High school basketball roundup: Kernel basketball leaders honored as region coaches of the year

Neuendorf, Knippling selected for Region 7 honors

Mitchell boys basketball coach Todd Neuendorf watches the action during a game this past season at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Both Mitchell High School basketball coaches have been named regional coaches of the year for the 2020-21 season.

Cole Knippling and Todd Neuendorf were named the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association’s Region 7 coach of the year for 2020-21 in girls basketball and boys basketball, respectively.

Knippling, who completed his second season at the helm of the Kernel girls, helped MHS return to the Class AA state tournament after a one-year hiatus. Mitchell finished 16-8, doubling the team’s win total from a season ago and finished sixth at the state tournament. Knippling’s Kernels are now 24-19 in his two seasons as head coach.

Mitchell girls basketball coach Cole Knippling shouts instructions during a game this past season at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)


Neuendorf completed his fourth season leading the Kernel boys, piloting them to the Class AA state tournament for the first time since 2012. The MHS boys finished at 16-8 and seventh in the state tournament, marking a breakthrough season for the program. Like the Kernel girls, Mitchell doubled its win total from 2019-20, and 16 of the program’s 26 wins under Neuendorf came during the 2020-21 campaign.

Other area honorees included Chamberlain’s Steve Schoenhard, who was named the boys assistant coach of the year for Region 7; Parkston’s Joe Shepardson, who was named the girls assistant coach of the year for Region 7; and Howard’s Ryan Spader, who was one of three honorees for the boys assistant coach of the year in Region 5. Wagner’s Tera Koupal was honored as the girls lower-level coach of the year for Regions 5-8.

The SDBBCA also has announced its academic all-state honorees. The honor goes to senior basketball team members who have had a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better and have at least three years of high school participation as a player, manager or statistician.

Mitchell’s boys basketball honorees included Zane Alm, Ben Helleloid, Lucas Moller, and statisticians Katy Sebert and Morgan Lambert. Girls basketball honorees included five senior members of the team in Adaya Plastow, Macy Kempf, Camryn Krogman, Avia Haley and Ella Flippin.

Finalists announced for South Dakota Mr. and Miss Basketball

The finalists for the South Dakota Mr. Basketball and Miss Basketball awards have been announced.

All nominees are seniors. The award, as selected by South Dakota basketball coaches, will be presented for the 45th time in May.

The 10 boys Mr. Basketball nominees include (listed alphabetically by school): Jackson Hilton, Brandon Valley, Tyce Ortman, Canistota; Paul Bruns, Dakota Valley; Colin Rentz, Dell Rapids; Connor Libis, Dell Rapids St. Mary; Tyler Feldkamp, Sioux Falls Roosevelt; Kelton Vincent, Sioux Valley; Matthew Mors, Yankton; Jakob Dobney, Vermillion, and Brady Fritz, Winner.

The 10 girls Miss Basketball nominees include: Brooklyn Kusler, Aberdeen Central; Alana Benike, Castlewood; Brecli Honner, Harrisburg; Madisen Koepsell, McCook Central/Montrose; Morgan Edelman, Menno; Lexi Unruh, Sioux Falls Christian; Isabelle Moore, Sioux Falls O’Gorman; Sydni Schetnan, Sioux Falls Washington; Haleigh Timmer, St. Thomas More; and Caelyn Valandra-Prue, White River.


Part of Hoophall Classic coming to South Dakota in December

Another high level high school basketball event will be coming to South Dakota in December, as the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced that part of its annual high school Hoophall event will be played at the Sanford Pentagon.

The event is scheduled for Dec. 16-18, 2021 in Sioux Falls. The format and participating teams have not been announced, but the Naismith Hall of Fame said local and regional talent will play over three days

Regional Hoophall events are also scheduled for Scottsdale, Arizona, Lewes, Delaware and Bentonville, Arkansas. The main event, the Hoophall Classic, will continue to be played in Springfield, Mass. on Jan. 13-17, 2022.

The event has a history of showcasing eventual NBA talent, including 10 No. 1 NBA Draft picks, including Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Zion Williamson and Anthony Edwards.

The Pentagon, and the Corn Palace, have served as hosts in recent years to the Hoop City Classic, which is traditionally played in the final week of December. The 2020 event, scheduled to be the 11th version, was canceled due to COVID-19, although some participating teams still played at the Corn Palace separate from the Hoop City banner.

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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