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Class AA girls basketball midseason update: Reigning champion Washington leads seed points at No. 1

No. 1 Washington has a small lead over No. 2 O'Gorman and No. 3 Brandon Valley, and the Rapid City schools round out the top-five.

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Sioux Falls Washington's Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda shoots over Sioux Falls O'Gorman's Raegen Reilly (5) during the Class AA state tournament on March 12, 2021 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting photo

MITCHELL — Midway through the 2021-22 season, the top-five teams in Class AA girls basketball are looking stout.

Prior to the games on Jan. 28, the top-five teams have no more than one loss this year and have not lost to a team with a .500 record or worse.

Reigning state champion and No. 1 team in the seed-point standings Sioux Falls Washington (11-1) has 44.8 seed points while No. 2 Sioux Falls O’Gorman (10-1) has 43.6 seed points and No. 3 Brandon Valley (11-1) has 43.2 seed points. No. 4 Rapid City Stevens (10-1) and No. 5 Rapid City Central (10-1) are tied with the same seed-points at 42.7.

Washington has benefited from 10 wins over Class AA opponents, including beating Sioux Falls Lincoln and Sioux Falls Jefferson twice. They’ve also beaten Huron and Harrisburg, which gives them six wins over top-10 teams in Class AA. The Warriors have scored at least 64 points in eight of its 11 wins.

Top-seeded Washington’s one loss came at the hands of O’Gorman 61-52 at home on Jan. 10, but will have its rematch against the Knights on Feb. 11. That loss ended Washington’s four consecutive weeks of being an unanimous No. 1 in the South Dakota Prep Media Basketball Poll. In the latest poll from the week of Jan. 24, O’Gorman was No. 1, Washington was No. 2 and Brandon Valley was No. 3.

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Washington also plays Brandon Valley on Feb. 8. Brandon Valley and O’Gorman have already played their one matchup of the year in the season opener and O’Gorman took down the Lynx 70-66.

Teams outside of the top-five that are worth noting include Watertown (7-4), Sioux Falls Jefferson (7-6), Sioux Falls Lincoln (6-5) and Harrisburg (4-6).

Watertown, which is No. 6 in the seed points, is the only team not in the top-five with three wins over opponents with a .500 record or better. Sioux Falls Jefferson handed Rapid City Central its lone loss of the season back on Jan. 7 and Sioux Falls Lincoln, along with Harrisburg, are the only two teams outside of the top-five that’s won three games on the road thus far. Jefferson, Lincoln and No. 10-ranked Huron (7-5) are the teams outside of the top-five that’s won more than six games this season.

Mitchell (5-6) currently sit as the 11th team in the standings, having won four straight contests over Class AA opponents. The Kernels' win streak helped them climb out a position that was outside the top-16 teams, capped with a victory over Harrisburg on Jan. 25.

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Mitchell Head Coach Cole Knippling talks to his players before the national anthem during a game against Sturgis on Friday, January 21, 2022 at the Corn Palace.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

Mitchell, who is only 0.018 seed-points above No. 12-ranked Brookings, play their last five games of the regular season against the current top-five teams in Class AA. Only two of those matchups, against Washington and Brandon Valley, will be held at home at the Corn Palace.

Teams that are fighting to solidify a spot in the postseason and sit 13 through 16 in the Class AA standings, are Yankton (3-8), Sioux Falls Roosevelt (1-10), Pierre (3-8) and Douglas (2-7).

The three remaining schools on the outside looking to somehow be a part of the SoDak 16 are Spearfish (3-8), Aberdeen Central (2-11) and Sturgis Brown (2-12).

SoDak 16 pairings if the season ended Thursday, Jan. 27:

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No. 1 Sioux Falls Washington vs. No. 16 Douglas.

No. 2 Sioux Falls O’Gorman vs. No. 15 Pierre.

No. 3 Brandon Valley vs. No. 14 Sioux Falls Roosevelt.

No. 4 Rapid City Central vs. No. 13 Yankton.

No. 5 Rapid City Stevens vs. No. 12 Brookings.

No. 6 Watertown vs. No. 11 Mitchell.

No. 7 Sioux Falls Jefferson vs. No. 10 Huron.

No. 8 Sioux Falls Lincoln vs. No. 9 Harrisburg.

Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at bhull@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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