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High school notebook: Wagner's St. Pierre makes statement at 220 pounds

WAGNER--Entering Saturday's Wagner Tournament, Wagner's K.J. St. Pierre not only had the advantage of wrestling on his own turf, but he was also the top-ranked 220-pound wrestler in Class B, according to Dakota Grappler.

Wagner junior K.J. St. Pierre puts Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes' Tyler Resick in a headlock during a 220-pound semifinal match on Saturday in the Wagner Tournament. (Nick Sabato / Republic)
Wagner junior K.J. St. Pierre puts Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes' Tyler Resick in a headlock during a 220-pound semifinal match on Saturday in the Wagner Tournament. (Nick Sabato / Republic)

WAGNER-Entering Saturday's Wagner Tournament, Wagner's K.J. St. Pierre not only had the advantage of wrestling on his own turf, but he was also the top-ranked 220-pound wrestler in Class B, according to Dakota Grappler.

St. Pierre lived up to his billing, defeating No. 2 Tyler Resick, of Kimball/White Lake/Platte-Geddes, in the semifinals. In the finals, the junior toppled the No. 3 wrestler in the class and last year's state runner-up, Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Corsica-Stickney's Jesse Hastings, avenging a prior loss on Tuesday.

Now sitting at 22-3 on the season, St. Pierre is in the driver's seat to be considered the favorite at the state tournament, where he placed seventh at 195 pounds a year ago.

"I think he's made a lot of improvements since the beginning of the season," Wagner head coach Robert Kokesh said. "Big matches like that are good for him. It builds confidence for him-knowing that he's up there and he can beat those kinds of guys."

In the semifinals, St. Pierre overcame an early deficit to score seven points in a row on Resick to win by decision, 7-1, to set up the much-anticipated rematch with Hastings in the finals.

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In the first match against Hastings, St. Pierre dropped a 6-3 decision, and he fell into a small hole early in the finals on Saturday.

Hastings came out aggressive, looking for an early takedown, but St. Pierre blocked the attempts, and then in the second period, was able to bring Hastings to the mat and scored a pin at the 3:21 mark.

"He outmuscles me by far, but I would say my technique is better than his," St. Pierre said of Hastings.

Technique is something St. Pierre heavily relies upon, looking to wear down opponents and capitalize on mistakes late in matches.

Nine of his 22 wins have come by decision, including a pair of wins over Resick, along with victories against Hastings and Mitchell's Carter Max, the top-ranked 220-pounder in Class A.

"He's got great length and he uses that to his advantage in a great way," Kokesh said. "He wrestles pretty relaxed. He's not real tense and I think that's a big plus for him. Going into that match, I think he felt real comfortable."

Wagner finished second in the team standings and is slated to host Vermillion on Thursday in a dual.

Parkston racks up four titles at Wagner

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WAGNER-Parkston brought eight wrestlers to the Wagner Tournament on Saturday, but four left without suffering a loss.

The Trojans saw Riley Weber (106), Porter Neugebauer (106B), Lucas Bietz (160) and Slayton Neugebauer (195) win championships, while Cordell Murtha placed fourth at 145 pounds.

"We're low on numbers, but we try to make it up with our quality," Parkston head coach James Boehmer said. "...Overall, I was impressed with their performances. It's the time of the year where you need to start putting everything together. We had some ups and downs, but the boys put it together (Saturday)."

Weber and Bietz are both ranked atop their weight classes, with the former recording a 19-2 record thus far, while Bietz is 27-1. Both are returning place-finishers at last season's state tournament, while Neugebauer is seeking his first trip to the tournament.

"We need those guys to perform well," Boehmer said. "They're the guys we really to depend on to carry the load, so other guys that are coming up and learning, can learn from them."

Parkston is scheduled to participate in the Big Dakota Conference Tournament on Saturday in Fort Pierre.

B-E boys get signature wins, MCM girls lose first game

As playoff time approaches for basketball squads across the state, the Class B No. 3 Bridgewater-Emery boys basketball team was in need of some impact wins heading into the weekend and came out with a pair of them.

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The Huskies recorded a 62-52 home win against 10-3 Hanson on Friday and followed it up with an 85-77 victory against No. 5 Pine Ridge at the Dakota State University Classic on Saturday in Madison.

Sawyer Schultz scored a total 50 points in the two games, including a 28-point, eight-assist, five-rebound performance against Pine Ridge.

Meanwhile, the McCook Central/Montrose girls basketball team made its first appearance in the rankings this week, but dropped its first game of the season to Beresford on Saturday in the finals of the Big East Conference Tournament.

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