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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1984: Brookings 67, Sioux Falls Lincoln 55: Lisa Kurtenbach scored 22 points to cap an undefeated season for the Bobcats, holding off Lincoln’s repeated charges. The victory was the first of two straight titles in a 48-game win streak for Brookings, which would be ranked as high as No. 3 nationally at the end of 1985.
1986: Yankton 47, Sioux Falls Lincoln 42: Yankton’s sixth title under coach Bob Winter was a back-and-forth contest, settled by Jenny Pokorney’s late free throws to cap an undefeated season.
1989: Huron 65, SF Lincoln 63 (OT): Amy Burnett scores 33 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for the Tigers, including six in OT. It was Huron’s first state championship in a game that was tight the entire way. Holly Ramsell’s free throws with 13 seconds left were the defining points at the end.
1990: Mitchell 57, Yankton 49: Ending what Gary Munsen described as “long wait” for the Kernels' first state title, Mitchell erased a three-point halftime hole with 30 points in the game on 13-for-17 shooting from Ronda Morgan.
1991: Pierre 47, Mitchell 45 (OT): Governors upset defending champion Kernels at the Corn Palace, finishing the year with a 12-12 record. Mitchell had two late shots at the basket that were off line, allowing Pierre to escape with the win.
1995: Sioux Falls O’Gorman 44, Mitchell 41 (OT): Jayne Even had 27 points and 16 rebounds for the Knights, including the final four points in overtime, denying Mitchell its fourth state championship in its sixth-straight title appearance.
1997: Sioux Falls Roosevelt 49, Pierre 45: In the first championship in a run of five straight state titles, Roosevelt led by as many as 10 points late, but had to hang on in the final minutes as the Governors threatened late.
2004: Brookings 47, Aberdeen Central 46: After both teams had upset wins in the semifinals, Brookings won its first title since 1985 in a closely contested game throughout. Liz Helsper had 18 points.
2011: Brandon Valley 49, Sioux Falls O’Gorman 45: The Lynx only made 12 field goals for the entire game and shot 32 percent, but drilled seven 3-pointers to slip past O’Gorman. Heidi Hoff scored 19 points for Brandon Valley.
2012: Mitchell 56, Sioux Falls Washington 54: Kristin Sabers’ 3-pointer from the corner with 55 seconds left to put Mitchell up by four points, and the Kernels held on for their first title since 2003. Macy Miller had a game-high 20 points.
1975: Yankton 39, Watertown 34: In the first sanctioned girls basketball tournament title game, the Gazelles broke a halftime stalemate with a 10-2 run and sealed the game late on free throws from Beth Barnes. Yankton would go on to win four of the first five girls state championships.
1986: Bennett County 57, Tri-Valley 52: Despite trailing most of the way, the Warriors got 26 points from Carla Allard to rally to a victory, the first state title for a West River girls team.
1989: Pine Ridge 42, Milbank 40: Sophomore sensation SuAnne Big Crow hits the game-winning shot at the buzzer to lift the Thorpes. Milbank’s Ginny Dohrer had tied the game on a jumper of her own moments before.
1991: Miller 50, Red Cloud 46: The Rustlers broke a 46-all tie in the final minute, closing out the Crusaders, who had rallied from 14 down in the first half. Tammy Wilber’s basket with less than a minute to go was the difference.
1993: Howard 69, Miller 47: The Tigers’ Tascha Dawson scored 22 points and grabbed 20 rebounds to help Howard end Miller’s 73-game win streak.
1999: West Central 56, Wessington Springs 54 (2OT): Katie Krauth’s free throws late in double overtime broke the stalemate with the Spartans, who were led by Lacey Johnson, who had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
2000: Sisseton 60, Vermillion 53: Trailing in the fourth quarter, Sisseton had a 16-3 run over the final 5 minutes to claim the state championship, as Sisseton did not miss a field goal in the final quarter and iced the game with 12 free throws.
2017: St. Thomas More 47, Lennox 36: The Orioles had the Cavaliers on the ropes, leading by four at halftime. But the dynasty of the 2010s in Class A pulled through, outsourcing Lennox 33-18 in the second half for the fifth title in a span of six championships to occur in seven years’ time.
1982: Salem 42, Castlewood 39: The Cubs, who were unranked prior to the tournament, pulled out a thrilling victory over Warriors in the final minute, capped with free throws from Kris Knebel and Shelley Ecklein.
1984: Armour 39, Jefferson 38: A back-and-forth contest was settled with Letha Leonard’s two free throws with 8 seconds remaining for the Packers to win a second straight state title.
1987: Armour 62, Wakonda 44: In a battle between a dynasty and its eventual heir apparent, Dana Nielsen and Jodi Pipes helped the Packers rally from an early deficit to win Armour’s fifth straight state title. Wakonda would go on to win the next three state titles and 101 games in a row.
1990: Wakonda 85, Langford 60: Wakonda capped a second-straight undefeated season and ran its win streak to 78 games with a dominant performance at the Corn Palace. The Warriorettes, who shot 53 percent, had 29 points from Kathy Denzin, along with 22 from Becky Flynn and 19 from Nicki Johnson.
1991: Northwestern 36, Willow Lake 27: After ending Wakonda’s 101-game win streak in the semifinals, the Wildcats capped an undefeated season with 12 points from Jill Haven, and won the game without attempting a 3-pointer.
1993: Colome 50, Edmunds Central 48: The Cowgirls led by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter but held on late after a late Raider rally. Roxie Harter’s 18 points helped Colome cap a perfect season at the Corn Palace.
1995: Baltic 59, Avon 56 (2OT): The Bulldogs sparked a run of five championships in eight years under coach Bob Sittig. Sherri Brende had 25 points and key free throws late for Baltic.
1997: Tulare 42, Willow Lake 41: Ann Albers’ 3-pointer with 22 seconds left provided the game-winning lift for Tulare, which won as the tournament’s No. 5 seed. Tulare also defended three shots at the basket in the final moments to win the game.
2003: Baltic 66, Mount Vernon 63 (OT): Baltic made 21-of-30 free throws and nailed nine 3-pointers in a game in which it controlled the entire overtime. Amanda Brack had 23 points, including the key free throws late to hold off the Fillies.
2005: Mount Vernon 40, Willow Lake 32: For the second straight year, Mount Vernon capped a perfect season with a title, including capping the 2005 championship with a battle of unbeatens at the Corn Palace. The Fillies had a 17-2 lead but had to triple team Jennifer Warkenthien at times, who still scored 21 points.
2011: Summit 42, Newell 40 (2OT): Summit, led by Alex Kneeland and Presley O’Farrell, trailed by seven points entering the fourth quarter, but outscored the Irrigators 13-6 to force an extra session. In double overtime, a missed free throw with 3 seconds left from Newell prevented a tie game, and Maria Pearson added one free throw for Summit to create the winning margin.
2014: Warner 49, Sanborn Central/Woonsocket 44 (2OT): The Blackhawks trailed by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter, before sisters Myah and Shelby Selland led SCW back to force overtime at 38-all. But Ashley Rozell scored nine of Warner’s 11 points in overtime, finishing with 21 points and the Monarchs claiming the state title.
2015: Ethan 31, Sully Buttes 28: The Rustlers built an 11-point lead in the first half, but Ethan got the go-ahead bucket with less than 2 minutes left from Ellie Hohn for its first state championship in school history. It was the final field goal of the game, as Ethan held the Chargers to 29 percent shooting.
2016: Sully Buttes 33, Ethan 25: In a championship rematch that again emphasized defense, the Chargers shot 22 percent but got equal 11-point games from Deidre Lamb and Chloe Lamb.