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The Quick Hitter: Cornbelt appears to be king among Class B boys

The Cornbelt Conference dates back more than 30 years and has been a stalwart league in many sports, especially football. But the league added two teams prior to this season for all sports -- Irene-Wakonda and Viborg-Hurley -- which has turned ou...

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Bridgewater-Emery's Mason Potter deflects a pass intended for Sioux Valley's Ryan Schuster (5) during a game Saturday during the Hanson Classic at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

The Cornbelt Conference dates back more than 30 years and has been a stalwart league in many sports, especially football.

But the league added two teams prior to this season for all sports - Irene-Wakonda and Viborg-Hurley - which has turned out to be a significant move in boys basketball this season. The longtime members of the Cornbelt include Bridgewater-Emery, Canistota, Freeman, Hanson, Howard and Menno.

Bridgewater-Emery was already a known commodity, winning the Class B state championship in 2016-17 with a 26-0 record last season. While playing a more difficult schedule this season, the Huskies are 10-3 and are expected to be in the mix once again. Earlier this week, The Daily Republic featured Canistota, which is 11-1 and proved it can compete with the state’s best Class B teams in wins over over Corsica-Stickney and Langford Area.

The newcomers in the Cornbelt have more than held their own. Viborg-Hurley is 9-1 and has won seven straight games, with the only loss coming to Irene-Wakonda. I-W is 9-4 but have played a tough schedule, also with a win over Langford Area.

Thanks to the shake-up in regions ahead of this season, all four teams - Bridgewater-Emery, Canistota, Irene-Wakonda and Viborg-Hurley - are in Region 5B. Only two teams will get out of the region and into the Round of 16 state-qualifying contests on March 6.

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One of the fun parts about the “Sweet 16” format being in Class B for the first time is watching the seed-point standings and all four teams are on the move nearly on a daily basis. Currently, all four teams are in the top-12 in Class B, with Bridgewater-Emery fifth, Canistota ninth, Viborg-Hurley 10th and Irene-Wakonda 12th.

Basketball fans will get a chance to see three of the top teams in the region on Feb. 10 at the Corn Palace as part of the DWU/Culver’s Classic, with Bridgewater-Emery, Canistota and Irene-Wakonda all to play opponents to be determined.

The Cornbelt has been made better for the addition of two strong programs, and for whichever teams emerge from Region 5B in March, expect them to be battle-tested.  

The Quick Hitter is a feature at published only at mitchellrepublic.com regarding the local sports news of the day. 

Related Topics: BOYS BASKETBALL
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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