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ETHAN—Karly Gustafson is laid back, or "calm" as she likes to put it, off the court. But she puts that aside when she steps on it. Gustafson's older sister, Darbi, said she's a "gamer," one who helped lead the Ethan Rustlers to a second-place finish at the Class B girls basketball state tournament and 24-1 record this season. As a result, she was named The Daily Republic's player of the year.
SIOUX FALLS—Shelby Selland wanted to go out on her own terms. She walked into the locker room on Jan. 4 wearing a walking boot due to a prior foot injury, but left with a knee brace. When the Augustana University senior forward hit the floor in the first quarter at Southwest Minnesota State, she knew her ACL was torn. While facing a potential career-ending injury, Selland thought about the countless hours she put into the practice gym. Then, her focus shifted once she learned surgery wasn't a forgone conclusion.
Wes Morgan is changing benches next season, ending an 11-year stint as coach of the Mitchell High School girls basketball team. He concluded his run on the Kernel girls' sideline with a fourth-place finish at the Class AA state tournament in Rapid City on Saturday, guiding Mitchell to a 14-10 record. However, with his son—Steele—starting high school next year, Morgan wanted to make sure he'd be able to watch him play. The Mitchell basketball teams usually play at separate venues on the same night during the regular season.
RAPID CITY—It was an emotion-filled three days for Mitchell at the Class AA girls basketball state tournament. The Kernels (14-10) felt the exuberation of knocking off top-seeded Sioux Falls O'Gorman, 63-54, then suffered a 14-point loss to eventual champion Brandon Valley and fell 49-44 to Harrisburg after leading by 10 at halftime. In the end, they took fourth place after coming in as the No. 8 seed. However, being competitive against all three teams highlighted the Kernels' growth, according to coach Wes Morgan.
WINNER—The welcome home celebration on Sunday for the Class A girls basketball state champion Winner Warriors started and ended the same way—with a standing ovation. In between the claps featured speeches from coaches Larry Aaker and Jaime Keiser, the eight seniors and a few community members. By the end, it was hard to find a dry eye.
RAPID CITY -- Jeniah Ugofsky proved star players step up in crunch time. Despite being contained all game, the University of South Dakota commit came up with a critical block and sank four free throws in the final 13.4 seconds to seal No. 2 seed Harrisburg’s 49-44 win over No. 8 Mitchell on Saturday. The Tigers (19-5) claimed third place at the Class AA girls basketball state tournament, while the Kernels finished in fourth and 14-10 on the season.
RAPID CITY -- Once Brandon Valley found its outside shot, there was nothing the Mitchell High School girls basketball team could do. While the Kernels struggled to find momentum on offense, the Lynx made nine 3-pointers in a 52-38 win in the Class AA state tournament semifinals on Friday. The Kernels play the loser of Harrisburg vs. Sioux Falls Lincoln at 2:30 p.m. Central on Saturday in the third-place game.
The Mitchell High School girls basketball team begins the Class AA state tournament today, and is undoubtedly playing its best basketball of the season. Yet, following a 54-41 loss at Brookings on Jan. 24, it would’ve been surprising to hear Mitchell was still playing any sort of basketball in mid-March because that loss dropped the Kernels to 5-6 on the season.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa—In a defensive battle, the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team saw its season come to a close on Monday, falling in double overtime to Southeastern (Fla.), 78-75. DWU provided another strong defensive outing, holding the Fire to 38.2 percent shooting. However, it struggled passing around and shooting over their size. The Tigers made 12 3-pointers, but only shot 28.6 percent from inside the arc. That said, Alexandria native Kynedi Cheeseman dropped a career-high 32 points, along with 14 rebounds and five assists.
The two-year absence from the Class AA girls basketball state tournament is over for Mitchell High School. The No. 8 seed Kernel girls play top-seeded Sioux Falls O'Gorman at 2 p.m. CT Thursday in Rapid City, with the winner taking on the winner of Brandon Valley vs. Brookings in the second round. Led by their six seniors, the Kernels defeated Sturgis, 60-35, in the SoDak 16. O'Gorman advanced to its 10th straight state tournament with a SoDak 16 win over Pierre, 60-38.