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Taking stock of the region standings in South Dakota high school boys basketball

Class A, B boys basketball teams reach the halfway point of their schedules

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Ethan's Kody Klumb drives to the basket against Canistota's Brady Scott during a boys basketball game on Monday, January 24, 2022 in Ethan.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

The South Dakota high school basketball season is at the midway point, with plenty of teams halfway through their schedules.

That means the postseason picture is beginning to take shape, with the goal of reaching the SoDak 16 and the state basketball tournaments in March.

With the playoffs set to begin on Feb. 28 and March 1, here’s a breakdown of where things stand in the area boys basketball regions of note in Class A and Class B: (All records are prior to Tuesday’s games.)

Region 3A

A look at the top teams: West Central (9-3) and Sioux Falls Christian (8-6) are in the driver’s seat with seed points, each with more than 44.0 seed points. But Dell Rapids (10-3) and McCook Central/Montrose (7-6) are close behind in the region standings.

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How we got here? No team in Class A basketball has played a tougher schedule to this point than Sioux Falls Christian, with an opponent win percentage of .658. That has included its typical Dakota XII schedule, plus teams from Iowa and Tennessee, and O’Gorman and Jefferson on the schedule with Harrisburg, Sioux Valley and Flandreau still on the slate. West Central is the fourth-highest scoring team in Class A basketball, averaging 66.7 points per game. Dell Rapids has won seven of the last eight games to start climbing up the standings, as well.

Looking ahead to March: West Central and Sioux Falls Christian have played difficult schedules and picked up solid wins. They will be two of the most formidable foes in a potential SoDak 16 round that should be packed with them in Class A come March.

Region 5A

A look at the top teams: A three-team grouping leads the way in Region 5A, with Hanson (9-4), Mount Vernon/Plankinton (8-4) and Parkston (7-7). Hanson is about 1.5 ahead of MVP in seed points, followed by Parkston standing seven-tenths behind the Titans in the standings. Bon Homme (6-8) is a clear No. 4 team in the region.

How we got here? The teams at the top of the region have played tough schedules, with Hanson playing eight of its 14 games against teams with winning records. Hanson has five wins against those teams, which is tied for fourth-most in Class A. All seven of Parkston’s losses have come to teams with winning records and MVP has played half of its games against that-caliber of teams. The Trojans have the slimmest margin between average points scored (52.8) and average points allowed (52.4).

Looking ahead to March: As of now, the two teams coming out of Region 5A would likely have low seeds in the SoDak 16, with Hanson ranking 16th in overall seed points and MVP next closest at No. 27 overall. But this region has as much intrigue as any to figure out which two teams might reach the SoDak 16, making it one to watch.

Winner boys basketball (Blake Volmer)
Winner's Blake Volmer (24) leans into a shot in front of Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Jordan Stoltz (34) during the first half of a boys basketball contest on Jan. 28, 2022, at the Plankinton School.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

Region 6A

A look at the top teams: Winner, with a record of 12-1, is the No. 1 team in the region with seed points, about 1.5 points ahead of second-place Stanley County, which is at 10-2. Chamberlain is third at 7-3, followed by 4-4 Mobridge-Pollock.

How we got here? Winner has the fourth-best defense in Class A basketball, allowing 43.7 points per game, powering them to a strong start to the season. The Warriors were among the last unbeatens in Class A, with 12 straight wins until a Jan. 31 loss at Gregory. Even so, Winner is 5-1 against teams with a winning record, even if their opponents’ collective winning percentage is .461, which ranks seventh among the region’s eight teams.

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Looking ahead to March: Even with the recent loss to Gregory, the Warriors are No. 4 in Class A seed points, which puts them in great position for a solid position for the postseason and a path to the Class A state tournament, which will be in Rapid City this season. Stanley County stands 14th in overall seed points and will be an interesting team to watch in the second half of the season with games against Chamberlain, Potter County, White River, Wall and Lyman. The Cubs have played a tough schedule, with their only losses to Parkston, Winner and Lennox, likely having Chamberlain well prepared once again.

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Howard's Jace Sifore puts up a shot in front of Freeman Academy/Marion's Thalen Schroeder in a Hoop City Classic boys basketball game on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

Region 4B

A look at the top teams: Howard (10-2), Dell Rapids St. Mary (10-4), Ethan (8-4) stand as the top-three teams with Canistota also with a winning record at 7-5. A pair of traditionally strong programs in this region — Chester Area (7-8) and Bridgewater-Emery (6-8) — find themselves in the middle of the pack of the standings, with Oldham-Ramona/Rutland (8-6) as an upstart program in the No. 6 slot as the highest-scoring team in the region.

How we got here? The top teams in the region have won their games against teams with sub-.500 records, which includes Howard, Dell Rapids St. Mary, Ethan and Canistota that were a combined 20-0 in those games. Dell Rapids St. Mary will visit Howard on Feb. 10, which will start a key four-game stretch for the Tigers in facing the Cardinals, Aberdeen Christian, Canistota and Viborg-Hurley in the span of a week in mid-February. Ethan, which won five games in a row before a loss to Canistota on Jan. 24, finishes the season with eight games in February and has only one remaining opponent with a winning record.

Looking ahead to March: This region is traditionally one of the toughest in Class B and it seems to be no exception again this year. In the first four years of the SoDak 16 format, six of the eight teams to advance to that round have won and made the state tournament. As of now, the two teams to advance would likely have low seeds but it’s going to be hard for any opponent to look at this region and look forward to playing any of the contenders in the SoDak 16 round.

Region 5B

A look at the top teams: Freeman Academy/Marion leads the way in the region with a record of 9-1 and have won six straight games entering Feb. 1. Viborg-Hurley is second in the region with a record of 8-3, followed by Gayville-Volin at 9-4 and Centerville at 6-5. Irene-Wakonda (6-6) and Scotland (7-6) are the next highest standing teams in the seed points.

How we got here? The Bearcats have the best scoring offense and defense in the region, easily tops on offense averaging nearly 61 points per game and allowing only 41.2 points per game on defense. The Bearcats now enter a critical stretch where they will play Oldham-Ramona/Rutland, Viborg-Hurley and Gayville-Volin in the next three games, with each of those teams already holding eight wins or more. Viborg-Hurley has played the region’s second-toughest schedule and is 3-3 against teams with a record over .500. The Cougars won five games in a row before a loss to Dell Rapids St. Mary on Jan. 29, and have FAM and Corsica-Stickney (in Sioux Falls) on the schedule later this week.

Looking ahead to March: FAM is No. 8 overall in seed points, while Viborg-Hurley is next highest-ranked at No. 21, potentially meaning the Cougars or the other Region 5B SoDak 16 representatives would be a low-ranked team for the SoDak 16. But Viborg-Hurley has made the last two Class B state tournaments, likely making the Cougars a tough opponent for a potential SoDak 16 round. FAM plays an exciting round of basketball, which would be fun to see in March.

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Platte-Geddes' Cade Nachtigal drives to the basket as Aberdeen Christian's Ethan Russell (4) defends during a game on Saturday, January 22, 2022 in the Hanson Classic at the Corn Palace.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

Region 6B

A look at the top teams: Platte-Geddes is the top seed-point team in Region 6B with an 8-3 record, followed by Burke, which has had a fast start in reaching a 10-2 record. Gregory is third in the standings with a 9-5 record, followed by Corsica-Stickney (10-3) and Marty (8-4).

How we got here? The top four teams in this region — P-G, Burke, Gregory and C-S — have a combined record of 17-1 at home. Burke has six road wins already in the season, tied for second-most in Class B only behind De Smet, which has seven. The Black Panthers have faced the toughest schedule in this region with an opponent winning percentage of .565. No other team in the region was over .500 in that category at the start of this week. Marty, which is fifth in this region in seed points, is third in Class B in points per game at 68.2 points per contest. Gregory earned the best win of any of these teams on Jan. 31, handing Class A Winner its first loss of the season. The Gorillas and Black Panthers were the two teams to defeat Burke so far this season.

Looking ahead to March: Platte-Geddes is No. 4 currently in Class B overall seed points, with Burke standing 10th. From there, there’s a long dropoff in overall seed point standings into the mid-20s before reaching Gregory, C-S and Marty. A spot in the top-10 overall is a good sign for getting a solid draw in the statewide postseason field, but there could still be some shuffling in this region before the brackets are drawn.

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Lyman's Sam McClanahan (3) brings the ball up the court as Bridgewater-Emery's Sutton Arend (2) gives chase during a game on Saturday, January 22, 2022 in the Hanson Classic at the Corn Palace.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

Region 7B

A look at the top teams: White River stands as the clear top team in Region 7B for yet another year, with a 7-2 record and a challenging schedule already in the books. Lyman then leads a group that should provide fierce competition for the second slot in this region. The Raiders are 8-3, followed by Wall, Philip and Oelrichs all at 8-4.

How we got here? Based on opponent’s record, White River has played the toughest schedule in Class B basketball. (The top three teams in the Class B media poll are the top-three teams for schedule difficulty so far.). White River has only played one team with a sub-.500 record, as well. Lyman’s three losses have been to Timber Lake, White River and Wall, with the last of those being a 47-46 loss at home on Jan. 29. Lyman does have a win over 10-2 Stanley County already this season and will still face Rapid City Christian, Waubay/Summit, Chamberlain and Stanley County and White River once more before the season is over.

Looking ahead to March: Provided White River continues to win games at the rate they have, the Tigers are going to be in shape for a likely top-4 overall seed in the SoDak 16 and a potential Class B state tournament appearance. The Tigers have been a No. 5 seed or better in the SoDak 16 format since it was first used in 2018 and advanced to the state tournament each time. Lyman is 11th overall in seed points, which could potentially put them on the other side of the matchup they won last year in the SoDak 16 as a No. 6 seed, defeating Faith to reach the Class B tourney in Aberdeen.

Related Topics: BASKETBALLLOCAL SPORTS
Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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