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SIOUX FALLS—In case there was any doubt, South Dakota firmly landed on the national college basketball map Friday night. Four of the best women's basketball teams in the country were in Sioux Falls—South Carolina, Syracuse, Ohio State and Tennessee—playing for a trip to the women's Final Four in the Sioux Falls Regional of the NCAA tournament.
Recent weather explains the dilemma surrounding the later start to the spring high school golf season in South Dakota. On Wednesday, some parts of the state saw a foot of snow and any area courses that were entertaining opening for the season had to shelve those plans. But up until then, March was relatively dry and warm.
At season's end, wins and losses didn't tell the whole story of the Mitchell High School girls basketball team in 2015-16. The Kernels finished the year at 6-20 but the team brought home eighth place from the Class AA state tournament and laid the foundation for future success, coach Wes Morgan said. With that, there should be fewer growing pains next season and the focus should move to making use of the team's young talent.
I experienced both the new-fangled and the traditional formats at the South Dakota state high school basketball tournaments this past weekend. And you know what? I liked them both. Maybe there's room for both in the future. With the Mitchell Kernels girls basketball team in the Class AA state tournament in Sioux Falls, I got an up-close and personal look at the combined format used for the first time with the big-school boys and girls in the same arena complex at the same time.
SIOUX FALLS—Turnovers told the story for the Mitchell girls basketball team on Friday at the Class AA state tournament. And the story wasn't a pretty one. The 8-seed Kernels turned the ball over 34 times and saw a chance at victory slip away in the consolation semifinals at the Sioux Falls Arena, losing to fifth-seeded Rapid City Central 54-37.
Three area prep basketball teams landed three players on the Little Missouri Valley Conference's all-conference boys basketball team at year's end. Andes Central/Dakota Christian's Zach DeLange, Michael Maas and J.B. Bruguier made the team, along with Dillan Thuringer, Jake DeLange and Wes Genant, all of Parkston and Wagner's Chase Zephier, Hunter Hewitt and Terrell Twiss. Also representing their schools were Brady Cameron and Jacob Cihak, of Avon; Bon Homme's Chase Kortan and Bryce Scieszinski; and Scotland's Tanner Skorepa and Travis Skorepa.
SIOUX FALLS—Mitchell's chances of pulling an upset at the Class AA state girls basketball tournament never got off the ground Thursday in Sioux Falls. A 18-0 start for top-seeded Sioux Falls Washington made sure of that. But the Kernels battled and didn't wither away in a 67-34 Washington quarterfinal victory at the Premier Center and gave themselves some confidence heading to the consolation round today, where they'll take on Rapid City Central at 10 a.m. today at the Sioux Falls Arena.
The odds are long for the Mitchell girls basketball team this weekend at the state tournament but there's still plenty to accomplish. The Kernels will be big underdogs to the top-ranked squad from Sioux Falls Washington (20-2) when they play today at 1 p.m. at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls in the Class AA state tournament quarterfinals. Mitchell coach Wes Morgan said he's stressed getting better in the 10-day hiatus between when the Kernels clinched their state tournament berth with a 51-44 victory over Sturgis on March 7 and today's game.
BROOKINGS — The South Dakota State University women's basketball team has officially reached "been there, done that" territory regarding the NCAA tournament. Not that they're past the point of being excited to reach the Big Dance, but the objective is firmly to win a couple games while they're there. They'll have their chance to do that, starting on Saturday.
HURON—A few plays here, a few plays there. That's what it seemingly always comes down to when Ethan and Sully Buttes battle in girls basketball. But on Saturday night, it was the undefeated and top-ranked Chargers that made the plays down the stretch to take the Class B state championship. Sully Buttes won the game 33-25 over Ethan Saturday night at the Huron Arena.