both the Gregory Gorillas (11-0) and the Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central Blackhawks (10-1) want to win the turnover battle. "The turnover game," Blackhawk head coach Jason Kolousek said. "Whoever has the plus turnover ratio will probably be on the winning side." Gregory head coach Brian Allmendinger agreed with Kolousek that turnovers will play a big role in deciding the state championship, which kicks off at 1:30 p.m.
After having one of the most successful seasons in Dakota Wesleyan University wrestling history, the Tigers are looking to accomplish even more this season. Entering the new season, the DWU wrestling team is receiving votes in the NAIA wrestling coaches' preseason top 20 poll, but Tiger first-year head coach Boomer Fechko is focused on getting his wrestlers ready to have the best chances to win. "I have high expectations," said Fechko, whose team lost seven seniors to graduation in May. "I'm expecting good things and my expectations really don't have much to do with winning or losing.
PLATTE -- The second time is just as nice. At least that's how the Kimball/White Lake high school volleyball team felt after booking its second consecutive trip to the Class B state volleyball tournament. "This is a pretty awesome feeling," WiLdKat head coach Sarah Deffenbaugh said. "It's not an easy road to get the state tournament and to do it in back-to-back years is harder. It feels so good because all of the pressure is finally off our shoulders." Kimball/White Lake downed the Burke/South Central Cougars 3-1 in the Region 6B championship game on Tuesday night in Platte.
GREGORY -- The third times the charm, at least in the case of the No. 2 Gregory Gorillas. After losing consecutive Class 9AA semifinal games, the Gorillas finally made it over the hump and earned a trip to Vermillion to play in the state championship. Gregory defeated No. 3 Deuel 31-8 Saturday in front a packed crowd at Mike Dacy Field in Gregory. "I can't really describe it," Gregory head coach Brian Allmendinger said after the game. "It's such a disappointment losing in the semifinal game two years in a row, so we are excited." Gregory (11-0) will take on No.
A strong shooting performance carried the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team over the No. 7-ranked Jamestown Jimmies 77-65 on Friday night at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. DWU (3-0) shot 50 percent, going 29-of-58 from the field, in the Tigers' first game of the DWU Fulton State Bank Classic. DWU also controlled the ball well, a highlight for Tiger head coach Jason Christensen. "I thought we played well," Christensen said after the game. "The big stat tonight was that we only had eight turnovers.
GREGORY -- Not too many teams in Class 9AA football average 57.5 points per game in the playoffs, but not many teams in nine-man football run an up-tempo offense either. While the numbers are impressive week-in and week-out, the Gorillas (10-0) haven't scored under 50 points in a game since Sept. 12 against Kimball/White Lake. Simply put, the Gorillas are making it tough for any team to prepare for the fast-paced offense Gregory runs. "It's an offense that works best in a rhythm and we like to get into that rhythm," Gorilla head coach Brian Allmendinger said.
It's been a season of ups and downs for the Mitchell High School volleyball team, but the Kernels aren't ready for their season to end anytime soon. The Kernels (3-18) will play in a District 3AA elimination match against Pierre (6-15) at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Pierre. "We are playing our best volleyball here at the end of the season," Mitchell head coach Deb Thill said Thursday. "Hopefully, we continue to play that way on Saturday." The winner will earn third place in District 3AA and advance to play against the District 4AA runner-up in the Region 2AA tournament.