In a game of waves, Sisseton rides past Parkston in Class A SoDak 16

Sisseton earned win No. 20 on the season by pulling away in the fourth quarter.

030223 Parkston Sisseton GBB Faith Oakley2.JPG
Parkston's Faith Oakley drives to the basket during a Class A girls SoDak 16 high school basketball game against Sisseton on Thursday, March 2, 2023 in Volga.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

VOLGA, S.D. — In a matchup of teams that had decade-long droughts from the Class A state girls basketball tournament, Sisseton rode the wave of momentum changes to a win in the Class A SoDak 16 on Thursday night.

Sisseton's 15-point lead was trimmed to only three with less than five minutes left when 10th-seeded Parkston made a 3-pointer-driven charge, but the seventh-seed in Class A staved off the threat for a 59-46 win at Sioux Valley High School.

In the end, the Parkston girls basketball team had plenty to overcome on Thursday night, most notably shooting 29.6% from the field. But they were also without their head coach Brooke Horstman, who had a baby on Wednesday morning. Assistant coach Joe Shepardson moved to the head coach role on Thursday and Parkston principal Cole Knippling moved into the main assistant seat.

Shepardson, for his part, didn't make any excuses about the coaching changes in outcome of the game.

"The girls gave it everything they had and I can't be anything but proud of their effort this season, in the offseason, in the previous years," he said. "We wanted them to play and not have any regrets and I think they did that."


The game had its share of waves, as Shepardson put it, as each program was trying to reach their first Class A tournament since 2012, when they played each other.

Both teams frantically made backcourt turnovers in the first half with ill-advised passes and shooting came and went for both teams. But Sisseton's fast start in the third quarter widened the halftime lead from 23-20 to 42-30 by the end of the period.

"It was a little frantic but we do find a way to play well in those instances," Sisseton head coach Sara Lincoln said of her team that is without seniors. "Maybe it's just because some of our kids don't know any better."

Parkston did not have many answers for the 6-foot-2 sophomore forward Krista Langager, who finished 9-for-12 from the field and scored 22 points with nine rebounds. On the other end of the height chart, 5-foot-5 junior guard Hannah Leverson scored 19 points, frequently creating her own space on offense and getting to the free-throw line.

Sisseton (20-2) has won seven games in a row and only has losses to fellow Class A state tournament teams Hamlin and Sioux Falls Christian. Lincoln said her team felt they deserved more respect, and she told them they had to earn it.

"We try to keep a level head," she said. "But they have something to prove because we haven't proved it yet. ... Now it's time for us to step up and this was the game to show what we can do for four quarters."

The Trojans' two seniors led the way in their final games. Faith Oakley scored 12 of Parkston's 20 points in the first half and Abby Hohn accounted for seven more. Oakley finished with 15 points, but was the subject of foul trouble, while Mya Thuringer finished with 11 points and Hohn scored 10, as the Trojans were 7-for-26 on 3-pointers.

The trio of Oakley, Thuringer and Hohn each had six rebounds apiece. Both teams had 18 turnovers in the game. Parkston's season ends at 16-7, one game shy of the state tournament for the second time in three seasons.


"I give the kids credit for playing all the way through," Shepardson said. "I felt they gave it their all and it's been that way all season."

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
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