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Class B SoDak16 previews: Six area teams eye Class B trips

Ethan's Mollie Miiller and Corsica-Stickney's Rachel Gerlach go after the ball on Feb. 11 in Stickney. (Jeremy Karll / Republic)

The Class B SoDak 16 girls basketball games are Thursday, with the eight winners qualifying for the State B girls basketball tournament on March 7-9 in Huron.

Below is a short look at each of the area Class B matchups:

Undefeated Ethan eyes another state tournament

Ethan is vying for its fifth-straight girls basketball state tournament berth.

It has rolled to a 21-0 record this season, helping it secure the No. 1 seed in Class B. Trying to ruin the Rustlers' streak is No. 16 seed Dupree, which enters with an 11-9 record and is looking for its first state tournament berth. The Tigers defeated Timber Lake, 50-38, in the Region 8B semifinals.

Senior Karly Gustafson has been a key component in Ethan's success this season, averaging 20.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. However, it's more than just Gustafson. Sophomore Cameryn Logan averages 10 points and five rebounds, while juniors Maddie Miiller and Jessica Bartscher add 10.5, and nine points per game, respectively.

The Rustlers average 57 points per game, as a result. Defensively, Ethan allows 30 points per contest, and it has held every team to 45 points or fewer.

Corsica-Stickney looks to top Castlewood

No. 4 seed Corsica-Stickney needs one more win to punch its ticket to the state tournament for the first time since 2011.

The Jaguars will face No. 13 and defending state champion Castlewood at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Corn Palace.

Corsica-Stickney advanced to this stage after knocking off Andes Central/Dakota Christian in the Region 6B semifinals. The Jaguars are 20-2 and their two losses are against SoDak16 qualifiers Ethan and Avon.

The Jaguars feature a balanced scoring attack and are paced by eighth-grader Avery Broughton, who averages 16.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Senior Courtney Menning posts 13.3 points and five assists a contest. Freshman Rachel Gerlach adds 10.1 points per game, while sophomore Raven Barse registers 9.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

Castlewood (12-7) defeated Deubrook Area in the Region 3B semifinals to qualify for the SoDak 16. The Warriors are in the state-qualifying round for a second straight season, and defeated De Smet, 47-44, as a No. 5 seed in 2018.

Bridgewater-Emery one step away from history

No. 10 seed Bridgewater-Emery is gunning for its first state girls basketball tournament berth as a consolidated school on Thursday. Emery qualified for the state tournament in 1988, while Bridgewater has never advanced to state.

Standing in the way is No. 7 seed Ipswich at 6 p.m. Thursday at the James Valley Christian High School in Huron.

Bridgewater-Emery (18-3) dropped its regular-season finale against Irene-Wakonda, but it avenged the defeat in the Region 5B semifinals. The Huskies are powered by a trio of double figures scorers. Senior Abigal Arend scores 17 points a contest, while freshman Julia Weber posts 16.3 points per game. Sophomore Kerrigan Schultz adds 12.5 ppg and collects a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game. Senior Jada Wethor averages 6.7 boards a contest.

Ipswich (17-3) is coming off a 42-41 win over perennial power Sully Buttes in the Region 2B semifinals. The Tigers played in the SoDak 16 last year as a No. 13 seed, falling to Warner 64-56.

Flyers, Pirates battle at the Corn Palace

Freeman has a chance to make its first girls basketball state tournament since 2010, but standing in its way is stellar senior Lauren Sees and the Avon Pirates. Avon (17-5) has been to the past three state tournaments.

Sixth-seeded Freeman (18-4) defeated Menno, 61-37, in the Region 5B semifinals, while Avon took down Tripp-Delmont Armour, 59-55, in overtime in Region 6B. The Flyers and No. 11 seed Pirates meet at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Palace.

Sees is one of the most prolific scorers in the state, averaging 24.5 points per game on 46 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range for the Pirates. Eighth-grader Shalayne Nagel has emerged, too, adding 9.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. She also shoots 52 percent from the field, helping Avon shoot 41 percent.

Freeman sports a balanced offensive attack. Junior Emily Miller leads the team in scoring (12.3 ppg) and rebounding (4.7 rpg), while seniors Josie Fuhrmann and Hannah Eberts add 11.1 and 9.8 points per game, respectively. As a team, the Flyers average 52.8 points per contest.

Both teams are in the state-qualifying round for a second straight year. Avon was seeded ninth last year and defeated Irene-Wakonda 60-49 to advance to the state tournament in 2018. Freeman, seeded 14th a year ago, nearly knocked off No. 3 Sully Buttes in a 59-56 double-overtime loss.

SCW going for an upset

The Sanborn Central/Woonsocket girls basketball team will be looking to shock third-seeded De Smet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Huron Arena.

The No. 14 seed Blackhawks (16-6) ended the regular season on a five-game winning streak and took down Hanson, 49-46, to advance to the SoDak 16. SCW last made the state tournament in 2017 when it finished in second.

De Smet (20-1) is looking for its first berth since 2015. The Bulldogs beat Arlington, 59-27, in the Region 3B semifinals, while its only loss came to SoDak 16 qualifier Corsica-Stickney.

The Blackhawks have leaned on senior Megan Poyer this season. She leads the team in scoring (12.4 ppg), rebounding (7.5 rpg), steals (3.8 spg) and blocks (1.4 bpg). Poyer is also shooting 44 percent from the field.

Senior Tesa Jensen and junior Kaylee White average 9.2 and 8.1 points per game, respectively. As a team, SCW scored 49.5 points per contest on 38 percent shooting.

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