Ethan, Warner highlight Hanson Classic lineup
For Class B girls basketball fans, it doesn't get any better than 9 p.m. on Saturday at the Corn Palace.
That's when No. 1 Ethan (7-0) and No. 2 Warner (7-1) will lock horns during the 36th annual girls Hanson Classic. It will be the final matchup of the nine-game slate, which features a host of highly-successful coaches, programs and players.
"We kind of try to tell our kids there's a lot of people in South Dakota that's going to be watching this game and certainly so," Warner coach Stewart Bohle said. "It's a state tournament atmosphere and we are excited."
The Class B powers have been regulars at the event and state tournaments for the past several seasons. But Saturday's matchup is just the second between the programs since their recent run of success. Ethan defeated Warner in the third-place game at the state tournament in 2017.
"I am just looking for a fun game," Ethan coach Tom Young said. "It's exciting to be in the feature game for the kids. It gives them an opportunity to have a special night."
Saturday's nightcap features two top-notch post players in Ethan's Karly Gustafson (6-foot) and Warner's Laurie Rogers (6-1).
"Rogers presents a real concern because her size and she's a little bit different player than Karly," Young said. "She has a tendency to be more inside and Karly maybe would be a little bit more perimeter-oriented versus Rogers."
But both squads have some nice complementary pieces around the two all-staters. Ethan's Cameryn Logan provides another solid piece in the post.
"It's a pretty good matchup for both teams, I think," Bohle said. "We will have a little bit of trouble guarding the Logan girl because she's big and strong and physical and so we will have to find somebody that can matchup with her."
Bohle anticipates Keeley Fischbach will defend Logan, while Sydney Leidholt will matchup with Jessica Bartscher on the perimeter.
"They are well coached and they have several nice players outside of Rogers," Young said. "Plus being the state volleyball champions—they are very competitive and they are just a very good team."
In another Class B showdown, No. 3 De Smet (7-0) plays No. 4 Corsica-Stickney (8-0) at 6 p.m. The Bulldogs are paced by Dakota Wesleyan University signee Rynn Osthus, who is the younger sister of current Tiger guard Rylie Osthus. Corsica-Stickney, which handed Warner its lone defeat, is led by senior Courtney Menning and eighth-grader Avery Broughton.
In Class A, No. 1 Lennox (8-1) and No. 3 St. Thomas More (7-1) will battle at 7:30 p.m. The Orioles and Cavaliers faced each other in the 2017 state title, which STM won 47-36 in overtime. The Cavaliers have won six of the last seven Class A state titles, including the last five in a row. Lennox all-state junior Madysen Vlastuin has verbally committed to play basketball at South Dakota State University.
The event starts at 9 a.m. with Avon facing Waubay/Summit, followed by Hanson vs. Sully Buttes at 10:30 a.m., Tripp-Delmont/Armour vs. Irene-Wakonda at noon, Freeman vs. Faulkton Area at 1:30 p.m., Flandreau vs. Crofton, Neb., at 3 p.m. and Dell Rapids vs. Pine Ridge at 4:30 p.m.