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Blackhawks' Selland wins Daily Republic player of the year

FORESTBURG--There may not have been a South Dakota girls basketball player that single-handedly carried her team like Myah Selland did with Sanborn Central/Woonsocket.

Sanborn Central/Woonsocket's Myah Selland is the Daily Republic's 2016 girls basketball player of the year. (Matt Gade/Republic)
Sanborn Central/Woonsocket's Myah Selland is the Daily Republic's 2016 girls basketball player of the year. (Matt Gade/Republic)

FORESTBURG-There may not have been a South Dakota girls basketball player that single-handedly carried her team like Myah Selland did with Sanborn Central/Woonsocket.

The 6-foot-2 junior doubled as a point guard and a post player - a point forward, of sorts - for the Sanborn Central/Woonsocket girls basketball team. All five players on opposing South Dakota Class B girls basketball teams never took their eyes off her when she was on the court.

It rarely mattered.

Because she's so multi-dimensional, opposing teams rarely slowed her down, even when deploying double- and triple-teams. When defenders closed in on Selland in the post, she often made a pass to a wide-open teammate on the perimeter for an open look. If teams tried to play her with a single defender, the rangy junior was able to beat her opponent to the basket for two points.

But the highlight for Selland this season was carrying the Blackhawks to a 21-5 record and a third-place finish at the Class B state tournament. The state tournament appearance was more refreshing to SCW after it didn't qualify for state in the 2014-15 season. The Blackhawks defeated Wall 55-41 in the opening round, fell to Ethan 56-29 in the semifinals and came back to beat Avon 49-42 in overtime in the third-place game.

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"Getting back to that state tournament was really fun," Selland said. "Getting that overtime victory was a perfect end to the season. I'll always remember the memories we had in Huron."

It's likely the Blackhawks wouldn't have made the state tournament without Selland, as she led the team in five different categories. This year, she averaged 23.8 points, 3.8 assists, 8.4 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.3 blocks per contest. No other player on her team averaged more than seven points per game.

"She was pretty talented as a sophomore, but I think she expanded her game even more this year," SCW co-head coach Tim McCain said. "She was a little bit more of a consistent perimeter shooter. She's a great passer and a great leader on the floor. We count on her to be consistent both offensively and defensively."

Because of Selland's individual impact, she has been named The Daily Republic girls basketball player of the year for the second consecutive season. The award is voted on by the newspaper's sports staff, and all Mitchell-area girls basketball players are considered. Players are given five points for a first-place vote, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth. Seven players received points in the poll, with Selland earning two first-place votes for 14 points.

Other players receiving votes include Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Megan Bultsma (11 points), Ethan's Karly Gustafson (10 and the other first-place vote), Avon's Heidi Cap (3), Hanson's Kynedi Cheeseman (3), Winner's Allison Cox (3) and Wagner's Ali Kuca (1).

But Selland's all-around play set her apart from the rest of the candidates. Entering her senior season, Selland has 1,700 career points, 751 rebounds and 411 assists. In 2015-16, she broke her own team record from a year ago for points per game with 23.8.

McCain said Selland developed into a better 3-point shooter this year, as she converted 39-of-106 3-point attempts this season. She was a 58 percent shooter from the field.

The only thing missing from Selland's playing career is a state championship, which will be a goal for her and SCW in her senior season.

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"It's crazy, it's surreal and it's sad I only have one year left," Selland said. "The community and the program surrounding me here is unbelievable. Hopefully, we make the most of the chance we have next season."

In her senior season, Selland said she'd like to work on her ballhandling and passing.

Before Selland can focus on next season, there are a couple of obstacles in her path. First and foremost, she is scheduled to have surgery on her hip that will prevent her from playing in summer league basketball.

"It's kind of been creeping up for a while I guess," Selland said. "(My hip) got progressively worse as the season went on. We had some problems with it, but it's time to get it taken care of I guess. I'll have to sit the summer out, which is a bummer."

Perhaps more importantly, Selland will also face perhaps the biggest decision of her life: where to play college basketball.

In-state colleges University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University are known to be interested in Selland, while other Division I out-of-state schools have inquired about her.

While there's no internal deadline set by Selland, she'd like to make the decision by the start of the school year.

"I do have a pretty big decision here coming up," Selland said. "I think we'll sit down, weigh out all the options and make the right decision.

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"I don't know if I have a specific timetable, but hopefully sooner rather than later. I don't think it will be too long before I narrow it down and make a decision. I can have a free senior year so I won't worry about where I'll go or any of that."

She added she has talked extensively about her decision with her sister, Shelby-who now plays at Augustana University-because she has gone through similar things in the recruiting process. Regardless of where she goes to school, Selland said she'd like to major in athletic training or exercise science.

"I can't imagine what the pressure has to be like on what school she wants to go to," McCain said. "The number of offers she's had and the number of schools that have come to see her play, it has to be overwhelming. But at the same time, I'm sure it has to be exciting."

Here is a look at the six other players that received votes in the voting:

• MVP's Megan Bultsma, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, helped the Titans to the Region 5A championship game, while finishing second in the voting with 11 points. The future South Dakota State Jackrabbit averaged 17 points - on 73 percent field goal shooting - and 8.1 rebounds per game for MVP.

• Ethan's Karly Gustafson helped lead the Ethan Rustlers to a second straight Class B state championship appearance this season as a freshman, and received one first-place vote. Gustafson averaged 15.7 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Rustlers, while finishing third in the voting with 10 points.

• Hanson's Kynedi Cheeseman dominated the post for Hanson as a 5-foot-9 senior. Cheeseman averaged 21.4 points and and 7.9 rebounds for the Beavers last season. A Dakota Wesleyan recruit, she finished tied for fourth in the voting with three points.

• Avon's Heidi Cap averaged a double-double per game while helping Avon reach the Class B state semifinals. Cap contributed 11.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game in the 2015-16 season. Headed to Minnesota State-Mankato, Cap earned three points in the voting.

• Winner's Allison Cox led a surging Winner team to a runner-up finish in Class A this season. The 5-foot-8 senior guard scored 15.1 points and grabbed 9.6 rebounds per game for Winner and tied for fourth in the voting with three points.

• Wagner's Ali Kuca rounded out the voting as she earned a point after scoring 18.6 points and grabbing 9.1 rebounds per game. Kuca will play college basketball at Mount Marty.

Past winners

1994: Erin Olson, Mitchell

1995: NaTascha Dawson, Howard

1996: Mandy Koupal, Wagner

1997: Mandy Koupal, Wagner

1998: Mandy Koupal, Wagner

1999: Lacey Johnson, Wessington Springs

2000: Lacey Johnson, Wessington Springs

2001: Vanessa Yanes, Wagner

(2002 Season Switch)

2003: Jenna Hoffman, Mitchell

2004: Jeana Hoffman, Mitchell

2005: Allison Johnson, Mount Vernon

2006: Jill Young, Mitchell Christian

2007: Megan Doyle, Hanson

2008: Terri VerSteeg, Platte-Geddes

2009: Rhianna Gullickson, Hanson

2010: Hillary Paulson, Freeman

2011: Kerri Young, Mitchell

2012: Kerri Young, Mitchell

2013: Macy Miller, Mitchell

2014: Macy Miller, Mitchell

2015: Myah Selland, Sanborn Central/Woonsocket

2016: Myah Selland, Sanborn Central/Woonsocket.

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