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DEAL: 2016-17 hoops season had plenty of bests

Man, what a blast. The past four months were jam-packed with fun hoops action all across the state and it all culminated last week with the state boys basketball tournaments. March is the best time of the year for many South Dakotans. It's when w...

Platte-Geddes' Cooper Kanthak (44) and the rest of the Black Panthers celebrate their 49-35 win over the Gregory Gorillas as the student section rushes the court following the Region 6B championship game on Tuesday night at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Platte-Geddes' Cooper Kanthak (44) and the rest of the Black Panthers celebrate their 49-35 win over the Gregory Gorillas as the student section rushes the court following the Region 6B championship game on March 7 at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Man, what a blast.

The past four months were jam-packed with fun hoops action all across the state and it all culminated last week with the state boys basketball tournaments.

March is the best time of the year for many South Dakotans. It's when we turn our full attention to postseason tournaments as months of high school basketball reaches its pinnacle.

So before we get too far removed from all the excitement, here is a look back at some of the best of the best from the 2016-17 South Dakota basketball season.

Best game: Bridgewater-Emery's undefeated season was put to the test on the state's biggest stage, but the Huskies had a comeback for the ages. They trailed by 13 with four minutes left in the third quarter, but rallied from the deficit to pull off a 63-58 win over Wolsey-Wessington in the State B boys basketball title game. B-E's comeback is one of the largest in recent State B title game history, joining Sully Buttes' 13-point come-from-behind win over White River in 2009 and White River's 11-point comeback win over Hitchcock-Tulare in 2010. Stickney had a 17-point rally over Dell Rapids St. Mary in the 2002 title game.

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Best individual performance you may have missed: On Feb. 18, Bison's Josh McKinstry broke a state record and it may have gone unnoticed by some. The 6-foot-2 senior guard drilled a state-record 14 3-pointers in the Cardinals' 88-44 win over Tiospaye Topa. The previous state record was set by Wakonda's Troy Humpal, who nailed 12 3-pointers in 1988. McKinstry finished with a school-record 51 points in the victory.

Best individual performance: South Dakotans have gotten spoiled watching Sanborn Central/Woonsocket's Myah Selland fill the stat sheet during her time as a Blackhawk. The future South Dakota State Jackrabbit routinely led SCW in every category. On Jan. 14, she put on a show during the Hanson Classic at the Corn Palace. The 6-foot-1 Selland lifted SCW to a 72-66 overtime win over Crofton-a Nebraska girls basketball powerhouse. Selland registered 40 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, five steals and two blocked shots. Selland also nailed four 3-pointers and her triple at the end of regulation sent the game into overtime.

Best championship performance: Sully Buttes' 1-2 punch of Chloe Lamb and Racquel Wientjes guided the Chargers to their second straight state title. The senior guards combined to score 44 points in Sully Buttes' 63-48 win over Sanborn Central/Woonsocket in the State B girls basketball title game. Lamb, who will play basketball at the University of South Dakota, scored 19 points and dished out eight assists. Wientjes, who will play hoops at Black Hills State University, netted 25 points and canned five 3-pointers.

Best pep band: Once again, Warner had Wachs Arena rocking on Friday during the State B boys basketball tournament in Aberdeen. The band also did another awesome job at performing its trumpet national anthem prior to each session.

Best upset: The Platte-Geddes Black Panthers pulled off one of the state's biggest upsets with their 58-56 double overtime win over then-No. 2 Corsica-Stickney in the District 11B boys title game. Platte-Geddes, which lost seven of their first 11 games of the season, finished seventh at the state tournament.

Best quote: "It was a special group of guys and coach Cutler is one of the best," Platte-Geddes senior Cooper Kanthak said after playing his final game for Frank Cutler and the Black Panthers.

Best atmosphere: Region championship games provide the best environments. There is tension in the air as it's win or go home for the two teams. On March 7, two of the top teams in Class B squared off in the Region 4B title in Madison. It was Bridgewater-Emery that came away with a 69-64 win over a tough Chester Area squad in front of a packed house in Madison.

Best team not to make it: Speaking of Chester Area, the Flyers did not make back-to-back state tournament appearances as a result of that defeat. Chester Area had a state-title contending team and deserved to play in Aberdeen. Sweet 16, anyone?

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Best hospitality room: Wachs Arena in Aberdeen not only provides the best atmosphere for any state tournament, it also has the best hospitality room. Friday's brat day has become a staple at the tournament, but no chicken tortilla soup this year was a bummer.

See you all next season.

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