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Girls basketball playoff notebook: Avon, TDA to tangle again for state trip

For the second time this season, Avon and Tripp-Delmont/Armour will meet in girls basketball. And this time, it's for a trip to the state tournament. It's a battle between the old guard in Region 6B in the Pirates, who are the defending champions...

Tripp-Delmont/Armour's Brooklyn Brouwer (14) goes in for a layup during Friday's District 11B girls basketball championship game against Platte-Geddes at the Corn Palace. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)
Tripp-Delmont/Armour's Brooklyn Brouwer (14) goes in for a layup during Friday's District 11B girls basketball championship game against Platte-Geddes at the Corn Palace. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

For the second time this season, Avon and Tripp-Delmont/Armour will meet in girls basketball.

And this time, it's for a trip to the state tournament.

It's a battle between the old guard in Region 6B in the Pirates, who are the defending champions and in the game for a third straight season against the upstart Nighthawks, who don't have a senior on the roster and are enjoying their best season in years. The game is at 7:30 p.m. today at the Corn Palace.

"We will have to play our best game of the season to beat them," TDA coach Kristi Allen said. "There's no question that they challenge us and their guards are so good that we're going to have our hands full."

The Pirates won the first meeting this season 46-36 in February in Armour.

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"They are pretty athletic and they like to attack the basket. We can't put them at the free-throw line a lot," Avon head coach Brad Poppe said. "The first time we played them, we put them there quite a bit. We are working hard at keeping people in front of us and defend them that way."

The teams are similar in their efforts to emphasize defense and rebounding. TDA averages 55 points per game and is shooting 44 percent. Avon scores 53.2 points per game and allows 35.1 points per contest.

"We have to rebound and we can't put them on the free-throw line," Poppe said. "Those are the big keys and we'll have to take care of the basketball."

Balance holds the key for SCW

Sanborn Central/Woonsocket will get a strong test in the region final to potentially go to the state tournament for a second straight year.

The Blackhawks will meet De Smet at 7 p.m. Friday in Madison and SCW co-head coach Rob Baruth said the team has been emphasizing its balanced attack. Senior forward Myah Selland gets attention averaging nearly 20 points per game and nearly eight rebounds per contest. But SCW is averaging 61 points per game, with nine points per game each from Megan Poyer and Abby Doering.

"We know we have to be balanced and that's what we've been seeking," Baruth said. "We're going to need to shoot the ball well and from the outside and that makes it a bit easier for Myah and Megan to get to the basket."

De Smet lost to Warner on Jan. 14 at the Hanson Classic in Mitchell 70-65 and has only dropped one game since, winning 10 of 11 games. The Bulldogs advanced on a 38-21 win over Castlewood on Saturday in the District 5B championship.

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"De Smet is very well-balanced and good defensively," Baruth said. "They're long and athletic and they can defend a lot of teams with a lot of different players. In the region game, we know we're going to have to come out and play 32 minutes and really play hard for that time."

Mirror images meet in Class A Sweet 16

The comparisons between Madison's and McCook Central/Montrose's girls basketball teams are pretty striking for Fighting Cougars coach Doug Durfee.

Both have strong post players, both have athletic guards that can score and both value the basketball. The team that does those elements better than the other will likely advance to the Class A state tournament on Friday night. Fighting Cougars and Bulldogs will meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Sioux Falls Christian High School in the inaugural Sweet 16 round.

Madison is strong on the glass, grabbing 41.5 rebounds per game and averaging plus-8 in rebounding margin.

"They're really good," Durfee said. "They have size and some speed and they're pretty similar to us. We're going to have to rebound well. In the games we've struggled this season, we've missed the hustle plays and the box outs that we need to be successful, so that's a goal on Friday."

Despite being only about 40 miles apart, McCook Central/Montrose and Madison aren't regular opponents on each other's girls' basketball schedules. Durfee said his team should be fine if it follows its gameplan and is excited about the format.

"It gives that round more of a state tournament feel," Durfee said. "We don't see (Madison) in the regular season and so we're preparing for an unfamiliar opponent and doing the scouting, a little more game-planning. I think we're going to see some good games because everyone at this point of the season is a good team."

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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