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Inaugural South Dakota Prep Media basketball polls unveiled for new season

Among Mitchell area teams included in the preseason polls, the Wagner and Corsica-Stickney girls rank the highest, checking in at No. 2 in Class A and Class B, respectively.

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Wagner's Emma Yost (23) goes up for a layup between West Central's Rylee Haldeman (2) and Grace Harden (24) during the first half of a Class A girls basketball third-place contest on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Frost Arena, in Brookings.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — Defending state champions are receiving the most attention at the top of a fresh round of South Dakota Prep Media polls, as a new season of prep basketball is set to enter full swing this week.

Of the six total classes across girls and boys basketball, four hoisted a state championship trophy to close 2021-22, with the remaining two both qualifying for their respective state tournaments.

Within the girls ranks, all three No. 1s won state titles last season. O'Gorman topped Class AA and garnered 17 of 18 first-place votes (Sioux Falls Washington got the other), tied for the most of any preseason No. 1. In Class A, St. Thomas More received 15 votes for the top spot, while Viborg-Hurley got 14 in Class B.

On the boys side, Class A was the only division with the defending champion picked as the preseason No. 1, as Dakota Valley took 17 first-place votes (Lennox got the other). Despite a seventh-place finish in Class AA last season, a wealth of returning experience helped Sioux Falls Jefferson earn 11 first-place votes and the top spot, though by the smallest margin (seven points) of any No. 1 over the No. 2 (Harrisburg) team across the six classes. Coming off a third-place finish last season, White River starts atop Class B with 12 first-place votes.

Featured area teams

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Mitchell's Steele Morgan goes up for a layup in front of a Yankton defender during the second half of a Class AA boys basketball consolation semifinal contest on Friday, March 18, 2022, at the Premier Center, in Sioux Falls.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

Among Mitchell area teams included in the preseason polls, the Wagner and Corsica-Stickney girls rank the highest.

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Wagner, fourth in Class A last season, and Corsica-Stickney, third in Class B, both start as the No. 2 team in their respective classes in 2022-23. Both garnered multiple first-place votes, with the Red Raiders claiming two of the three not given to St. Thomas More in Class A and the Jaguars taking all four that didn't go to Viborg-Hurley in Class B.

Those two were the only area teams to receive enough votes to rank in the top five, but a host of others were among the vote-getting contingent in their respective classes.

For the boys, Mitchell got a single vote in Class AA, Winner received eight in Class A and the trio of Gregory (11), Howard (2) and Canistota (2) represented in Class B.

Included in the girls' ranks was Hanson, which got two votes in Class A, with Howard and Freeman picking up 10 and five, respectively, in Class B.

Other first-place vote-getters

Class AA boys had five teams receive at least one vote for the top spot, the most of any class.

The most notable exclusion in the polls was two-time defending champion Sioux Falls Roosevelt, which received one first-place vote but finished well outside of the top five in total points. Behind Jefferson at the top, Harrisburg slotted in at No. 2 overall with one first-place vote, with O'Gorman getting three and Sioux Falls Lincoln getting two, as the pair tied for third in the initial poll.

Class B boys spread the six votes that didn't go to White River among three teams, as two-time defending champion De Smet got four as the No. 2 team in the rankings and No. 3 Aberdeen Christian and No. 5 Castlewood each got one.

The Class A girls runner-up last season, Hamlin took the lone top vote remaining after St.Thomas More and Wagner and starts at No. 3.

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Notable starting positions

  • Sioux Falls Jefferson, which placed third in the Class AA girls tournament last season as the No. 8 seed, slots in at No. 2.
  • Sioux Valley, Class A boys runner-up in each of the past two seasons, is ranked No. 2.
  • Lower Brule, last season's Class B boys runner-up, stands at No. 4.
  • Eight teams that did not qualify for a state tournament last season are included in the top five of the preseason polls, three of which are in the Class B girls rankings: No. 3 Wolsey-Wessington (Class B girls), No. 3 Dell Rapids (Class A boys), No. 4 Flandreau (Class A girls), No. 4 Castlewood (Class B girls), No. 5 Pierre (Class AA girls and boys), No. 5 Centerville (Class B girls) and No. 5 Lennox (Class A boys).

The South Dakota Prep Media basketball polls for the week of Dec. 5 are listed below, ranking the top-five teams in each class. First-place votes are indicated in parentheses and teams are ranked by total points received.

Boys
Class AA
1. Sioux Falls Jefferson (11), 75; 2. Harrisburg (1), 68; T-3. Sioux Falls Lincoln (2), 39; T-3. O’Gorman (3), 39; 5. Pierre, 36. Others receiving votes: Sioux Falls Roosevelt (1) 9, Sioux Falls Washington 3, Mitchell 1.

Class A
1. Dakota Valley (17), 85; 2. Sioux Valley, 63; 3. Dell Rapids, 36;4. St. Thomas More, 32; 5. Lennox (1), 16. Others receiving votes: Sioux Falls Christian 14, Red Cloud 13, Winner 8, Hamlin 3.

Class B
1. White River (12), 82; 2. De Smet (4), 55; 3. Aberdeen Christian (1), 51; 4. Lower Brule, 37; 5. Castlewood (1), 25. Others receiving votes: Gregory 11, Howard 2, Wall 2, Canistota 2, Faith 2, Harding County 1.

Girls
Class AA
1. O’Gorman (17), 89; 2. Sioux Falls Jefferson, 56; 3. Sioux Falls Washington (1) 54; 4. Brandon Valley 49; 5. Pierre, 7. Others receiving votes: Lincoln 6, Stevens 4, Harrisburg 4, Watertown 1.

Class A
1. St. Thomas More (15), 86; 2. Wagner (2), 62; 3. Hamlin (1), 57; 4. Flandreau, 23; 5. West Central, 14. Others receiving votes: Sioux Falls Christian 12, Florence-Henry 5, Tea Area 4, Hanson 3, Rapid City Christian 2, Lakota Tech 2.

Class B
1. Viborg-Hurley (14), 82; 2. Corsica-Stickney (4), 69; 3. Wolsey-Wessington, 43; 4. Castlewood, 21; 5. Centerville, 20. Others receiving votes: De Smet 11, Howard 10, Freeman 5, Wall 4, Sully Buttes 3, Jones County 2.

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 ldierks@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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