On Aug. 6, Connor Libis received a roommate, an all-state football player and a post presence on the basketball court.

When Todd County opted not to play high school sports, Ashaun Roach-Valandra needed a place to play sports his senior season. He considered Winner and White River, but decided to go across the state and play for Dell Rapids St. Mary instead.

“They had a pretty good football program, pretty good basketball program and they are very accepting of me and very welcoming,” Roach-Valandra said.

Dell Rapids St. Mary's Ashaun Roach-Valandra, right, drives to the basket against White River's July Schmidt (55) at the Sacred Hoops Classic on Jan. 2 at the Corn Palace.
Dell Rapids St. Mary's Ashaun Roach-Valandra, right, drives to the basket against White River's July Schmidt (55) at the Sacred Hoops Classic on Jan. 2 at the Corn Palace.(Ryan Deal / Republic)

So Libis, Dell Rapids St. Mary’s all-state guard, had a new roommate to start his senior season, even if he had just met him.

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“I didn’t really know him,” Libis said, laughing. “I never met him personally. (Teammates) Sam Palmer and Max Herber played with him in summer basketball. I met him on Aug. 6 and he moved him with me on Aug. 6.”

Libis said Roach-Valandra is always smiling and has been a fun addition in the Libis household. He’s also been a nice addition to the Dell Rapids St. Mary athletic programs.

“Ashaun has been a great addition to our school and our community and of course our team,” Libis added. “He brings everything I think we were lacking the last couple of seasons.”

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Roach-Valandra adds a bigger body to the lineup and toughness on both ends of the court. The Cardinals also have Palmer (6-3), Herber (6-4) and John Pica (6-3) in the starting lineup.

“We had an excellent football season and I have three all-state linemen setting screens for me,” Libis joked. “So that’s something I can’t complain about and (Roach-Valandra) just brings great physicality to the court.”

Roach-Valandra has helped shoulder the offensive load this season. Libis, who has 2,330 career points, has benefitted from the balanced scoring attack this season. The four starting bigs have each taken their turns on the offensive end this season.

Dell Rapids St. Mary's Connor Libis, right, puts up a shot against White River's Dylan Marshall at the Sacred Hoops Classic on Jan. 2 at the Corn Palace.
Dell Rapids St. Mary's Connor Libis, right, puts up a shot against White River's Dylan Marshall at the Sacred Hoops Classic on Jan. 2 at the Corn Palace. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

Roach-Valandra has provided a boost scoring and rebounding. He posted 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a win over White River on Jan. 2 at the Corn Palace. He had a 15-point and nine-rebound game in a loss against Dell Rapids on Dec. 31.

“He’s a do-it-all player and if you ask him to do something, he will run through the wall for you,” DRSM coach Colby Fitzgerald said. “He’s definitely one of those kids that’s ready for the battle. He can guard multiple positions and play inside-outside.”

Roach-Valandra was an all-state football player and helped the Cardinals reach the Class 9B state championship game. He finished the season with 41.5 tackles and nine sacks.

He hopes to play college sports and is leaning toward playing football. But he’s unsure of his college choice.

Roach-Valandra said the move across the state will help prepare him for college and he’s soaking in final season of high school sports.

“I am just trying to take it all in and enjoy it and make the best out of it,” Roach-Valandra said. “Because this is what I came here to do is play sports and I am really thankful for the Libis’ for giving me the opportunity.”

--Mitchell Republic sports reporter Ryan Deal

Fryda breaks Scotland’s scoring record

Scotland’s Grace Fryda surpassed Aisha Abbink to become Scotland’s all-time leading scorer on Thursday. The Dakota Wesleyan University commit scored 17 points, grabbed five rebounds and added three steals.

Mors, Libis move into top-10 on all-time scoring list

Yankton’s Matthew Mors and Dell Rapids St. Mary’s Connor Libis continue their climb up the state’s all-time scoring list.

Mors is now No. 8 on the all-time scoring list with 2,363 career points. Forestburg’s Lamoine Torgerson (2,381) is No. 7 on the all-time list. The Bucks host Aberdeen Central today.

Libis is No. 10 on the all-time scoring list with 2,330 career points. He’s also nailed 297 career 3-pointers. Canova’s Jerry Wingen (2,333) is No. 9 on the state’s all-time list. The Cardinals host Oldham-Ramona/Rutland today.

White River’s Louie Krogman is the state’s all-time leader with 3,521 career points.

1,000-point club

Three players recently scored their 1,000th career points. Who did we miss? Let us know at sports@mitchellrepublic.com.

  • Aberdeen Roncalli’s Gray Imbery scored his 1,000th career point in a 79-46 loss against Tiospa Zina on Jan. 7. Imbery is the sixth player in school history to reach the milestone, joining Gus Reede, Cary Hornaman, Kent Clausen, Ryan Hanson and Brayden McNeary.

  • Jones County sophomore Jadyn Jensen scored her 1,000th career point in 50-39 win over Colome on Tuesday.

  • Faith senior Tyson Selby scored his 1,000th career point in a 56-47 win over Timber Lake on Jan. 7.


There were no shortage of highlight-reel dunks on Tuesday.

White River’s Joe Sayler, Freeman Academy/Marion’s Thalen Schroeder and Pierre’s Jackson Edman and Lincoln Kienholz each threw down jams on the night.

Check them out below

Girls Hanson Classic

The girls Hanson Classic starts at 10 a.m. today and concludes at 8:30 p.m. at the Corn Palace. Due to COVID-19, the event organizers will follow Corn Palace guidelines. Face masks are required inside the Corn Palace, while capacity will be limited to 50 percent of the 3,200-seat venue. Fans can watch the classic online at www.beavers.liveticket.tv for $12.50 all day. It won’t be available locally on Mitchell Telecom. The pay-per-view sales will be available via VISA, MasterCard or PayPal. Fans must create a personal account with a personal email and password. Fans will use this email/password to login for each game each day in the video player on www.beavers.liveticket.tv.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students. Courtside reserved seats won’t be available, while fans won’t be allowed to sit on the stage directly behind the scorers table. Games will start 15 minutes following the completion of the previous game.

Here’s are three storylines to watch today:

Honor roll

Boys top performers

  • Tryce Slykhuis exploded for 32 points in Sanborn Central/Woonsocket’s 58-49 win over Kimball/White Lake on Tuesday.

  • Bridgewater-Emery’s Tyler Kjetland scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed eight boards in the Huskies’ 79-41 win over Colman-Egan on Monday.

  • Paul Bruns, of Dakota Valley, poured in 40 points in a 78-70 win over West Central on Tuesday.

  • In a 76-70 loss to Elkton-Lake Benton on Tuesday, Dell Rapids St. Mary duo Connor Libis and Ashaun Roach-Valandra scored 32 and 23 points, respectively.

  • Redfield’s Peyton Osborn scored a game-high 32 points in a 81-59 win over Miller on Tuesday.

  • On Friday, Sioux Falls Christian’s Xavier Van Beek nailed six 3-pointers en route to 28 points. He shot 11-for-18 from the field.

  • In the Jones County Invitational, White River’s Joe Sayler scored 30 points in a 77-41 win over Kadoka Area. Colbe Scott also added 25 points in the win.

Girls top performers

  • In Class A No. 3 Winner’s 67-52 win over Class B No. 1 Corsica-Stickney on Thursday, Bella Swedlund paced the Warriors with 28 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals. Her teammate Kalla Bertram had 22 points, eight steals and seven boards. Avery Broughton led the Jaguars with 18 points, 14 boards and five assists.

  • Emilee Fox recorded 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and seven steals in Mount Vernon/Plankinton’s 50-48 win over Platte-Geddes. She also had 23 points, 10 boards and seven steals on Tuesday during a win over Wessington Springs.

  • Kimball/White Lake’s Kennedy Leiferman recorded a big double-double of 12 points and 17 rebounds in a 52-42 win over Gregory. Leiferman had a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double in a win over Sanborn Central/Woonsocket on Tuesday, as well.

  • Mya Knippling poured in 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in Chamberlain’s 41-35 win over Wall.