Six schools were represented on the Class A all-state boys basketball first team, which was selected by the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association and announced today.
Dakota Valley junior Paul Bruns was the Player of the Year.
He was joined on the first team by five seniors – St. Thomas More’s Ryder Kirsch, Sioux Valley’s Max Nielson, Sioux Falls Christian’s Zach Witte, Crow Creek’s Luke Wells and Lennox’s Josh Arlt.
Winner’s Brady Fritz was a second-team all-state selection. The junior guard finished the season with 27.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game. Fritz finished with 58 made 3-pointers and scored 585 total points.
Bruns, a 6-foot-4 guard, led the state in scoring at 28.7 points per game. He shot 49 percent from the field and buried 55 3-pointers.
He averaged a double-double, adding 12.7 rebounds, while also dishing out 3.6 assists and coming up with 1.7 steals per contest.
“Paul has had an incredible season and led us in a lot of ways on and off the floor,” said Dakota Valley coach Jason Kleis. “He is not only a gifted and versatile scorer, but he’s also a tremendous rebounder and teammate. He has a great work ethic and just keeps improving each week and each month which tells me his best basketball is still ahead of him.”
The versatile, 6-5 Kirsch, shot an incredible 61.9 percent (226-of-390) from the field. He put up 19.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.33 blocks and 2.1 steals per game. He will play basketball next season Black Hills State University.
“Ryder has a very high basketball IQ,” said STM coach Dave Hollenbeck. “He can score and defend at all five positions on the floor. I thought he had a really good year defensively and was solid on the boards. He understands the value of having good teammates around him and that has helped make us successful against the best teams in the state.”
The Cavaliers were the only team to beat the Cossacks this season, pulling away late for a 57-48 victory in the Hanson Classic on Jan. 25 at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.
Sioux Valley has the best record in the state amongst boys’ basketball teams – regardless of class – and Nielson was a big reason why.
The 5-foot-10 point guard ran the show efficiently. He put up 16 points, 3.7 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.65 steals per outing.
Nielson shot 52.5 percent from the field and 45 percent from deep. He canned 10 treys and scored 38 points in a SoDak 16 defeat of Parker. He will play basketball next season at Northern State.
“Max has a very high offensive skill set which makes him hard to guard,” said Sioux Valley coach Bill Vincent. “His leadership helped drive our team this year. Max has become a more well-rounded player as a senior. We had more buy-in on defense this season and Max was a part of that. His ability to pass, shoot and dribble is as good as anyone. He led a balanced Sioux Valley offensive attack. Max has great handles and can flat-out shoot.”
Witte, a 6-7 forward/center, logged 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game. He shot 52 percent from the field.
“Zach led our team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots, and is an excellent passer,” said SFC coach Mike Shouten. “He has worked very hard over the years to improve his skills. He can post up, he can shoot the 3, he runs the floor well and handles the ball very well, making it difficult for our opponents to guard him. He is a very good athlete. He will attend USD on a football scholarship and is a great leader on the court.”
Wells is a 6-5 forward. He posted a double-double average of 16.4 points and 13 boards, adding 3.7 dimes. He shot nearly 59 percent from the field.
“Luke scored over 1,500 points in his career and was the focal point on a very talented Crow Creek team,” said coach Darin Hunter. “He was an offensive threat from anywhere on the floor and was a nightmare to prepare for by opposing teams. He influences the game at both ends of the floor and his competitive drive is unmatched by anyone. I believe he is the most ‘dynamic’ player at 6-5 in South Dakota.”
Arlt rounds out the first team after tallying 20.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He led the all-state squad with 62 made 3-pointers (on 160 attempts).
“Josh is a relentless competitor. He will do whatever it takes to put his team in a position to win games,” said Oriole coach Paul McVey. “As a point guard, Josh has been like another coach on the floor. He understands how to play the game at an extremely high level. He knows when to shoot and when to give it up, but most importantly Josh knows how to win and to how make plays – whether it be guarding the other team’s best player, setting his teammates up for a great shot or hitting the game winning shot. Josh has shown incredible leadership in getting Lennox basketball to a position of prominence in Class A basketball.”
Winner’s Brady Fritz was a second-team all-state selection. The junior guard finished the season with 27.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game.
CLASS A ALL-STATE BOYS’ BASKETBALL
Paul Bruns, Jr., Dakota Valley, G, 6-foot-4 (28.7 ppg, 12.7 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.7 spg, .65 bpg)—POTY—
Ryder Kirsch, Sr., St. Thomas More, G/F, 6-6 (19.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 4.2 apg, 2.1 spg, 2.33 bpg)
Max Nielson, Sr., Sioux Valley, G, 5-10 (16 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.75 apg, 1.65 spg)
Zach Witte, Sr., Sioux Falls Christian, F/C, 6-7 (18 ppg, 8 rpg, 3 apg, .86 spg, 1.05 bpg)
Luke Wells, Sr., Crow Creek, F, 6-5 (16.4 ppg, 13 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.27 spg, 1 bpg)
Josh Arlt, Sr., Lennox, G, 6-0 (20.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.05 bpg)
Brady Fritz, Jr., Winner, G, 6-2 (27.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.9 apg, 2.14 spg)
Jamison Pratt, Sr., Tiospa Zina, G/F, 5-11 (22 ppg, 11 rpg, 2 apg, 1 spg, 2 bpg)
Kayden Verley, Sr., Canton, G, 6-0 (25.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.8 apg, 3.1 spg, 5 bpg)
Connor Hollenbeck, Sr., St. Thomas More, G, 6-5 (13.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.6 spg, .8 bpg)
Tash Lunday, So., Flandreau, F, 6-5 (22.3 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 2.86 apg, 1.24 spg, .43 bpg)
Stone Burke, Sr., Clark/Willow Lake, F/C, 6-5 (18.8 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.1 apg, .91 spg, .33 bpg)
Caleb White, Sr., Tiospa Zina, G, 5-11 (20 ppg, 5 rpg, 6 apg, 2 spg)
Teron Sazue, Sr., Crow Creek, F, 6-3 (16.7 ppg, 10 rpg, 3.5 apg, .95 spg, .77 bpg)
Drew Van Regenmorter, Sr., Dell Rapids, G/F, 6-2 (13.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.9 spg, .27 bpg)
Tyler Tappe, Sr., Madison, G/F, 6-3 (17.2 ppg, 7 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.95 spg)
Cael Lundin, So., Tea Area, F, 6-1 (15.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.7 apg, 2.2 spg, .45 bpg)
Ryan Schuster, Sr., Sioux Valley, F, 6-4 (12.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.9 spg)