Full-Court Press: Lyman scores memorable win over Sully Buttes


Onida epitomizes Class B basketball. Its gymnasium is a daunting environment for any opposing team.

The Sully Buttes boys and girls basketball teams have combined to win six state titles since 2007, and their home-court advantage is as tough as any in the state.

Just ask Lyman High School how tough it is to play in Onida.

The Lyman boys basketball team hadn’t won a game there since Dec. 12, 2006.

But the Raiders exorcised those demons and edged No. 3-ranked Sully Buttes 62-61 in overtime on Tuesday in a classic Class B game. Oh, and the Lyman girls didn’t mind playing on the road Tuesday, either. They also defeated the Chargers by a score of 43-41 earlier in the night to record a rare doubleheader sweep in Onida.


“It’s a very tough place to play,” Lyman boys coach Cooper Garnos said. “Let’s look back 15-20 years. You look at Onida girls, boys and you have to make a good argument they may be one of the best programs -- if not the best program in the state -- over the last 15-20 years. Great coaching. Great kids.”

Lyman's Stockton McClanahan (14) blocks a shot attempt from Sully Buttes' Nick Wittler on Tuesday in Onida.

The Raider boys needed a second-half rally to pull out the victory. The Chargers -- powered by all-stater Nick Wittler -- led 31-19 at halftime as the guard scored 24 of his 38 points in the first half.

That forced Lyman to adjust its defense.

“We doubled him. We did a little box-and-one on him,” Garnos said. “I think it maybe got Sully Buttes out of their game a little bit where you get it out of arguably the best player’s hands and you let somebody else start making the decisions for the team. So I think that was the key and we crawled back in it.”

After getting within 47-40 at the end of the third quarter, Lyman forced overtime at 56-all to set the stage for the dramatic finish.

“The fourth quarter we got a little bit of momentum, got into overtime and it carried over,” Garnos said. “It was quite a finish -- a photo finish.”


Wittler made a field goal in the waning moments, and Lyman’s Sam McClanahan made just his second field goal of the game at the buzzer.

“Wittler hit a really nice shot on us, and we went down the other way with 15 seconds left and we were passing the ball around,” McClanahan recalled. “Kaden Choal was getting double-teamed and I just got the ball from him and shot.”

Garnos didn’t call a timeout after Wittler’s made basket as they didn’t want Sully Buttes to set up its defense. The Raiders have also practiced the situation in practice and McClanahan executed it perfectly.

“We always stress to find that lane, get into that gap where you can create something for yourself or you are going to create something for your teammate, and Sam McClanahan did exactly that,” Garnos said. “He drove to the basket, made a nice spin move and hit just a clutch 10-footer kind of leaning in and that was it.”

It lifted Lyman to a 3-0 record and could be a nice momentum boost for a successful season. Notable matchups for the Raiders this season are when they play at the Hoop City Classic and Dakota Wesleyan University Classic in Mitchell, and the Jones County Invitational.


Hanson’s Reggie Slaba and Cheyenne-Eagle Butte’s Spencer Moran are our leaders in the clubhouse for South Dakota’s Dr. Dunk this season.


Slaba, who is also an outstanding distance runner and football player, put down his first career dunk in Hanson’s 66-46 victory over McCook Central/Montrose on Dec. 17. Slaba scored 25 points in the win over MCM after opening the season with 12 in another victory over Ethan.

Slaba hammered home two more jams in Hanson’s win over Menno on Friday.

Moran put down not one, not two, but three (!) dunks in Cheyenne-Eagle Butte’s season-opening 91-37 win over Miller on Dec. 14. The high-flying forward also threw down a breakaway jam for the Braves during the Lakota Nation Invitational on Dec. 18.

Female Native American crew works another game

On Dec. 17, Genevieve DeMent-Osborn, Amber Sierra and Mary Freddie officiated the Pierre vs. Huron girls basketball game in Pierre. It was the third time in state history a varsity basketball contest was officiated by a three-person crew of all-female Native American officials. The same crew worked a Harrisburg at Pierre girls contest last season and a Lakota Nation Invitational girls game in 2017.

The three officials took a photo prior to the contest on Tuesday. South Dakota High School Activities Association Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand’s daughter, Rebecca, also got in on the picture.

“Becca wouldn’t believe me there were three women officials for the game,” Krogstrand wrote. “So I took her to the locker room to show her I wasn't making it up. After seeing I wasn't kidding, she turned to me and said, ‘Daddy, I want to be a referee when I grow up,’ and then asked the gals for a whistle. Obviously won them over, and they wanted her in the pre-game pic.”

From left to right, Mary Freddie, Amber Sierra and Genevieve Dement-Osborne officiated the Pierre vs. Huron girls basketball game on Dec. 17. It was the third time in state history a varsity basketball contest was officiated by a three-person crew of all-female and All-Native American officials. South Dakota High School Activities Association Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand's daughter, Rebecca, is also shown with the officials.

Nielson nets 1,000th career point

Max Nielson added his name to the 1,000-point scorers in Sioux Valley boys basketball history on Dec. 19.

The senior netted 19 points in Sioux Valley’s 86-44 win over Baltic and also reached the 1,000-point milestone in the game.

Nielson is now one of 12 players in Sioux Valley boys basketball history to reach 1,000 career points. The other Cossacks to score 1,000 career points include: Russ Strande, Henry Lengkeek, Curtis Hillerud, Ryan Raabe, J.F. Jensen, Andy Kleinjan, Ben Miller, Tayt Vincent, Collin Kramer, Trevor Olson, Trevor Hanson and Max Nielson.

Vincent, Kramer, Olson, Hanson and Nielson were all starters on Sioux Valley’s 2016 State A tourney team, according to Cossack coach Bill Vincent. Kramer (DWU), Vincent (Augustana) and Hanson (Augustana) are currently playing college basketball. Nielson will play basketball next season at Dakota State.


In case you missed it, here are some links to recent prep basketball stories from The Daily Republic:

Weekly honor roll

The top performances continue to roll in early in the season. Here’s a look back at some top performers from this past week:

Boys top performers

  • Dakota Valley’s Paul Bruns erupted for a school-record 44 points in a 77-49 win over Canton on Friday. He also stuffed the stat sheet again in an 87-32 victory over Beresford on Dec. 17. The junior guard finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and four steals in the win.

  • Sully Buttes guard Nick Wittler posted 38 points (24 in the first half) and five steals in a losing effort against Lyman on Dec. 17.

  • Pine Ridge’s Charles Schrader posted 20 points, 15 rebounds and 5 steals in Pine Ridge's 82-64 win over St. Francis at the LNI on Dec. 18.

  • Tash Lunday put in 20 points and collected 13 rebounds in Flandreau’s 46-37 victory over Beresford on Dec. 19.

  • Brady Hawkins recorded a double-double (30 points, 15 rebounds) to power Ethan to a 76-47 win over Andes Central/Dakota Christian on Dec. 17.

  • Bennett Schwenn finished with 20 points and 14 boards in Milbank’s 52-50 victory over Aberdeen Roncalli on Dec. 19. Roncalli's Gray Imbery had 28 points and 12 rebounds in a losing effort.

  • Sanborn Central/Woonsocket’s Noah Dickson finished with 31 points and 13 boards in a losing effort against Corsica-Stickney on Dec. 19.

  • Connor Libis poured in 26 points for Dell Rapids St. Mary in a 67-34 win over Oldham/Ramona-Rutland on Friday.

Sanborn Central/Woonsocket's Noah Dickson drives past a Corsica-Stickney defender on Thursday in Woonsocket.

Girls top performers

  • Kelsie Herman poured in 41 points in Todd County’s 73-53 win over St. Francis at the LNI on Dec. 18. Herman added 38 points for the Falcons the next night in a 71-66 loss against Pine Ridge. Herman continued to put in points as she netted 34 in an 81-57 loss against Little Wound on Friday.

  • Caelyn Valandra-Prue is already off to a torrid start this season. The junior recorded 33 points, five rebounds and four steals in White River's 75-25 win over Oelrichs at the LNI on Dec. 18. She added 26 points and 10 boards in White River’s 50-38 win over Cheyenne-Eagle Butte the next night. Valandra-Prue had another big game (34 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals) in a loss against Pine Ridge on Friday.

  • Corsica-Stickney’s Avery Broughton posted 23 points and 14 rebounds in a 66-30 win over Sanborn Central/Woonsocket on Dec. 19. The freshman also notched a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds against Avon earlier in the week.

  • Kaylee Wells led Crow Creek with 26 points, seven steals and five boards in a 76-40 win over Omaha Nation at the LNI on Dec. 18.

  • Bridgewater-Emery’s Julia Weber collected 25 points, five rebounds and five steals in a 73-52 win over Canistota on Friday.

  • McCook Central/Montrose’s Madisen Koepsell notched a double-double with 21 points and 10 boards in a 59-38 win over Howard on Friday.

  • Ady Dwight (28 points/11 rebounds) led Langford Area to a 58-51 win over Ipswich on Friday. Halle Heinz tossed in 27 points for Ipswich.

Howard's Trinity Palmquist (14), McCook Central/Montrose's Madisen Koepsell and Howard's Riley Laible (22) battle for a loose ball on Friday in Salem. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

What’s ahead

Some items to keep an eye through the next week of hoops:

  • The 32-team, four-day Lakota Nation Invitational wraps up today with Championship Saturday. White River plays Tiospa Zina in the boys championship game, while Red Cloud plays Crow Creek in the girls title game. The Tigers will be playing for their eighth LNI championship in their 11th title appearance on the boys side. Tiospa Zina, meanwhile, will be playing in its first-ever title appearance. Red Cloud is playing in its 16th LNI girls basketball championship. The Crusaders have won five LNI championships. Crow Creek is playing in its third LNI championship and has one title.

  • Sioux Falls O’Gorman vs. Sioux Falls Christian boys. The Class AA No. 5 Knights (preseason No. 1) are off to a 1-2 start after losing to Lincoln on Friday. The No. 2 Class A Chargers are 3-0 after knocking off Elk-Point Jefferson (75-41) on Friday. It’s always intriguing when AA and A teams meet and this one between two Sioux Falls powers won’t be any different.

  • Christmas break is upon us, but that doesn’t mean a break from basketball. We’ve got basketball classics galore after Christmas, including the Hoop City Classic at the Corn Palace on Dec. 27-29. So open your gifts, drink your eggnog and hit up some basketball games afterward. Merry Christmas.

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