South Dakota Prep Media basketball polls for Feb. 20: Kernels drop as SF Washington shoots up Class AA ranks

This week marked the final girls rankings of the season, with the final set of boys rankings to come next week.

Sioux Falls Washington's Gage Gasca (34) and Mandalla Mohamed (4) put pressure on Mitchell's Charlie McCardle (35) as he handles the ball during a Class AA boys basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — As postseason basketball begins Monday night, the final girls rankings of the season have arrived, but there's one week remaining on the boys side.

In girls Class B, Viborg-Hurley held on to the top spot in the polls all season, while the preseason favorites in the other two girls classes — O'Gorman and St. Thomas More — still finished in their respective top fives but not as No. 1. Sioux Falls Washington ended up on top in Class AA, while Hamlin did the same in Class A.

On the boys side, Sioux Falls Washington is making a late surge up the rankings in Class AA, while the Class A and Class B ranks appear to be solidified with one week to play.

The South Dakota Prep Media basketball polls for the week of Feb. 20 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.


Class AA

1. Sioux Falls Jefferson (20), 17-1, 100; 2. Sioux Falls Lincoln, 15-3, 67; 3. Sioux Falls Washington, 11-6, 45; 4. Mitchell, 14-4, 41; 5. Yankton, 13-4, 38.


Others receiving votes: Sioux Falls Roosevelt 7, Brandon Valley 2.

Welcome, Warriors: Sioux Falls Washington made quite a splash last week, handing losses to No. 1 Sioux Falls Jefferson (the Cavaliers' first loss of the season), then-No. 3 Mitchell and then-No. 5 Sioux Falls Roosevelt. As a result, the Warriors shot up the rankings, from one total vote last week to No. 3 with 45 votes this week. Mitchell slid to No. 4 and Yankton also dropped one spot to No. 5. Despite the loss, Jefferson maintained its status as unanimous No. 1 and Sioux Falls Lincoln remained at No. 2.

Class A

1. Dakota Valley (20), 19-0, 100; 2. Sioux Falls Christian, 15-4, 78; 3. Sioux Valley, 18-2, 60; 4. Winner, 18-1, 34; 5. St. Thomas More, 18-2, 19.

Others receiving votes: Lennox 5, Hamlin 3, Rapid City Christian 1.

Swapping spots: Last week pitted then-No. 2 Sioux Valley against then-No. 3 Sioux Falls Christian. The Chargers departed Volga with a 71-63 win, snapping what was a 40-game home winning streak for the Cossacks. The head-to-head outcome led to Sioux Falls Christian ascending to No. 2, knocking Sioux Valley out of that position (to No. 3) for the first time all season. The Chargers had occupied No. 3 for five straight weeks since Jan. 16.

Class B

1. Aberdeen Christian (19), 17-2, 99; 2. De Smet (1), 17-3, 79; 3. Lower Brule, 17-3, 62; 4. White River, 15-4, 39; 5. Faith, 18-1, 14.

Others receiving votes: Viborg-Hurley 4, Castlewood 3.

Holding tight: It was as quiet of a week as there's been in any class all season among the Class B boys ranks. The top five combined to go 7-0 and went unchanged this week, with the largest change in a single team's vote count from a week ago being just two votes. The receiving votes section didn't change either, as Viborg-Hurley and Castlewood stayed put.



Class AA

1. Sioux Falls Washington (10), 14-3, 88; 2. Sioux Falls Jefferson (8), 15-3, 82; 3. Pierre, 15-3, 53; 4. O’Gorman (2), 14-4, 51; 5. Brandon Valley, 13-5, 21.

Others receiving votes: Harrisburg 5.

Creating chaos: The Class AA girls rankings were thrown into disarray last week and only got more complicated this week. Then-No. 5 O'Gorman notched consecutive wins over then-No. 4 Harrisburg and then-No. 1 Sioux Falls Jefferson and moved up to No. 4. The Knights may have moved up more, but have prior losses to Sioux Falls Washington, which reclaimed the No. 1 ranking this week after having spent two weeks at the top in mid-January. All told, three different programs received multiple first-place votes this week, with Washington getting 10, Jefferson eight and O'Gorman two.

Jefferson slid to No. 2, while Pierre stayed at No. 3. Harrisburg fell out of the top five for the first time since entering the poll on Dec. 19 and was replaced by Brandon Valley, which is back in the top five for the first time since Dec. 12 (the Lynx were actually bumped out by the Tigers the following week). No team in the class has fewer than three losses entering the final week of the regular season.

Class A

1. Hamlin (20), 19-0, 100; 2. Vermillion, 19-1, 78; 3. Wagner, 19-1, 61; 4. Sioux Falls Christian, 18-2, 38; 5. St. Thomas More, 16-4, 18.

Others receiving votes: Sisseton 4, Tea Area 1.

On the fringes: With Hamlin, Wagner and St. Thomas More near the top, the Class A girls rankings have been perhaps the most stable of all. The triumvirate has taken up three spots in every poll this season and with the addition of Vermillion on Jan. 9, four of the five spots have been accounted for seven consecutive weeks. For the second-straight week, Sioux Falls Christian is the final team to comprise the top five, but there's been a slight shake-up on the outside looking in. Florence/Henry, which had been receiving votes in every poll this season, was not included this week, and neither was Red Cloud, which was in the top five as recently as Feb. 6. Instead, Sisseton makes its first appearance of the season and Tea Area is back for the first time since Jan. 9.

021723 Ethan TDA GBB Ava Lingemann.JPG
Ethan's Ava Lingemann brings the ball up the court against Tripp-Delmont/Armour during a girls basketball game on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023 at the Corn Palace.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic


Class B

1. Viborg-Hurley (19) 17-3 99; 2. Wolsey-Wessington (1), 18-2, 81; T-3. Ethan, 17-2, 47; T-3. Sully Buttes, 17-3, 47; 5. Arlington, 16-4, 20.

Others receiving votes: Centerville 3, Howard 2, Andes Central/Dakota Christian 1.

Rustlers rise again: Entering the postseason on a 12-game win streak, Ethan is tied for No. 3 with Sully Buttes this week. It's a new high-water mark for the Rustlers, who joined the rankings at No. 5 on Jan. 30 and moved up to No. 4 just last week. At the top of the poll, Viborg-Hurley reclaimed two first-place votes from Wolsey-Wessington, giving the defending champs 19 of the 20. Also of note, Mitchell-area programs Howard and Andes Central/Dakota Christian were among the three teams receiving votes in this week's poll.

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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