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    Weekly Top 10 - December 25

    Here it is: the Weekly Jackalope Top 10 for the week of December 25 2017.

    10.) Vermillion needs to find some help for AJ Plitzuweit …. NOW.   I said earlier that I would not be surprised to see AJ average 25 points per game.   Well he surpassed that with 30 and 37 point games.   The Tanagers are still only 2-2 with losses to Bon Homme and Class B Irene Wakonda ….. that isn’t going to cut it in their region. 

    9.) The debate will continue through this season and the next: who is the best player in the state, Sawyer Schultz or Noah Freidel?   I understand how the AA purists would challenge the statement that a Class B player could possibly be the best player in the state.  Even Class A aficionados are likely scoffing at the very mention that a guard from little Bridgewater Emery … who plays against the likes of: Freeman, Ethan, Menno, and Howard … could ever be considered the best of the best.  I don’t care what your opinion is, Sawyer Schultz is one of the best players in the state … if not the best player.  

    8.) Rapid City Central did it again on Tuesday.   Central is the first to get six wins in the entire state, regardless of class!  They won again … the Cobblers beat a good Douglas team, 77-70.   The dynamic duo of Kailleb Walton-Blanden and Dylan Hay combined for 36 points.    East River people start believing, the Cobblers are going to make some noise.   Not intending to put the old Jackalope Jinx on the Cobblers, but I expect them to beat up on Dickinson North Dakota and go into Aberdeen to start 2018 on a 7-0 run. 

    7.) Early season surprises (part 2) include: Class B – what a difference just one player makes: Wessington Springs without John Witte flat out isn’t very good; Class A – Region 8 is arguably the weakest in the state.   What a shocker for a region that annually turns out state title contending teams … albeit usually from St Thomas More or Custer.  Class AA – the east siders are usually laughing at the follies of the Black Hills teams.   Not so much this year as Central, Stevens, Sturgis and Douglas are a combined 17-4.   Whoa!   Hold on there the Sioux Empire snobs are already screaming … you are cherry picking.   What about Spearfish sitting at an unattractive 0-4.    Yes, I answer ….. what about them?

    6.) How can an average at best, Tiospa Zina, beat Sisseton?   I don’t know but it happened Tuesday night, 73-66.  I will have to get back to you on that.  I need to check with my good friends up on the Reservation.  That shocks me as much as the result of any game played to date.

    5.) Best duo of the week award goes to Sawyer Schultz and Carter Dye from Bridgewater Emery.   Everybody knows about Schultz.   Not everybody knows about Carter Dye.   The 6’3 forward with the sweet moves and great footwork is the perfect complement to the super guard duo of Sawyer Schultz and Jamin Arend. 

    4.) My favorite guard, freshman Connor Libis, from Dell Rapids St Mary is picking up where he left off last season.   The kid can score and he is leading the Cardinals on a two-game winning streak.  My second favorite guard, Trevor Olson from Sioux Valley, reached the 1000 point milestone this week.   The sweet shooting southpaw bombed away for 34 in the Cossacks win over Parker.  The Mount Marty recruit continues his prolific scoring for Sioux Valley.    

    3.) Lincoln, Harrisburg and RC Central are the best of AA ….. all three undefeated with Lincoln at 5-0, Harrisburg at 3-0 and Central at 6-0.   Before the season started if someone had said: Central is going to start 6-0, most would have assumed you were talking about Aberdeen Central. 

    2.) In Class A, Sioux Falls Christian and Dell Rapids have surged to the top of Region 3.   Flandreau and a surprising Hamlin are on top of Region 2.   I expect Madison to emerge as the best of this region with Sioux Valley battling Flandreau for the second Sweet 16 spot ….. I don’t think Hamlin, without a Steve Brown or a Mark Tetzlaff, has staying power.   Tea will be right in the mix in March also.  Although all the other regions will have their intra-region theatrics, and will likely spring an upset or two, the state champion will come out of Region 2, 3, or 4.

    1.) The number 1 tidbit for the weekly top 10 comes out of Emery, where some of the best basketball in the state has been played for the past two years.   The Game of the Week was played in Emery between Bridgewater Emery and Canistota.   This game featured two Class B top 5 teams.  The major problem was: the game was over after the first couple minutes.  Bridgewater Emery and Sawyer Schultz put the big hurt on Canistota.  If the Hawks are a top 5 Class B team, then BE is a level above their competition.  I don’t know if the breakaway dunk by Sawyer Schultz in the last minute of the first half was the biggest exclamation point … or if the point was made the loudest with the last second three Schultz drained just before the horn ended the first half.

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