Hoop City Classic: Team-by-team capsules
Below is a list of teams participating in the ninth annual Hoop City Classic, which was renamed from the Mike Miller Classic this year. The event spans four days, starting on Thursday and ending with a pair of NAIA men's college basketball games on Sunday.
The event will include 20 boys high school teams, seven girls high school teams and four NAIA men's college basketball teams playing over three days at both the Corn Palace in Mitchell and the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.
Coach: Brent Norberg.
Notes: Aberdeen Central returns to the classic after falling to La Lumiere (Ind.) last year. The Golden Eagles are off to a rough start this season as they look to get back to the Class AA state boys basketball tournament after finishing second in 2017, but not qualifying last season. The Golden Eagles play Sioux Falls O'Gorman at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Arly Ohm.
Notes: Breckenridge is No. 8 in Minnesota's Class 2A as it comes off last season's consolation bracket championship game loss. It's led by Noah Christensen, a 6-foot-9 senior small forward, who has signed with North Dakota State University. Breckenridge plays Bridgewater-Emery at 5 p.m. on Friday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Brent Deckert.
Notes: Brandon Valley has already picked up a win at the Corn Palace this season, defeating Mitchell 73-62 on Dec. 20. The Lynx are led by all-state guard Evan Talcott, who averages 15.3 points per game on 68 percent shooting, along with 5.3 rebounds per contest. Carter Olthoff also averages 12.8 points per game. The Lynx play John Marshall (Minn.) at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.
Coach: Scott Schultz.
Notes: The Huskies played three games in the event last season and went 1-2, pushing their all-time record to 3-4. Bridgewater-Emery is powered by all-state guards Sawyer Schultz and Jamin Arend, along with big man Carter Dye. The trio will all play collegiately next season at Dakota Wesleyan. Schultz will play basketball, while Dye and Arend will play football for the Tigers. Schultz scored a school-record 41 points in B-E's first game this season, a 73-51 win over Menno. The Huskies play Breckenridge at 5 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Jeff Kaufman.
Notes: Coronado enters the classic on a three-game winning streak, in part due to Jaden Hardy's offensive output. He dropped 49 points in Coronado's last game against Buckeye (Ariz.) and has topped 25 points in each of the last six games. Coronado kicks off the classic against Dominican (Wis.) at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Travis Bledsoe.
Notes: DeLaSalle enters the classic as the top-ranked team in Minnesota's Class 3A. It has played in all nine classics, compiling a 14-3 all-time record, including winning the Gary Munsen tournament last year. The Islanders return Stanford signee Tyrell Terry and George Washington signee Jamison Battle, who have led them to wins over a pair of ranked Class 4A schools—No. 4 Eden Prairie and No. 9 Wayzata. DeLaSalle plays Findlay Prep (Nev.) at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Jim Gosz.
Notes: Dominican is on a five-game winning streak, vaulting it to No. 5 in Wisconsin's Division-3 poll. It's led by Alex Antetokounmpo, who is the younger brother of Milwaukee Bucks' star Giannis Antetokounmpo. He leads the team in scoring (21.4 ppg), rebounding (10.4 ppg) and blocks (2.3 bpg). Dominican plays in the first game of the classic, facing Coronado (Nev.) at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Palace.
Findlay Prep (Nev.)
Coach: Rodney Haddix.
Notes: Findlay Prep fell out of MaxPreps' top-25 ranking after Hillcrest Prep (Ariz.) snapped its 11-game winning streak to start the season. The Pilots are led by a bevy of Division-I talent. Seniors PJ Fuller, an ESPN top-100 recruit, signed with TCU and Raymond Hawkins has offers from Kansas State and St. John's. Junior guard Taryn Todd has also been offered by Kansas State. The Pilots play DeLaSalle at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Palace.
John Marshall (Minn.)
Coach: Jim Daly.
Notes: John Marshall has gotten off to a slow start this season, with its only win coming over Winona. A slow start hasn't slowed down star power forward Matthew Hurt, though, who dropped a school-record 55 points in a game earlier this season. John Marshall plays Brandon Valley at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.
La Lumiere (Ind.)
Coach: Patrick Holmes.
Notes: La Lumiere just won the Iolani Classic in Hawaii last week, which included wins over former MaxPreps No. 1 Montverde (Fla.) and No. 20 Oak Ridge (Fla.). As a result, the Lakers jumped to No. 2 in the MaxPreps top 25 this week. Senior big men Isaiah Stewart and Keion Brooks are No. 5 and 34, respectively, in ESPN's 2019 top-100 recruits ranking. Stewart's offers include Duke, Indiana, Michigan State and Villanova, while Brooks' offers include Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana and Memphis. La Lumiere and Findlay Prep are slated to have an encore of its 2011 matchup, which saw the Lakers win 67-66 in overtime, at 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Leonard Jack.
Notes: Lower Brule, which played in the event last season, qualified for the Class B state boys basketball tournament in 2017-18. It was the first time in school history the Sioux advanced to a state boys basketball tournament. Lower Brule takes on Mountain Brook (Ala.) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Palace.
Mountain Brook (Ala.)
Coach: Bucky McMillan
Notes: McMillan was named the 2017-18 boys basketball coach of the year by the National High School Coaches Association. McMillan has led Mountain Brook's program for 10 seasons, leading the Spartans to four state titles and a No. 14 ranking in MaxPreps' top-25. Six-foot-9 senior forward Trendon Watford is Alabama's reigning Mr. Basketball and the third player in state history to win the award as a junior. He scored 38 points and 12 rebounds in a win over No. 2 IMG Academy on Dec. 20 at the City of Palms in Fort Myers, Florida. Six-foot-5 junior Colby Jones reportedly holds offers from Harvard, Western Kentucky, Samford, UAB and Middle Tennessee. Mountain Brook takes on Lower Brule at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Todd Neuendorf.
Notes: Mitchell has played in every classic at the Corn Palace, though it hasn't come with glowing results. The Kernels haven't won a Hoop City Classic game since 2012 and are 3-13 all-time. Now in his second season, Neuendorf brings a young team into the classic. The Kernels have topped 50 points just once this season. The Kernels play Yankton at 8 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Jesse Tolsma.
Notes: Mitchell Christian is set to make its sixth appearance in the classic. The Golden Eagles are led by Alec Nelson, who netted 39 points in Mitchell Christian's 67-43 win over Wessington Springs earlier this season. Aaron Dykstra has the school record with 45 points, while Tolsma scored a career-high 43 points when he played for the Golden Eagles. Mitchell Christian faces Dominican (Wis.) at 11 a.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Sioux Falls Christian
Coach: Mike Schouten.
Notes: The Chargers are off to an excellent start, topping 70 points in each of their last three wins. Sioux Falls Christian have placed top three in Class A in each of the last three seasons, including winning it all in 2016. The Chargers landed two players on the Class A all-state team last year, including senior MItchell Goodbary. The Chargers play Breckenridge (Minn.) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.
Sioux Falls Lincoln
Coach: Jeff Halseth
Notes: The Patriots have taken down O'Gorman, Roosevelt and Washington to start the season, as well as Watertown. They have earned the No. 3 ranking in Class AA, as a result. Sioux Falls Lincoln is looking to improve on last year's eighth-place finish at the Class AA state boys basketball tournament. The Patriots play Coronado (Nev.) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.
Sioux Falls O'Gorman
Coach: Derek Robey.
Notes: The Knights are led by Robey, a Mitchell graduate and a former Kernel basketball player. Despite a winless start to the year, Sioux Falls O'Gorman's losses have come by five and four points. The Knights have notched five wins in eight years at the classic, though fell to Wauwatosa West (Wisc.) last year. The Knights play Aberdeen Central at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Sioux Falls Washington
Coach: Craig Nelson.
Notes: Sioux Falls Washington is fresh off a win over Marshall (Minn.) on Dec. 20 to get back to a .500 record. The Warriors also took down Huron in its season opener, though suffered losses to rivals Roosevelt and Lincoln by 15 and 14 points, respectively. The Warriors play Coronado (Nev.) at 2 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Chris Fechner.
Notes: The Titans placed second at last year's State A boys basketball tournament and won it during the 2016-17 season. Tea Area has two players—Noah Freidel (Wright State) and Justin Hohn (University of California-Irvine)—that will play Division I basketball next season. Tea Area's matchup against Bridgewater-Emery will pit two No. 1 teams against each other. The Titans are No. 1 in Class A, while the Huskies are No. 1 in Class B. The Titans play Bridgewater-Emery at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Chris Haynes.
Notes: Fresh off a Class AA state championship last season, the Bucks are the top-ranked team in Class AA to begin the year. This is the second straight year Yankton will play in the classic. Matthew Mors, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward, has guided the Bucks to a perfect start to the year, including 31 points and six rebounds in Yankton's home opener against Watertown. The Bucks play Mitchell at 8 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Dawn Seiler.
Notes: Seiler is approaching history as she needs one win to tie Parkston's Rob Van Laecken as the winningest high school girls basketball coach in South Dakota history with a total of 595 wins. This is the third consecutive appearance for the Golden Eagles. Last year, they beat Sioux Falls Roosevelt by 10 as part of a Class AA state championship winning season. However, Aberdeen Central has stumbled out of the gates. Still, it features an experienced roster with six seniors on the squad. The Golden Eagles play Hutchinson (Minn.) at 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Tanysha Scott.
Notes: DeLaSalle returns to the classic for a second straight year after it beat Sioux Falls O'Gorman 63-58 last year. Coming off a state tournament appearance last year and consolation bracket title in 2017, the Islanders are unranked in Minnesota's Class 3A. That said, they have a 61-49 win over Class 2A No. 5 Holy Family. The Islanders take on Aberdeen Central at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.
Coach: Tim Ellefson
Notes: Hutchinson is off to a rough start this year after graduating its lone all-state player from a year ago. It's looking to end a two-year state tournament drought. The Tigers have won at least one game in each of the last two Section 6AAA playoffs. Hutchinson takes on Aberdeen Central at 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Wes Morgan.
Notes: Mitchell returns to the classic on a bit of a cold spell, dropping back-to-back games to Class AA No. 1 Brandon Valley and No. 5 Rapid City Stevens. Mackenzie Miller gives the Kernels an inside presence, while guards Tess Limberg, Jordyn Cranny and Tayler Factor are a few guards who excel on the perimeter, allowing Mitchell to play fast. The Kernels face Waconia (Minn.) at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Sioux Falls Christian
Coach: Andrea Begeman.
Notes: The Chargers' lone win came against Elk Point-Jefferson, 41-25, while it also only lost by two to Dell Rapids. Their last Class A state tournament appearance came in 2013. The Chargers play Hutchinson (Minn.) at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.
Sioux Falls Lincoln
Coach: Matt Daly.
Notes: The Patriots return first team all-state player Morgan Hansen. She is one of nine juniors on Sioux Falls Lincoln this season. The Patriots have wins over Watertown and Sioux Falls Roosevelt, though lost to Washington, O'Gorman and a pair of Minnesota schools. The Patriots play Waconia (Minn.) at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.
Coach: Carl Pierson.
Notes: Waconia is coached by Pierson, who is a Mitchell High School graduate and former Kernel basketball player. His team lost in the Section 6AAA playoffs last season, but are currently No. 9 in Class 3A this season. The Wildcats return a pair of all-state honorable mention players in Tess Johnson and Courtney Freeberg. Waconia plays Mitchell at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Gary Garner.
Notes: The Trojans have played in two classics since college teams were added. They have a 2-2 all-time record, with both wins coming over Mount Marty and both losses to Dakota Wesleyan. DSU is also 2-2 in its last four games, being led by leading scorer Justin Folkers. The Trojans play St. Mary's (Kan.) at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Corn Palace.
Coach: Matt Wilber.
Notes: Dakota Wesleyan returns, having never lost in the classic. The Tigers enter on a five-game winning streak and are 4-2 at the Corn Palace this year. That's been in part due to guard Ty Hoglund. He is coming off a career-high 45 points in DWU's 92-91 overtime win over the University of Antelope Valley in Las Vegas on Dec. 20. The Tigers face Peru (Neb.) at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Corn Palace.
Peru State (Neb.)
Coach: Bob Ludwig.
Notes: Peru State made the second round of the NAIA Division-I national tournament last year and is currently ranked No. 17 in the nation. However, it has dropped two of its last three games. The Bobcats started the season 5-0 and also defeated No. 25 Graceland University 75-57 earlier in the year. Lyle Hexom averages 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, while Brandon Jones is putting up 16.7 points and 8.9 boards per contest. The Bobcats face Dakota Wesleyan at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Corn Palace.
St. Mary's (Kan.)
Coach: Troy Brown
Notes: Despite being under .500 on the season, St. Mary's enters the classic on a two-game winning streak. The Spires have 10 consecutive winning NAIA Division-II seasons, with eight coming under coach Troy Brown. Raylon Howard leads the team with 13.8 points per game. The Spries take on Dakota State at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Corn Palace.