Taking stock of Mitchell-area boys basketball teams as regular season winds down
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 three weeks left before the South Dakota boys basketball regular season ends and the postseason begins, teams are jockeying for seeding within their regions, with designs on advancing to the SoDak 16 and, ultimately, state tournaments in Sioux Falls and Aberdeen.
As region tournament play is set to begin Monday, Feb. 27, here's a look at the standings in the area basketball regions of note. All records were taken from the SDHSAA website on Feb. 2.
As it stands: Sioux Falls Christian (12-1), the No. 2 team in all of Class A for seed points, easily tops the region by nearly 2.5 points even with a second-place Dell Rapids (11-2) team that still ranks in the top 10 of the class overall.
Madison (8-5) is floating in third, more than a point behind Dell Rapids but also more than 1.5 points up on fourth-place McCook Central/Montrose (8-5).
The top four look to be a virtual lock, while the bottom half of the region standings includes West Central (6-7), Tri-Valley (3-8), Baltic (3-9) and Garretson (0-13).
Looking ahead: Sioux Falls Christian's only defeat is to No. 1 Dakota Valley, and the Chargers can make their case for remaining the No. 2 overall seed in Class A with four top-level games remaining on the schedule. Friday night, Sioux Falls Christian hosts Class AA No. 1 Sioux Falls Jefferson ahead of a Saturday tilt with Class B stalwart White River. The Chargers also visit Western Christian of Iowa (Feb. 9) and Class A No. 3 Sioux Valley (Feb. 17).
Dell Rapids' schedule is similarly taxing, as the Quarriers will face five consecutive opponents with records of 8-3 or better (combined, the five are 54-7). The stretch includes visiting Class B No. 1 Aberdeen Christian, Tea Area and Lennox and home dates with Mount Vernon/Plankinton and No. 1 Dakota Valley.
As it stands: With an advantage of more than 1.5 seed points, Mount Vernon/Plankinton (9-3) is in the driver's seat for the top spot in the region and sits at No. 11 overall in Class A.
For now, the more compelling sprint is for the second place spot, with Platte-Geddes (9-4) and Hanson (8-5) separated by less than one-half point. The last top-four spot is also a hotly-contested place, with Parkston (6-6) holding an edge of less than one-tenth of a point over Kimball/White Lake (7-5).
Rounding out the region standings are Sanborn Central/Woonsocket (5-6), Wagner (5-8), Chamberlain (4-8) and Bon Homme (3-8).
Looking ahead: MVP's stretch run features six of eight games against competition at .500 or better in February. Also included are back-to-back-to-back games against teams with at least 11 wins already in Dell Rapids, Ethan and St. Thomas More, the last of which is part of the DWU Classic on Feb. 11.
Platte-Geddes will look to take care of business against KWL on Thursday and has a pivotal head-to-head meeting with Hanson at the DWU Classic as well as a later road trip to one-loss Winner. Meanwhile, Hanson visits McCook Central/Montrose on Feb. 6 after hosting MVP, with the DWU Classic showdown against the Black Panthers standing as the Beavers' last game against a team above .500.
As it stands: Winner (13-1) stands as the clear frontrunner in the region, sitting as the No. 8 team in Class A overall and nearly 2.5 points clear of second place. Less than two-tenths of a point separate Pine Ridge (8-3) and Red Cloud (10-4) in second and third, respectively, while Lakota Tech (7-6) is still close enough to move up if either team trips up down the stretch.
Rounding out the bottom half of the region is Little Wound (7-8), Todd County (6-6), St. Francis Indian (4-9) and Bennett County (0-11).
Looking ahead: Winner closes the regular season with four of six games against opponents under .500, the exceptions being a trip to McLaughlin and a home date with Platte-Geddes.
Pine Ridge and Red Cloud square off Friday night, with the victor taking control of the race for second. Still remaining for the Thorpes are games against teams above .500 including Lakota Tech, McLaughlin, Marty and an opponent to be named at the Sacred Hoops Classic in Chamberlain on Feb. 11. Meanwhile the Crusaders still must the top three teams in Region 8A, St. Thomas More, Rapid City Christian and Hot Springs among their remaining contests.
Winning teams from other Class A regions
Region 1A: Groton Area (8-2), Waubay/Summit (11-2), Aberdeen Roncalli (9-6)
Region 2A: Sioux Valley (11-1), Hamlin (10-3), Clark/Willow Lake (10-4), Deuel (8-3), Estelline/Hendricks (8-4), Florence/Henry (7-5)
Region 4A: Dakota Valley (12-0), Lennox (12-1), Elk Point-Jefferson (10-3), Beresford (11-3), Tea Area (8-3), Canton (7-6)
Region 6A: McLaughlin (8-4)
Region 8A: Rapid City Christian (12-1), St. Thomas More (14-1), Hot Springs (12-0), Hill City (7-6)
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 A standings.
No. 1 Dakota Valley vs. No. 41 Miller
No. 2 Sioux Falls Christian vs. No. 30 McLaughlin
No. 3 Sioux Valley vs. No. 20 Waubay/Summit
No. 4 Rapid City Christian vs. No. 19 Pine Ridge
No. 5 Lennox vs. No. 18 Platte-Geddes
No. 6 St. Thomas More vs. No. 17 Groton Area
No. 7 Hamlin vs. No. 11 Mount Vernon/Plankinton
No. 8 Winner vs. No. 10 Dell Rapids
As it stands: Much like on the girls side, the region is coming down to a heated three-team race between Ethan (11-2), Dell Rapids St. Mary (10-2) and Howard (10-3), all separated by less than one seed point. The trio ranks eighth, 10th and 11th, respectively, in Class B at large.
Bridgewater-Emery (7-5) and Canistota (6-7) are locked in a fight for fourth place, while the rest of the region falls in line with Chester Area (6-10), Colman-Egan (4-8), Mitchell Christian (5-8) and Sioux Falls Lutheran (0-11).
Looking ahead: Ethan and Dell Rapids St. Mary have not and will not play during the regular season, but Howard does have a 10-point head-to-head win over the Rustlers. Key remaining games for Ethan include trips to James Valley Christian and Class A Mount Vernon/Plankinton and a neutral site season finale against Tripp-Delmont/Armour at the Corn Palace.
Howard visits DRSM for a Feb. 9 contest that is likely to play a large role in sorting out the top two places in the region, though the Cardinals must also play Viborg-Hurley and Bridgewater-Emery. The Tigers also have yet to play Viborg-Hurley and Bridgewater-Emery, with an additional challenge against Waubay Summit at the DWU Classic on Feb. 11.
As it stands: Viborg-Hurley (10-2) has control of the top place in the standings (12th in Class B overall) by almost two full seed points, but it appears second place is still up for grabs.
Irene-Wakonda (7-7) has the inside track to the second position, but Freeman Academy/Marion (6-6) could catch up with a late push.
No other team in the region is currently above .500, as Centerville (5-7), Scotland (4-7), Alcester-Hudson (4-10), Freeman (3-10), Gayville-Volin (3-10) and Menno (3-9) round out the standings.
Looking ahead: Viborg-Hurley's remaining schedule is filled with challenges, as the Cougars still must play six teams with records of .500 or better — FAM, McLaughlin, Philip, Howard, Dell Rapids St. Mary and Madison — in the span of eight games.
Irene-Wakonda and FAM each face only one such game, with the Eagles making a trip to Bridgewater-Emery and the Bearcats going on the road for their contest against Viborg-Hurley.
As it stands: Five teams have records above .500, but for now the top spot in the region is likely to come down to three teams based on current seed points. Tripp-Delmont/Armour (10-2) is the region's leader, slotting in at 13th overall in Class B. Right behind the Nighthawks is Marty (7-5) at 14th. Lurking in third is Gregory (7-5), which ranks 18th.
Fourth place looks to be a race between Wessington Springs (7-5) and Colome (7-6), while Corsica-Stickney (4-8), Burke (3-8), Avon (3-11) and Andes Central/Dakota Christian (0-11) round out the rest of the region.
Looking ahead: With intra-region games still to play against Marty, Springs and Colome in addition to a game against Ethan and a Great Plains Conference Classic matchup, there's still plenty of opportunity for the Nighthawks to climb or be caught.
Marty is in a similar place, with the showdown with TDA and the GPC Classic in addition to a matchup with a one-loss Santee (Neb.) team and Class A Pine Ridge still remaining. Gregory still has yet to play Lyman, Class A Parkston, Bridgewater-Emery and Colome.
As it stands: Lower Brule (13-3), the No. 3 team in all of Class B in seed points, has a 2.5-point edge over the rest of the region, even with a strong second-place team in Highmore-Harrold (11-3), which ranks 15th in the class overall.
Ipswich (8-3), Lyman (8-3) and Herreid/Selby Area (8-6) are all above .500 and are battling for the final two top-four positions.
Completing the region standings are Faulkton Area (4-9), Sully Buttes (2-10), Sunshine Bible Academy (0-10) and Potter County (1-12).
Looking ahead: Lower Brule has all but locked up the top spot in the region but will look to bolster their position in the overall Class B hierarchy over the final four games. Included on the schedule is the No. 4 overall team, White River, at the DWU Classic on Feb. 11 in Mitchell along with an opponent to be determined at the Warner Classic on Feb. 18.
Highmore-Harrold has a pair of winning teams left to play with Philip on Feb. 4 and Canton on Feb. 18.
Winning teams from other Class B regions
Region 1B: Aberdeen Christian (13-0), Northwestern (10-3), Leola/Frederick Area (9-5), Warner (8-6), Waverly-South Shore (7-6)
Region 2B: De Smet (12-2), Wolsey-Wessington (11-1), James Valley Christian (11-2), Castlewood (12-3)
Region 7B: White River (11-2), Philip (11-3), Crazy Horse (10-4)
Region 8B: Faith (11-1), Harding County (10-3), Tiospaye Topa (9-3)
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 Aberdeen Christian vs. No. 24 Irene-Wakonda
No. 2 De Smet vs. No. 20 Philip
No. 3 Lower Brule vs. No. 17 Harding County
No. 4 White River vs. No. 16 Northwestern
No. 5 Faith vs. No. 15 Highmore-Harrold
No. 6 Wolsey-Wessington vs. No. 14 Marty
No. 8 Ethan vs. No. 13 Tripp-Delmont/Armour
No. 10 Dell Rapids St. Mary vs. No. 12 Viborg-Hurley