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South Dakota Prep Media basketball polls for Jan. 16: Hanson Classic win boosts Vermillion girls to No. 2

The fifth set of in-season rankings has some shakeup in girls Class A and Class B following the Hanson Classic.

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Vermillion's Brooke Jensen (33) blocks a layup attempt by Wagner's Macy Koupal (30) during the girls Hanson Classic on Jan. 14, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — As it proves to be almost every season, the 40th edition of the girls Hanson Classic was a crucible for ranked teams from across the state to prove their mettle.

On Saturday, Class A's Vermillion, St. Thomas More, Florence/Henry and Hanson, as well as Class B's Viborg-Hurley, Howard, Arlington and Colman-Egan made their case for why they can compete for state tournament berths and maybe even a state championship come March.

The South Dakota Prep Media basketball polls for the week of Jan. 16 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 (18), 6-0, 90; 2. Sioux Falls Lincoln, 6-1, 71; 3. Pierre, 6-2, 46; 4. Mitchell, 6-1, 34; 5. Sioux Falls Washington, 4-2, 17.
Others receiving votes: Yankton 8, Sioux Falls Roosevelt 3, Brandon Valley 1.

Holding strong: Boys Class AA was the only top five to remain unchanged from a week ago, as the ranked teams combined to go 7-1. The lone trip up was a 65-56 loss by No. 5 Sioux Falls Washington to top-ranked Sioux Falls Jefferson.

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Last week, 22 total votes resided outside the top five, but this week that's down to just 12, with Yankton claiming eight. Harrisburg, the preseason No. 2, has fallen all the way out of the polls for the first time following a two-point loss at Huron that dropped Harrisburg to 5-4 on the season.

Class A

1. Dakota Valley (18), 8-0, 90; 2. Sioux Valley, 9-0, 70; 3. Sioux Falls Christian, 8-0, 46; 4. St. Thomas More, 9-0, 44; 5. Rapid City Christian, 10-0, 13.
Others receiving votes: Dell Rapids 7.

Metro risers: Sioux Falls Christian and Rapid City Christian were among the biggest movers in the state this week. The Chargers improved to 8-0 on the season with home wins over then-No. 4 Dell Rapids and Class AA Watertown and jumped from No. 5 to No. 3. Meanwhile, the 10-0 Comets are making their first appearance in the top five after spending the past three weeks as the top team in the receiving votes section.

The barrier for entry into the boys Class A rankings is currently the steepest of any class, with the five ranked teams a combined 44-0 -- though that is guaranteed to change this Saturday at the Hanson Classic as No. 1 Dakota Valley and No. 2 Sioux Valley face off in a rematch of last season's state championship game.

Class B

1. White River (16), 10-1, 88; 2. Aberdeen Christian (1), 7-0, 69; 3. De Smet (1), 7-1, 57; 4. Lower Brule, 7-2, 37; 5. Castlewood, 8-1, 17.
Others receiving votes: Faith 1, Ethan 1.

Shake-up seems imminent: The only movement in boys Class B this week came in a swap of Nos. 4 and 5, as Lower Brule topped Castlewood, 64-61, on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Brian LaRoche Jr.

But that is likely about to change as No. 1 White River and No. 2 Aberdeen Christian square off at this weekend's Hanson Classic, as do No. 3 De Smet and No. 4 Lower Brule in another state championship rematch.

Girls

Class AA

1. Sioux Falls Washington (18), 7-0, 90; 2. O’Gorman, 5-2, 63; 3. Sioux Falls Jefferson, 6-2, 44; 4. Pierre, 7-1, 43; 5. Harrisburg, 7-1, 23.
Others receiving votes: Rapid City Stevens 6, Brandon Valley 1.

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New (unanimous) No. 1: There's a new frontrunner in girls Class AA, as O'Gorman lost the grip it had held on the top spot in the rankings since the preseason. Sioux Falls Washington, which has occupied a spot in the top three all season (No. 2 last week), toppled O'Gorman head-to-head, holding the Knights to a season-low 33 points.

Class A

1. Hamlin (15), 8-0, 86; 2. Vermillion (3), 10-0, 67; 3. St. Thomas More, 9-2, 50; 4. Wagner, 8-1, 43; 5. Red Cloud, 9-0, 16.
Others receiving votes: Florence/Henry 8.

Beware the Tanagers: Prior to last week's poll, Vermillion routed then-No. 4 Tea Area, 62-34, to swipe the Titans' place in the top four. Vermillion made a similar move this week, defeating Wagner, 53-52, at the girls edition of the Hanson Classic, as the Tanagers and Red Raiders traded places to land at No. 2 and 4, respectively. Of note, the win pushed Vermillion's record to 10-0, the first (and prior to Jan. 16 action, the only) girls program in the state to reach that mark in 2022-23.

Class B

1. Viborg-Hurley (18), 9-1, 90; 2. Wolsey-Wessington, 7-1, 71; 3. Timber Lake, 8-0, 36; 4. Centerville, 7-2, 18; 5. Warner, 6-2, 13.
Others receiving votes: Arlington 8, James Valley Christian 7, Jones County 7, Sully Buttes 7, De Smet 5, Ethan 3, Wall 3, Howard 2.

Cougars cement top spot: The defending Class B champions from Viborg-Hurley made a statement at the Hanson Classic on Saturday night. Playing second-ranked Wolsey-Wessington, the Cougars turned a six-point advantage after three quarters into a 20-point win, underscoring their place atop the standings. To date, Viborg-Hurley's only loss came by one point to Campbell County (Wyo.), which completes within the largest enrollment division of Wyoming prep sports.

Also of note, Timber Lake, which received just one vote last week, rocketed to No. 3 this week following a win over then-No. 4 Sully Buttes that made the Panthers 8-0 on the season. Sully Buttes fell out of this week's top five, while Centerville dropped from No. 3 to No. 4 following a Hanson Classic loss to Arlington.

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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