There’s a buzz in the air surrounding Dell Rapids.

For the first time since 1990, Dell Rapids and Dell Rapids St. Mary will face each other in a boys basketball game. The Quarriers and Cardinals will play at 6:30 p.m. today at the Entringer Classic in Brookings.

The matchup was announced in the summer. Now that the contest is here, the town is buzzing.

"The kids all grow up with each other,” Dell Rapids coach Jason Fersdahl said. “They know each other from playing youth baseball, youth football and all those things growing up.”

The teams have become regulars in the Entringer Classic. The classic’s organizing committee wanted to mix things up with the matchups this year and pair more Class A vs. B schools. The Dell Rapids vs. Dell Rapids St. Mary’s matchup is one of seven games to feature A vs. B teams.

But the Cardinals vs. Quarriers game is perhaps the highlight of the night given the teams are from the same town.

“I know the boys are pretty excited to play against some of the kids from the other school and just for the fact of playing in youth tournaments and playing against each other,” said Dell Rapids St. Mary coach Colby Fitzgerald, who was an all-stater for the Cardinals and led them to the 2004 Class B state title. “It will be a good friendly game to matchup with some friends across town.”

Dell Rapids St. Mary's Connor Libis attacks the basket against Mitchell Christian on Dec. 17 at MCS gym.
Dell Rapids St. Mary's Connor Libis attacks the basket against Mitchell Christian on Dec. 17 at MCS gym.(Ryan Deal / Republic)

Dell Rapids has a rich basketball tradition, and Fersdahl said stories from locals around town have ramped up. The Cardinals were Class B runner-ups in 1975, while the Quarriers won the Class B title in 1976.

“There was some teams through that era that played some really, really high-level games against each other in district finals and postseason matchups,” Fersdahl said. “It was a pretty deep history going a long way back.”

The teams are strong once again this season. The Quarriers (2-1) were receiving votes in the latest Class A poll. The Cardinals (3-0) were No. 4 in the latest Class B poll.

Fersdahl said it’s been a few years since Dell Rapids played a Class B school, but he’s not opposed to scheduling games against the class in the future.

“We want to beef up our schedule and play tough competition all year long,” Fersdahl said. “Our goal is to get ready for that postseason and try to have some of those trials during the regular season, and those games that are going to be really high-level games and you have to lock in for 32 minutes. The St. Mary’s game is going to be like that where we are going to have to play awfully well to come out with a win.”

Dell Rapids St. Mary, meanwhile, will play four Class A schools and a host of Class B schools this season. The Cardinals, like the Quarriers, will also play at classics and other tournaments during the season to prepare for the postseason.

“We are in a situation or geographic location where we could match up with a lot of local A schools, which would help with traveling and whatnot,” said Fitzgerald, who is a former Dakota Wesleyan University guard. “We are in a really good conference to begin with with a lot of B teams. Our schedule is fairly strong in that sense, but having some cross-class matchups wouldn’t be a bad thing down the road either, just with the local talent that we have around the area.”

The coaches said they will focus on this first game before exploring another matchups between the schools. But the talent is coming up for both teams and it’s definitely worth considering in the future.

“St. Mary’s has a run of really good kids coming through and they are going to have a really good team here for a few years for sure and we hope to be right in the mix in the Class A ranks for years to come, too,” Fersdahl said. “We will see how the first game goes, and I think it will be exciting for the community for sure.”

Entringer Classic schedule:

Main gym:

Baltic vs. Deubrook Area, 12:30 p.m.

Flandreau vs. Hamlin, 2 p.m.

Colman-Egan vs. Madison, 3:30 p.m.

Sioux Valley vs. DeSmet, 5 p.m.

Dell Rapids St. Mary vs. Dell Rapids, 6:30 p.m.

Auxiliary gym:

Lake Preston vs. Chester Area, 12 p.m.

Elkton-Lake Benton vs. Garretson, 1:30 p.m.

Oldham-Ramona/Rutland vs. Castlewood, 3 p.m.

Deuel vs. Estelline/Hendricks, 4:30 p.m.

Milbank vs. Arlington, 6 p.m.

Valandra-Prue sets LNI record

White River’s Caelyn Valandra-Prue pumped in the points at a record pace during the recent Lakota Nation Invitational tournament.

The junior recorded 138 points during the four-day event in Rapid City. It’s the most points scored on the girls side for the LNI tournament.

Valandra-Prue erupted for 45 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds and 5 steals in White River’s final game against Pine Ridge. She also had games of 34, 33 and 26 points during the tourney.

Todd County’s Kelsie Herman wasn’t far behind her pace at the LNI. She finished with 136 points, finishing with games of 41, 38, 34 and 23 points.

Rohrbach joins 1,000-point club

Aberdeen Christian’s Andrew Rohrbach recently reached the 1,000-career point plateau.

The senior guard put in 10 points as Aberdeen Christian defeated Leola-Frederick on Dec. 19 and also cracked the 1,000-point mark.

He’s now one of five players to score more than 1,000 career points in school history. Rohrbach’s brother and current head coach, Matthew Rohrbach, also scored 1,000 points. The other include Sam Palmer, Jackson Becker and Tanner Droog.

Rohrbach added 17 points in Aberdeen Christian’s win over Lemmon the following night. The Knights (4-0) are tentatively scheduled to play Hanson on Saturday at the Corn Palace during the Hoop City Classic.

ICYMI

In case you missed it, here are links to Hoop City Classic stories, photos and videos from the Daily Republic:

Weekly honor roll

The games came to a crawl during the Christmas break, but top performances were still turned in across the state. Here’s a look back at some top performers from this past week:

Gregory's Tommy Determan puts up a shot against Breckenridge on Friday at the Hoop City Classic at the Corn Palace.
Gregory's Tommy Determan puts up a shot against Breckenridge on Friday at the Hoop City Classic at the Corn Palace. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

Boys top performers

  • Tommy Determan recorded 36 points, 13 rebounds and five steals to power Gregory to a boys basketball win over North Central (Nebraska) on Dec. 21. Determan added 16 points in Gregory’s loss against Breckenridge on Friday during the Hoop City Classic.

  • All-stater Zech Clemens put in 38 points in Northwestern’s win over Potter County on Dec. 20. He finished 11 of 15 at the free-throw line. Northwestern plays Viborg-Hurley today at the Corn Palace during the Hoop City Classic.

  • Junior Matthew Mors put on a show in front of the Corn Palace on Saturday as Yankton defeated Lynn English (Mass.) during the Hoop City Classic. The Wisconsin commit registered 33 points, eight rebounds and went a perfect 10 of 10 at the foul line. He also threw down a monster jam in the first half, while also drilling a deep 3-pointer to beat the first-half buzzer. You can watch more of Mors today at the Sanford Pentagon against Houston (Tenn.).

Girls top performers

  • Kennedy Leiferman dropped a career-high 40 points in Kimball/White Lake’s 52-39 win over the Chamberlain on Dec. 21. The junior went 21 of 27 from the free-throw line and grabbed 11 rebounds.

  • Lyman’s Maleighya Estes scored a game-high 32 points as the Raiders defeated Bennett County Dec. 21. The sophomore also scored 21 points the previous night for Lyman in a win over Rapid City Christian.

  • Crow Creek’s Kaylee Wells was all over the court as the Chieftains won the LNI title on Dec. 21. She finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks as Crow Creek defeated Red Cloud in the championship game. She was named the tourney MVP.

What’s ahead

It’s still classic season as basketball events will be scattered across the state. Here’s a look at some matchups to keep an eye on as we flip the calendar to 2020:

  • The Cavalier Classic in Aberdeen is Jan. 3-4 at Roncalli High School gym. Participating schools include Aberdeen Roncalli, Aberdeen Christian, St. Thomas More, Sisseton, Castlewood, Cheyenne-Eagle Butte, McLaughlin and Britton-Hecla. The two Cavalier squads -- St. Thomas More and Aberdeen Roncalli -- have gotten acquainted on the hardwood in recent seasons and they’ll meet again at the event.

  • The Sacred Hoops Classic is Jan. 4 at the Corn Palace and here are the pairings. The two matchups between Crow Creek and West Central have perhaps most intrigue at the event. Crow Creek girls are coming off the Lakota Nation Invitational title, while West Central placed second at state last season. West Central was No. 4 in the latest poll, while Crow Creek was receiving votes. The Crow Creek boys, meanwhile, are coming off a third-place finish at the LNI tourney and is honorable mention in the latest Class A poll.

  • The weather altered the Parkston Classic, but an intriguing Class B matchup still looms large. The event was moved to Dec. 31, with Class B powers Sully Buttes and Viborg-Hurley capping off the event at 6 p.m. Viborg-Hurley is currently No. 2 in the Class B poll and returns a host of players from last season’s fourth-place team. Sully Buttes, which began the season No. 3, is unranked in the poll. The Chargers are powered by all-state guard Nick Wittler.