As part of its Battle of the Best Games contest, The Daily Republic narrowed down the top championship basketball games in South Dakota high school history to 32 each for the boys and girls divisions.
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1987: Brookings 48, Aberdeen Central 47: Brookings built a 45-35 advantage with 6 1/2 minutes left, but the Golden Eagles rallied to make it a three-point game with 1 minute to go. The Bobcats converted at the free-throw line to keep Central at bay, while a late Golden Eagle 3-pointer accounted for the final margin.
1989: Stevens 54, Aberdeen Central 52: Future NBA player Eric Piatkowski netted 19 points and the Raiders held off Central’s late-game surge. Piatkowski blocked a baseline attempt by Jay Kusler with four seconds left to help preserve the win. Eric Kline’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer rolled off the rim.
1990: Mitchell 56, Sioux Falls Lincoln 55 (2OT): Mitchell erased a five-point deficit late in regulation to force overtime and Lincoln’s Ryan Higgason forced double OT on a 3-point shot with eight seconds left. Sean Stephens nailed a jumper with 30 seconds left, proving to be the game-winner for the Kernels. Marty Jacobsen, who forced overtime with five late points, scored 18.
1994: Mitchell 63, Aberdeen Central 55: Mitchell beat No. 1 Watertown, No. 3 Huron and the No. 2 Golden Eagles to punctuate another state title. Brothers -- Dan and Jarrett Anderson -- paced the Kernels with 15 points apiece. Ryan Miller tossed in 14 points for Mitchell, which built a 44-31 third-quarter lead and held off the Golden Eagles in the fourth quarter.
1997: Mitchell 47, Sioux Falls Lincoln 35: Future NBA sharpshooter Mike Miller recorded 19 points and 16 rebounds to win his second and final state championship.
1998: Brandon Valley 63, Sioux Falls O’Gorman 58: Brandon Valley turned an 11-point halftime deficit into a five-point state championship victory. Joe Ford drilled a 3-pointer with 1 minute remaining for Brandon Valley’s first lead of the game.
2000: Sioux Falls Roosevelt 55, Rapid City Central 54: The Rough Riders pulled away for a 47-32 lead with 4 minutes to go and denied Central’s comeback bid. Roosevelt’s Adam Wynia blocked a last-second layup attempt to preserve the win.
2005: Mitchell 69, Sioux Falls O’Gorman 64: The Kernels built an 11-point lead with 5 1/2 minutes left and denied O’Gorman’s comeback bid. Mitch Begeman’s 3-pointer got the Knights within 65-64 with 37 seconds left. Ryan Krome and Phil Johnson both hit two free throws apiece in the final 25 seconds to preserve the win.
1927: Huron 18, Aberdeen 17: In front of 4,800 fans at the Corn Palace — a record crowd to witness a basketball game in the state at the time — Huron’s Sam Perrin led the way for a team that would later take fourth in the nation that year.
1972: Miller 68, Yankton 54: The Rustlers rolled to a 24-0 season with a convincing win over the Bucks. Miller, which is considered one of the best teams in state history, was the smallest team in the 1972 Class A tournament. The Rustlers defeated Sioux Falls Washington (72-60) and Rapid City Stevens (81-51) on their way to the title.
1984: Mitchell 54, Sioux Falls Washington 48: Gary Munsen’s first state title win and Mitchell’s first in 20 years. Tim Byrd made four free throws in the final 72 seconds to help preserve the victory. Bart Friedrick paced the Kernels with 17 points.
1985: Mitchell 62, Sioux Falls Washington 59: Second consecutive win over Washington in the finals, this one to go 23-0. The Kernels built a five-point advantage in the third quarter and their defense denied the Warriors late. Bart Friedrick led the Kernels with 25 points.
1987: Pine Ridge 60, Lennox 53: The Thorpes capped an undefeated season by rallying back from a 14-point deficit with 10 minutes remaining. Pine Ridge’s Willie White pumped in 34 points to power the Thorpes.
1998: Custer 54, Lennox 52: Sophomore star Derek Paulsen hit a last-second jumper in the lane to lift the Wildcats to victory. Paulsen’s memorable shot capped off the fourth meeting for the State A title between the two powerhouses in the 1990’s.
2001: West Central 104, Newell 73: Josh Mueller scored 55 points in the finals, a day after scoring 60 in the semifinals. Mueller scored a tournament record of 147 points during the three-day event.
2015: Aberdeen Roncalli 53, Dell Rapids 50: The Cavaliers won their first state title since 1975 and needed to hold off the Quarriers to do it. Roncalli pulled away for a 50-41 advantage, but Dell Rapids got within 51-50 with 43 ticks left. The Cavaliers closed out the game at the foul line and Zane Schumaker’s 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced away.
1942: Redfield 28, Armour 26: In one of the first buzzer beaters on record, Redfield’s Lloyd Dobratz hit the game-winner just before the final horn. It answered Armour’s Jack Schmiedt’s game-tying shot with 30 seconds left, which had capped a rally from seven points down.
1955: White River 56, Hayti 55 (OT): The Class B tournament dates back to 1912, but the 1955 contest was the first to go to overtime. Gib Burnette had the game-winning shot in the extra session, which was the only made field goal in overtime.
1958: Canistota 49, Corona 47 (OT): The Hawks stunned the Midgets by rallying from eight points down with 2 minutes left in regulation. After Roger Faber tied the game, Gary Snow’s putback basket in overtime off a long miss proved to be the only basket and the game-winner in overtime.
1969: Onida 93, De Smet 90: It set the state record for most combined points in a championship game. Tom Fox (33 points) and Dan Lamb (24 points) powered the Warriors, who finished 24-0. De Smet’s Randy Jencks scored 30 points.
1979: Armour 55, Beresford 51 (OT): Armour erased a four-point deficit with 25 seconds left and Brian Bindert’s 22-foot jumper sent the game into overtime. Jeff Tiefenthaler scored all four of Armour’s points in overtime to seal the thriller in front of more than 11,000 fans at Rapid City’s Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
1992: Harrold 84, Warner 79: Eric Lappe etched his name in state lore with a 40-point performance as Harrold (enrollment of 27) toppled the Monarchs. In front of a jam-packed Wachs Arena, Harrold erased an eight-point deficit in the final two minutes to secure the win. Warner’s Chuck Welke Jr., finished with 39 points and 22 rebounds in the loss.
1997: Armour 55, Freeman 54 (OT): Austin Ledeboer’s 3-pointer with three seconds left propelled the Packers past the Flyers, who took a 54-52 advantage with 16 ticks on the clock. Ledeboer finished with 29 points.
2002: Stickney 56, Dell Rapids St. Mary 55: Stickney rallied from a 17-point first-half deficit and Ben DeWaard banked in a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left for the win. It was Stickney’s first state title since 1981. Colby Fitzgerald scored 35 points in the loss.
2003: Mitchell Christian 62, Castlewood 57 (OT): Jordon Odens converted six free throws in the final two minutes of overtime and Nathan Graves scored 23 points for the Golden Eagles. Mitchell Christian, which finished 25-0, won its first state championship with the win.
2004: Dell Rapids St. Mary 56, Scotland 52: Colby Fitzgerald’s old-fashioned 3-point play in the waning seconds lifted the Cardinals to their elusive state championship. Dell Rapids St. Mary, which suffered narrow defeats the previous two years, won its first state championship.
2007: Hurley 44, Mitchell Christian 42: Bo LaCroix canned three 3-pointers in the final 62 seconds to help Hurley erase a seven-point deficit with two minutes left. Colter Boyer sealed the victory with a breakaway layup in the closing seconds.
2008: White River 66, Langford 50: In front of more than 8,100 fans, scoring sensation Louie Krogman ended his career with a previously elusive state championship. Krogman pumped in a still-tourney record of 45 points and concluded his career with a state-record 3,521 points.
2009: Sully Buttes 74, White River 73: The Chargers edged the Tigers in a classic between the Class B rivals. Sully Buttes pulled away for a 73-66 advantage with 20 seconds left and held off a nearly miraculous comeback by the Tigers to win the thriller.
2015: Hanson 47, Langford Area 44 (OT): The Beavers won three straight games in the waning seconds, including an overtime thriller against the Lions to earn the state title. Hanson’s Sam Vander Stouwe knocked down a pair of free throws for a three-point lead with seven seconds remaining. Bo Fries missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have sent the game into double overtime.
2017: Bridgewater-Emery 63, Wolsey-Wessington 58: The Huskies overcame a 13-point deficit in the third quarter to complete a perfect season. Bridgewater-Emery’s Jamin Arend scored the team’s final nine points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer and a game-clinching steal and layup with 8 seconds left. He finished with 19 points.
2018: Sully Buttes 58, Clark/Willow Lake 55: The Chargers used a 20-0 run to flip a 10-point third-quarter deficit into the state championship. Jacob Howard posted 16 points and 15 rebounds, and Lincoln Jordre had 16 points and four blocks to power the victory, while Nick Wittler’s barrage of 3-pointers completed the comeback in the final quarter. Bradyn Rusher’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was just off the mark.