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ABERDEEN -- It was nothing new for Avon in the first round of the girls' Class B state basketball tournament Thursday. The No. 1-seeded Pirates used a patient, selective offense and an aggressive defense to defeat No. 8 Freeman 39-35 at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen. The Pirates (21-2) play Elkton-Lake Benton at 7 p.m. today in the semifinals. Freeman (15-9) plays Sully Buttes in the consolation bracket at 1 p.m. It was the first time all season Freeman lost a game when holding its opponent under 50 points.
WAGNER -- Corsica's Luke Bamberg put up a one-handed desperation 3-point attempt as time expired in the fourth quarter, hoping to send the game to overtime. The shot bounced off the front iron and off the mark. A surprising 10-win Avon team defeated Corsica 59-56 Tuesday night in the Region 6B championship in Wagner, sending the Pirates to the state tournament. "I thought that last shot was going in actually," said Avon center Matt Dykstra, who had 19 points in the game.
ALEXANDRIA -- He's like a high school version of Shaq. When his lengthy arms stretch up almost as high as the back board -- while standing on his platform-like feet -- Hanson senior Craig Henglefelt presents a dominant force. "I've been the tallest kid since fourth or fifth grade," Henglefelt said. "But it's fun going up against the shorter kids who try to defend me." On Thursday, the 6-foot-5 senior led his team with 22 points and 15 rebounds in a District 9B semifinal game against Wessington Springs.
After one half of play, the District 11B title game was anyone's to win. But the Corsica boys' basketball team took control in the third quarter and went on to outscore Stickney (14-8) 33-13 in the second half and pull away for a 51-31 win Saturday at the Corn Palace to win the district title. Corsica (19-4) plays Avon at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Wagner for the Region 6B title and the chance to go to the Class B state tournament March 19-21 in Aberdeen. "We went to a different offensive set (after halftime)," Corsica coach Scott Muckey said of the difference in the first and second halves.
Three Hanson seniors helped their team avoid a third-straight District 9B championship loss Saturday. In the same matchup as the past two seasons, the 9B title game came down to Mitchell Christian and Hanson. The Beavers' Jamin Bridge and Craig Henglefelt each scored 15 points, and teammate Tyson Gau had a team-high 18 points, helping a composed, senior-led Hanson team to a 59-52 win at the Corn Palace. "We got down by three or five a few times and we got up by seven or nine, but we kept that same look on our face the entire game," Hanson head coach Josh Oltmanns said.
With two outside shooters and a dominant inside game, the Hanson boys' basketball team fought off Wessington Springs Thursday night at the Corn Palace in a 9B semifinal game. The Beavers got a game-high 22 points and 15 rebounds from senior Craig Henglefelt, and Tyson Gau and Jamin Bridge each had 17 points to help their team defeat Wessington Springs 76-56. "That's what makes us a good team is that we're versatile," Hanson head coach Josh Oltmanns said. "With Craig inside hitting shots, that leaves shooters like Jamin open, and Tyson's a pretty good shooter, too.
The Mitchell Christian boys' basketball team earned the right to avenge one of its two losses this season after defeating Mount Vernon 61-44 Thursday night in a District 9B semifinal game at the Corn Palace. Jesse Tolsma went 16-for-19 from the line and scored a game-high 29 points for the No. 3-ranked Eagles, who will play the No. 1 Hanson Beavers Saturday for the 9B district title. "We're looking forward to the rematch, but we had a lot of respect for Mount Vernon," MCHS head coach Tom Young said.
The first of three major steps to reinstate districts to Class B wrestling was passed Monday night at a wrestling advisory committee meeting in Pierre. The committee included Garretson head coach Jay Swatek, who is the Class B representative, at the five-person meeting. Swatek was joined by the referee's representative Jerry Bussler, South Dakota High School Executive Assistant Bob Lowery, the Class A rep Marc Murren and Joe Meyer, the athletic director's representative from Parker.
WAGNER -- Behind a slow-paced offense and an in-your-face defense, the Avon girls' basketball team earned a berth to the Class B state tournament Tuesday night in Wagner. Avon held Kimball to three points in the fourth quarter and knocked down its free throws to pull away and defeat the Kiotes 41-23 in the Region 6B championship game. "Our defense all season has been our strength," Avon head coach Brad Poppe said.
Crouching on all fours on the corner of the mat during every match, Wagner head coach Ernie Valentine led his team to its second consecutive Class B state title Saturday. Last season, Wagner dominated its way to the Class B title, winning by more than 50 points. Saturday was a different story, as the Red Raiders edged Redfield by one-half point. Now, the team, Robert Kokesh and Alex Kocer have all completed two-thirds of the "Trifecta" -- the feat of winning three consecutive state titles.