There was no reason to delay the inevitable for Joe Sayler.

On Aug. 11 heading into his sophomore year at White River, the 6-foot-3 guard committed to play basketball at South Dakota State University. His dream school gave him his first collegiate scholarship offer, and for Sayler, that’s all he needed to opt to close his recruitment.

“Out of all the teams that were going to offer me probably, I knew they were going to be my No. 1 if they were going to,” said Sayler, who grew up rooting for the Jackrabbits. “My dream school and first one to offer me, so I decided to commit early.”

Sayler is White River’s first Division-I commitment since Louie Krogman played at the University of South Dakota nearly a decade ago.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Despite having three more prep seasons at the time of his commitment, there was no thought about waiting to commit to the Jackrabbits. He had a “Let’s do this now,” attitude as he excitedly and nervously verbally committed.

Sayler enjoys the alleviated pressure that comes with recruiting off his shoulders for the rest of his White River career. He cited SDSU’s togetherness, along with their early interest as main reasons he chose the Jackrabbits.

And the added bonus: He gets to represent his home state.

“Coming from South Dakota, I wanted to play for my state,” Sayler said. “It was a blessing to see them offer me.”

White River's Joe Sayler throws down a dunk against Canistota earlier this season at the Corn Palace.
White River's Joe Sayler throws down a dunk against Canistota earlier this season at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

This season, Sayler was named a team captain. White River is 13-5, with a final regular season game against Lyman on Feb. 26.

“He’s a hard worker and he can score the ball. He can shoot it. He can drive it. He plays well with his teammates,” White River coach Eldon Marshall said. “… We look to him for a lot for a sophomore, and he does a lot for us.”

2,000-point club

Dakota Valley’s Paul Bruns and Menno’s Morgan Edelman both joined exclusive 2,000-point clubs this week.

Bruns is the 39th boys basketball player in state history to reach the 2,000-point club. The senior and University of North Dakota signee is averaging 28 points and 11 rebounds per game.

Edelman became the 30th girls basketball player in South Dakota history to reach 2,000 points, including the first in Menno history. She scored 29 points in a win over Freeman Academy/Marion on Thursday to give her 2,022 career points.

1,000-point club

Mount Vernon/Plankinton’s Emilee Fox and De Smet’s Kennadi Buchholz recently recorded their 1,000th career points.

Fox reached 1,000 points on Tuesday in a win over Bon Homme. She scored 21 points and dished out 11 assists in the win.

Buchholz hit the milestone on Feb. 13 in a 50-37 win over Howard.

Montagne breaks Dakota Valley assist record

Dakota Valley’s Chayce Montagne recently broke the school record for most career assists.

He broke the record in Dakota Valley’s 100-60 win over Sioux City West, Iowa, on Tuesday.

Montagne now has 325 assists in his Panther career.

Ortman becomes Canistota’s all-time leading scorer

In Canistota’s 75-24 win over Colman-Egan on Friday, Tyce Ortman became the program’s all-time leading scorer. He posted 17 points to go with five assists in the win.

Canistota's Tyce Ortman became the program's all-time leading scorer on Friday. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Canistota's Tyce Ortman became the program's all-time leading scorer on Friday. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Spader wins it at the buzzer

Howard and Platte-Geddes played a back-and-forth game on Saturday during the DWU Classic, but Tisyn Spader had the final bucket. The Howard senior nailed a pull-up floater over Caden Foxley to send the Tigers to a 49-47 win.

Boys

  • In a 22-point win over Madison, Jakob Dobney paced Vermillion with 29 points on 9 of 17 shooting. He also made all 10 of his free throws.

  • Eric Gustafson poured in 27 points in Ethan’s win over Freeman on Tuesday.

  • Mount Vernon/Plankinton’s Kolby Kayser exploded for 30 points on Tuesday in a win against Bon Homme.

  • Jacob Messmer posted a monster 32-point, 16-rebound double-double to guide Wessington Springs past Kimball/White Lake.

  • In Viborg-Hurley’s win over Menno, Gradee Sherman poured in 22 points and 19 rebounds.

  • Brady Fritz helped Winner outlast Platte-Geddes in double overtime on Tuesday. He had 27 points and six rebounds, as he also drilled five 3-pointers. On Friday, he recorded 36 points and five assists.

  • Gregory’s Daniel Mitchell exploded for 36 points and 12 rebounds on Friday against Bon Homme.

Gregory's Daniel Mitchell (23) collects a rebound against Bridgewater-Emery's Sutton Arend on Wednesday at the Corn Palace Classic. (Ryan Deal / Republic)
Gregory's Daniel Mitchell (23) collects a rebound against Bridgewater-Emery's Sutton Arend on Wednesday at the Corn Palace Classic. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

  • Caden Foxley recorded 20 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks in Platte-Geddes’ win over Wagner on Friday.

  • Connor Libis scored 30 points to help Dell Rapids St. Mary beat Baltic, 64-49.

Girls

  • In a win over Sunshine Bible Academy on Tuesday, Sully Buttes’ Stevie Wittler scored 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting.

  • Raven Barse exploded for 16 points and 20 rebounds in Corsica-Stickney’s 10-point win over Tripp-Delmont/Armour.

  • Centerville’s Haley Meyer scored 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a win over Dell Rapids St. Mary on Tuesday.

  • Bella Swedlund stuffed the stat sheet for Winner on Friday. She scored 29 points, grabbed nine rebounds and recorded five steals, while also draining six 3-pointers.