Taking stock of area girls basketball teams as postseason play draws near
A look at the Class A and Class B regions containing area teams as teams battle for postseason positioning entering February.
MITCHELL — With just over two weeks remaining before the conclusion of the South Dakota girls basketball regular season, teams are battling for position in the regional postseason tournaments with goals of reaching the SoDak 16 and, ultimately, the state tournaments in Watertown and Huron.
As region tournament play is set to begin Monday, Feb. 20, here's a look at the standings in the area basketball regions of note. All records were taken from the SDHSAA website on Feb. 1.
As it stands: Sioux Falls Christian (13-1) is the clear class of the region, with five fewer losses and an edge of more than four full seed points compared to the closest challenger. The Chargers currently sit at No. 5 in the Class A seed point standings. Garretson (8-6) is the only other team in the region with a winning record, and the Blue Dragons rank No. 30 in Class A in seed points.
West Central (5-7) and McCook Central/Montrose (7-8) round out the top half of the region. The bottom four teams in the region are Tri-Valley (5-9), Madison (3-11), Dell Rapids (2-13) and Baltic (2-11).
Looking ahead: Though Sioux Falls Christian should earn the top seed in the region, the Chargers will get a sense of where they truly stand in the Class A hierarchy with a final stretch that includes four of six games against top-15 teams including Vermillion, Sisseton, St. Thomas More and Mount Vernon/Plankinton.
As it stands: Wagner (14-1) is the front-runner in an otherwise-crowded race for postseason positioning and is fresh off a 16-point win over second-place Hanson (11-4). The Red Raiders rank third in Class A for seed points, while the Beavers are 13th.
Not far behind Hanson are Mount Vernon/Plankinton (8-5) in 14th place and Parkston (10-5) in 16th. Should any of those teams begin to falter down the stretch, Sanborn Central/Woonsocket (7-6) and Kimball/White Lake (7-6) are positioned to shake things up in the middle of the pack.
Rounding out the bottom three positions in the region are Platte-Geddes (6-8), Bon Homme (5-7) and Chamberlain (5-10).
Looking ahead: Wagner hosts a one-loss Andes Central/Dakota Christian team Thursday and face off with Class B No. 1 Viborg-Hurley on Saturday in Yankton, but then finishes with three games against sub-.500 competition.
Also on tap for Thursday is a key matchup between Hanson and MVP that will likely go a long way to deciding the region tournament's No. 2 seed. MVP visits Parkston for both teams' regular-season finale on Feb. 16, another contest expected to heavily influence seeding.
As it stands: At No. 4 in all of Class A's seed-point standings, Red Cloud (14-0) paces the region, already owning a pair of wins over second-place Lakota Tech (9-4) and one over fourth-place Todd County (9-4).
Lakota Tech is No. 8 in Class A for seed points, while third-place Winner (8-4) is a top-20 squad and Todd County is top-30. Little Wound (5-8), Pine Ridge (3-7), St. Francis Indian (5-8) and Bennett County (3-7) occupy the bottom four positions in the region.
Looking ahead: Red Cloud faces consecutive road games against other top-10 Class A teams at St. Thomas More (Feb. 6) and Rapid City Christian (Feb. 10) but does not play another team currently above .500 in its other four remaining contests. Lakota Tech is in a similar place, with a game at Rapid City Christian on Feb. 13 the only remaining opponent with a winning record.
Winner avoids playing any of the other top teams in the region over the final weeks of the regular season, as the Warriors host St. Thomas More on Friday in their only game remaining against a team above .500.
Winning teams from other Class A regions
Region 1A: Sisseton (12-1), Milbank (9-4), Groton Area (10-4), Aberdeen Roncalli (7-6)
Region 2A: Hamlin (14-0), Florence/Henry (12-1), Flandreau (10-4), Sioux Valley (10-4), Elkton-Lake Benton (8-5)
Region 4A: Vermillion (15-0), Lennox (12-3), Canton (8-5), Elk Point-Jefferson (7-6)
Region 6A: Miller (10-3), Mobridge-Pollock (8-3), Dupree (9-4)
Region 8A: Rapid City Christian (11-3), St. Thomas More (12-3), Belle Fourche (8-3), Custer (10-5)
If the SoDak 16 was seeded today...
Note: This was set up using the current top two teams from every region. Seed noted is the current position in Class A standings.
No. 1 Hamlin vs. No. 30 Garretson
No. 2 Vermillion vs. No. 18 Mobridge-Pollock
No. 3 Wagner vs. No. 17 Milbank
No. 4 Red Cloud vs. No. 15 Lennox
No. 5 Sioux Falls Christian vs. No. 13 Hanson
No. 6 Florence/Henry vs. No. 11 Miller
No. 7 Sisseton vs. No. 10 St. Thomas More
No. 8 Lakota Tech vs. No. 9 Rapid City Christian
As it stands: It's a three-team race for the No. 1 seed in the region, as Ethan (11-2), Dell Rapids St. Mary (12-2) and Howard (14-3) are all separated by just over one-half of a seed point. The gap between Ethan and DRSM at the top currently stands at less than one-tenth of a point, as the trio currently occupies fifth, sixth and eighth in Class B overall.
The Rustlers own a head-to-head win against Howard but will not play DRSM in the regular season. The Cardinals also have a head-to-head win over Howard, though it's worth noting the Tigers lost both games by a combined 11 points.
Colman-Egan (8-8) sits alone in fourth, while Canistota (3-11), Chester Area (3-12), Bridgewater-Emery (2-11) and Mitchell Christian (0-13) round out the standings.
Looking ahead: Ethan has six games remaining, with five of the six owning a record of .500 or better, including a road game at James Valley Christian and home date with Andes Central/Dakota Christian.
Three double-digit-win teams remain for DRSM, which faces Arlington and Centerville on the road along with a DWU Classic contest against Wall.
Howard only has three games remaining, but two are against Jones County and Viborg-Hurley, the No. 9 and No. 1 teams in Class B, respectively.
As it stands: The region claims two of the top three ranked teams in all of Class B, though the seed points don't reflect those rankings. Defending Class B champion Viborg-Hurley (13-1) is No. 1 in both, while Centerville (11-3) is ranked No. 3 but is No. 14 overall in the class standings.
Scotland (9-6) and Freeman (9-6) are in a race for third in the region and the only two other teams with more than five wins on the season. In fifth through ninth are Irene-Wakonda (4-11), Alcester-Hudson (5-9), Menno (3-12), Freeman Academy/Marion (4-10) and Gayville-Volin (2-11).
Looking ahead: Viborg-Hurley already owns a head-to-head win against Centerville and will tune up for another postseason run with contests against Class A No. 3 Wagner on Feb. 4 (in Yankton), Class A No. 1 Hamlin on Feb. 10 (in Mitchell) and another top Class B team, Howard, at home to close the regular season.
Centerville wraps up the season with key games against Class A Canton, the Great Plains Conference championship against Andes Central/Dakota Christian and a home finale against Dell Rapids St. Mary.
Scotland edged Freeman head-to-head on Monday, setting up a final stretch that includes Gregory and a Great Plains Conference Classic game against Avon. Meanwhile, Freeman will look to catch up with games against Gregory, Ethan and Class A Hanson.
As it stands: Andes Central/Dakota Christian (11-1) leads the race in the region and is 10th overall in Class B, followed by five teams hovering near .500 with the opportunity to shake up the standings significantly over the final weeks of the regular season.
Gregory (6-6) currently owns second position and is 17th in the class, while Wessington Springs (8-6) isn't far behind, sitting just over one-half of a seed point back. Avon (7-7) and Corsica-Stickney (7-7) are duking it out for fourth, while Tripp-Delmont/Armour (6-7) and Burke (5-10) do the same for sixth.
Rounding out the region is Marty (4-8) and Colome (0-13).
Looking ahead: ACDC has the chance to win the Great Plains Conference in a matchup with a Centerville squad ranked No. 3 in the South Dakota Prep Media poll and also has to face Class A No. 3 Wagner and Class A Kimball/White Lake along with Class B No. 5-ranked Ethan and Gregory. Each of the final four contests mentioned are on the road.
In addition to hosting ACDC, Gregory still has four other opponents with winning records on the schedule, including Class A Parkston in addition to Freeman, Lyman and Scotland.
Springs has two big chances to move up the standings, visiting Warner on Feb. 9 and hosting James Valley Christian on Feb. 17.
As it stands: Sully Buttes (11-2) checks in at No. 3 in all of Class B while the second-place team in the region, Potter County (9-4), slots in at 16th in the Class B seed-point standings.
Third-place Lyman (7-4) still ranks in the top-25 of the class, while Lower Brule (8-6) is a distant fourth, sitting closer in seed points to seventh place than third.
Faulkton Area (6-8), Herreid/Selby Area (6-8), Highmore-Harrold (3-10), Ipswich (1-11) and Sunshine Bible Academy (0-12) complete the region standings.
Looking ahead: Potter County can make up ground with a road upset of Sully Buttes when the two sides square off on Friday. Otherwise, Sully Buttes still has Class A Mobridge-Pollock and a Warner Classic opponent still to be determined remaining on the schedule. Meanwhile, Potter County also has an opponent still to be named when it competes in the Sacred Hoops Classic in Chamberlain on Feb. 11.
Lyman's key opportunities to climb are against Class A McCook Central/Montrose at the DWU Classic on Feb. 10, at Wall on Feb. 14 and hosting Jones County on Feb. 16.
Winning teams from other Class B regions
Region 1B: Warner (12-3), Leola/Frederick Area (12-1), Northwestern (8-4)
Region 2B: Wolsey-Wessington (12-2), Castlewood (11-4), Arlington (11-4), Deubrook Area (10-3), James Valley Christian (10-3)
Region 7B: Jones County (9-2), Wall (10-5), Kadoka Area (10-5), Edgemont (8-6)
Region 8B: Timber Lake (11-3), Faith (9-6), Harding County (8-6), Tiospaye Topa (9-6)
If the SoDak 16 was seeded today...
Note: This was set up using the current top two teams from every region. Seed noted is the current position in Class B standings.
No. 1 Viborg-Hurley vs. No. 20 Faith
No. 2 Wolsey-Wessington vs. No. 18 Leola/Frederick Area
No. 3 Sully Buttes vs. No. 17 Gregory
No. 4 Castlewood vs. No. 16 Potter County
No. 5 Ethan vs. No. 14 Centerville
No. 6 Dell Rapids St. Mary vs. No. 13 Wall
No. 9 Jones County vs. No. 12 Timber Lake
No. 10 Andes Central/Dakota Christian vs. No. 11 Warner