Full Court Press: Historical stakes for all 32 Class A, Class B boys SoDak 16 teams

In this edition of the Full Court Press, we brush up on the past postseason successes — whether plentiful or scarce — for each team in the Class A and Class B boys state tournament qualifying round.

Gregory's Noah Bearshield (0) goes up for a reverse layup beyond the outstretched arm of Hanson's (23) Ethan Cheeseman during the 41st annual Hanson Classic on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — One game stands between the 32 remaining teams across the Class A and Class B boys basketball and a trip to the state tournaments in Sioux Falls and Aberdeen.

For some programs, SoDak 16 and state tournament appearances are regular events, but for others, it’s a chance to write a new chapter in school history.

Here’s a look at the postseason history for each program ahead of Tuesday’s SoDak 16 contests.

Class A

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Dakota Valley's Randy Rosenquist drives with the ball as Sioux Valley's Maverick Nelson guards him during a high school basketball game at the boys Hanson Classic on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023 at the Corn Palace.
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic

No. 1 Dakota Valley (22-0) vs. No. 16 Miller (13-9)

Rolling into the SoDak 16 with a Class A record 49 consecutive victories, the defending state champions from Dakota Valley are aiming for a seventh state tournament berth in eight seasons. The Panthers are a perfect 5-0 in the SoDak 16 since its Class A inception in 2017, having missed out on the statewide postseason in 2019. It is Dakota Valley’s second-straight season as the top seed, though the program is also responsible for the only No. 16 over No. 1 upset in the round’s history in 2017.


In Miller’s lone prior SoDak 16 appearance, the Rustlers were upset as the Class A No. 4 seed in 2018. As such, the program hasn’t made a state tournament appearance since 2011. An appearance this year would be Miller’s fourth since 1976 and the 20th all-time.

No. 2 St. Thomas More (19-2) vs. No. 15 McLaughlin (12-8)

Since making its first state tournament appearance in 2004, St. Thomas More has been to 15 of the past 19, including four straight with a third-place finish last season. The Cavaliers, who were also the No. 2 seed last season, have participated in every iteration of the SoDak 16. STM owns a 5-1 record in the state-qualifying round, with its lone loss coming as the No. 16 seed in 2018.

The first program in this year’s slate making its SoDak 16 debut is McLaughlin. The Mustangs’ lone prior Class A state tournament appearance came in 2009, though the program has been to an even dozen state tournaments in its history dating back to 1937.

No. 3 Sioux Falls Christian (18-4) vs. No. 14 Hanson (15-7)

Sioux Falls Christian is seeking an eighth consecutive appearance and 12th overall in state tournament, having won the title in 2021 and finished as consolation champs last season. The Chargers are a perfect 6-0 in the SoDak 16, winning from a seed line as high as No. 1 (2018) and as low as No. 12 (last season). It’s the fifth time in seven SoDak 16s that SFC is a top-four seed.

Seeking its 10th all-time state tournament berth and the first since winning the Class B title in 2015, Hanson is back in the SoDak 16. The Beavers made their state-qualifying round debut last season, falling as the No. 10 seed to Sioux Valley.

No. 4 Sioux Valley (20-2) vs. No. 13 Groton Area (16-5)

With back-to-back Class A runner-up finishes to its credit, Sioux Valley is looking for a fourth-straight state tournament qualification, seventh since 2014 and 17th overall. This year marks the Cossacks’ sixth trip to the SoDak 16, winning the past four after falling as the No. 1 seed in 2017.

Last season, Groton Area made its SoDak 16 debut and won as the No. 6 seed to qualify for its first state tournament since 2001. Back in the state-qualifying round, the Tigers are after the 10th state tournament appearance in program history.

Hamlin coach Todd Neuendorf speaks to his team during a timeout on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, during the Hoop City Classic at the Corn Palace.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic


No. 5 Hamlin (18-3) vs. No. 12 Madison (14-8)

It’s been 30 years since Hamlin last qualified for a state tournament, and the Chargers have the opportunity to end that drought in their SoDak 16 debut. Hamlin made 10 state tournament appearances from 1974 to 1993 and before that, Hayti made seven between 1952 and 1967.

Madison has been to 10 state tournaments since 2007 and 28 all-time, most recently a string of four in a row from 2017 to 2020. The Bulldogs are 4-1 in SoDak 16 contests, having lost last season as the No. 16 seed.

No. 6 Winner (21-1) vs. No. 11 Hot Springs (18-4)

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Winner's Blake Volmer rises up for a shot over a St. Thomas More defender during a boys Hanson Classic high school basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic

Winner comes in pursuing a third-straight state tournament bid and 11th overall, with seven of its prior trips coming since 2010. This year is the Warriors’ fourth SoDak 16 in five seasons, and they’re 2-1 in the previous three.

Searching for its second state tournament appearance since the end of World War II, Hot Springs is back in the SoDak 16. The Bison appeared in the first three Class A SoDak 16s, going 1-2 with the win coming in 2019. A state tournament berth would be the sixth in program history.

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Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Reed Rus (2) comes around the screen of Mason Hetland (15) while being guarded by St. Thomas More's Matthew Larson during a high school boys basketball game at the DWU Classic on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic

No. 7 Mount Vernon/Plankinton (17-5) vs. No. 10 Pine Ridge (18-3)

Mount Vernon/Plankinton went to three straight state tournaments from 2015 to 2017, accounting for all the appearances as a co-op. The Titans are 1-1 in the SoDak 16, with the loss coming last season as the No. 11 seed.

Pine Ridge is making its return to SoDak 16 after advancing back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019. The Thorpes went to each of the first four editions of the Class A SoDak 16, going 2-2. Another win would make for Pine Ridge’s 24th state tournament berth all-time.

No. 8 Elk Point-Jefferson (16-5) vs. No. 9 Waubay/Summit (19-3)

Elk Point-Jefferson is making its SoDak 16 debut and is looking for the program’s third state tournament appearance, having also made it in 2004 and 2010. Elk Point (1978) and Jefferson (1917) each had one appearance prior to consolidation.


Making the leap to Class A after finishing as Class B consolation champions last season in the co-op's lone state tournament appearance, Waubay/Summit is back in the SoDak 16. The Mustangs have been to two prior state-qualification games, going 1-1, with the win last season coming as the No. 10 seed.

Class B

Lower Brule's Brian LaRoche Jr. (4) scoops a layup attempt toward the hoop beyond the outstretched arm of White River's Nicolas Marshall (behind) during a ranked Class B boys basketball game in the DWU Classic on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

No. 1 Lower Brule (19-3) vs. No. 16 Irene-Wakonda (11-11)

Lower Brule has been to three state tournaments all-time, all since 2018 with a runner-up finish last season as the No. 2 seed. The Sioux are 3-0 in the SoDak 16, including a pair of wins as the No. 13 seed. No other Class B boys program has won when seeded lower than No. 11.

Though Irene and Wakonda have 11 combined appearances separately, the Eagles have two (2008 and 2016) since consolidating. I-W is making its SoDak 16 debut.

No. 2 Aberdeen Christian (20-2) vs. Ipswich (15-6)

Having made three consecutive state tournament appearances including a runner-up finish in 2021, Aberdeen Christian looks for four in a row. It’s also the Knights’ fourth-straight SoDak 16 appearance, as they’ve matched the highest seed in their brief history at No. 2.

Making its SoDak 16 debut, Ipswich has not been to the state tournament since a third-place finish in 2000. A win would give the Tigers their ninth all-time tournament berth.

No. 3 De Smet (19-3) vs. No. 14 Crazy Horse (17-4)

De Smet boys basketball (Damon Wilkinson)
De Smet's Damon Wilkinson throws down a two-handed dunk to cap a fast break during the second half of a Hanson Classic boys basketball contest against White River on Jan. 22, 2022, at the Corn Palace.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

As two-time defending state champions in search of a fifth-straight state tournament bid, De Smet is one win from a 26th all-time appearance. The Bulldogs, who were No. 1 in each of the three years prior to this, have participated in all six Class B SoDak 16s, with a top-five seed in five straight.

This is uncharted territory for the Crazy Horse program, which is making its SoDak 16 debut and has never advanced to a state tournament.


No. 4 Faith (21-1) vs. No. 13 Northwestern (17-5)

Faith has been to eight state tournaments, all since 2004, having last qualified in 2020. The Longhorns split their previous two trips to SoDak 16, both times as the No. 11 seed.

Northwestern is looking for its first state tournament bid since 2002 and the second since going to six straight between 1986 and 1991, with two championships, a runner-up and a third-place over the final four years of that run. The Wildcats fell as the No. 9 seed in their lone prior trip to SoDak 16 in 2019.

No. 5 White River (18-4) vs. No. 12 Howard (16-6)

White River last missed out on the Class B state tournament in 2005, since embarking on a run of 17 straight state tournaments. As such, the Tigers are 5-0 in the SoDak 16, though the No. 5 seed is tied for their lowest in the state-qualifying round.

Making its first SoDak 16 appearance, Howard last qualified for the state tournament in 1995, when the program was still in Class A. A win would be the Tigers’ 12th all-time tournament appearance.

Wessington Springs' Blake Larson (1) catches a lob pass near the rim between two Marty defenders during a Region 5B boys basketball semifinal on Friday, March 3, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

No. 6 Viborg-Hurley (19-3) vs. No. 11 Wessington Springs (16-6)

Last year snapped a run of three-straight state tournament appearances for Viborg-Hurley, which has made six appearances since the consolidation in 2011. The Cougars have been to four previous SoDak 16s, going 3-1 with the loss coming last season as the No. 15 seed.

Wessington Springs enters the SoDak 16 for the second time in search of the program’s third state tournament trip all-time. The Spartans, who have a Class A appearance in 1994 and Class B in 1967, lost their previous state-qualifying game as the No. 15 seed in 2021.

No. 7 Ethan (19-3) vs. No. 10 Gregory (16-6)

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Ethan's Riley Endres rises up for a layup during a boys basketball game on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023 in Ethan.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

After coming up short in its SoDak 16 debut last season as the No. 13 seed, Ethan is aiming to go back to the state tournament for the first time since 2014 and the second time since 2001. With a win the Rustlers secure a sixth all-time state tournament appearance.


As the final SoDak 16 debutant, Gregory looks for the program’s ninth all-time state tournament bid. The Gorillas last qualified for the final eight in 2015, their lone appearance since 1963.

No. 8 Castlewood (17-5) vs. No. 9 Harding County (18-4)

Having finished in sixth place last season, Castlewood is looking for a return trip to the state tournament and the program’s 12th overall. In two prior SoDak 16 games, the Warriors split.

Harding County is aiming for its first state tournament trip since back-to-back appearances in 2016 and 2017. A win would give the Ranchers their ninth all-time state tournament appearance, though they’re 0-for-2 in previous SoDak 16 appearances.

Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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