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    Weekly Top 10 - January 8

    Here it is: the Weekly Jackalope Top 10 for the week of January 8, 2018.

    10.) Red Cloud will be better now that junior Jesse Jensen is back on the floor. Jesse was an all-conference performer last season and will provide help to the Crusaders one two punch of Ale Rama and Russell Leader Charge. I like the Crusaders and Pine Ridge to end up on top of Region 7 and move on to play in the Sweet 16.... As I have all season. Jesse Jensen strengthens the team.

    9.) I have been contacted by a good friend in Volga who informed me that the huge game Trevor Hanson had last week for Sioux Valley was also a record setting performance for Trevor. He set a new school record scoring 47 points ... I originally shorted Trevor by crediting him with 45 ... breaking Dale Meyer’s record of 44 points set in 1966. 47 or 45 ... Trevor still set the record and that is a crap ton of points! Congratulations on a job well done and on a great start to the season for Sioux Valley as they sit on a 9-1 record.

    8.) Just when I was starting to drink the Bon Homme Kool-Aid, they drop a large turd at The Pentagon in a loss to Viborg Hurley. This leaves the Red Cavaliers at 5-1. The Cavaliers led by Bryce Scieszinski and Joey Slama are running in first place for Region 5 Seed Points. They hold victories over Vermillion and Tri Valley, two teams who were on lots of preseason top 10 lists. It is still too early to tell if Bon Homme is really good or if Vermillion and Tri Valley were simply overvalued. Luckily I was sipping the Kool-Aid so as not to get too big a belly ache if the drink (and team) sour as the season progresses.

    7.) How good is Colome at 5-0? Can they beat undefeated, 7-0, White River in the Jones County Tournament next week? Those two teams are the favorites to play for the championship. The Cowboys outstanding junior class is bolstered by senior Kolton Salonen. Juniors path finding include: Layton Thieman, Jackson Kinzer, and Calvin Ringing Shield. White River will not roll over. The Tigers earned some stripes in their LNI championship with the overtime win over Crow Creek.

    6.) Out in the Black Hills, Rapid City Central, Stevens and Sturgis continue to roll with a combined 22-2 record. These three are 3-4-5 in AA Seed Points. Even though I have been cautioned by a good friend from Rapid City that I should avoid the RC Central Kool-Aid, I am a sucker for every new flavor and the Cobblers are the latest new flavor of the month. All the while St Thomas More continues to struggle at 1-6 with absolutely zero wins against South Dakota teams. I don’t see anybody shedding tears for the Blue Cavaliers who play lots of sophs and a freshman. And, as weak as Region 8 is and as good as Dave Hollenbeck is, I would not be shocked to see Tommie More in the Sweet 16.

    5.) Most disappointing Class B team: Colman Egan at 3-4. Even though 2 of the losses are to Class A teams, West Central and Hamlin, I expected more from Colman Egan. Football championship hangover? Class A: tie between Tri Valley and St Thomas More. TV played in the state tournament last year and with Noah Jewett returning, the ponies are under-performing and are currently 2-5, including a five game skid. STM graduated most of their scoring and rebounding and I guess everything else. But still, it has been years since Coach Hollenbeck hasn’t put a competitive team on the court. I expect the Cavaliers to steadily improve and make the Sweet 16 out of a very weak region.... but it has not been pretty to date. Class AA: Huron with Kobe Busch, and Isaac Carr and the Evers boys should be better than 2-6 and dangerously close to being on the outside looking in at Seed Points 17 or 18. I know.... I know ... lots of season left to play.

    4.) Two of my favorite players continue to have big games for their respective teams. I have been a big fan of Castlewood’s Caleb DeKam since he burst on the scene as a freshman for the Warriors. He is the best player on a 6-2 Castlewood team that leads Region 3 in Seed Points. Freshman Connor Libis of Dell Rapids St Mary bombed away for 33 points as he led the Cardinals over Deubrook 60-58.

    3.) The top two man combo for the week was produced by Carson Rentz with 24 and Mason Schmidt with 23 for Dell Rapids as they hammered Chamberlain 90-44. This is another piece of evidence in the case for the Dak XII conference being the best from top to bottom. Hard to argue when the conference boasts Madison, Sioux Falls Christian, Tea, Dell Rapids, Vermillion, and Dakota Valley.

    2.) The initial All-Class Top 10 is:

    1. Lincoln — the Patriots were whipped by powerhouse Hopkins Minnesota but there is still lots to like about Lincoln featuring Christophe Bwanya and Diang Gatluak

    2. Harrisburg — if I was a risk taker, I would put the Tigers number 1 ... led by a superior senior class, H-Burg is really good; I saw them take apart Watertown with precision and power ... Ace Zorr, Brady Van Holland, and Chase Altenburg headline

    3. Rapid City Central — 9-0 ... I repeat: 9-0 ... both Dylan Hay and Kailleb Walton-Blanden are going to receive lots of all-state votes

    4. Sioux Falls Christian — the Chargers might be the best team in Sioux Falls ... just ask O’Gorman losers in overtime to SFC and Koln Oppold

    5. Madison — the Bulldogs quickly quieted the Tea proponents in Madison on Friday night, 76-59

    6. Tea — the Titans are more than just Noah Freidel but he is definitely the stud of a very good team ... as another extremely good team: Bridgewater Emery found out

    7. Stevens — yes, believe it, another Rapid City AA team is in the top 10 ... the Raiders are a season opening 4 point loss to O’Gorman away from an undefeated season

    8. Bridgewater Emery — two humbling losses, to Prior Lake Minnesota and Tea, in late December will be barely visible in the rear view mirror as BE, behind Sawyer Schultz and Jamin Arend, charge towards post season in defense of their Class B title

    9. O’Gorman — OG is arguably the third best team in the city and with Derek Robey sitting on the end of the bench these Knights will be a post season force

    10. Clark Willow Lake — the Cyclones would be a Top 5 Class A team but instead they are a Top 2 Class B team ... juniors Jacob Prouty and Micah Burke lead Coach Nesheim’s team

    1.) The number 1 tidbit comes to you from Sioux Falls where an intra-city game between Class A Sioux Falls Christian and AA O’Gorman resulted in an overtime win for Christian. A last second three by Koln Oppold was the game winner, 67-66. The Chargers had big leads throughout the game but still O’Gorman could have won it in regulation and the outcome might have been different with better OG free throw shooting. But making your free throws is part of the game. I think if these two played ten games the results would be 5-5, as there isn’t much separation between them. O’Gorman has played Christian four times in the last four years and each team has won twice. The Chargers are challenging Madison for best program in Class A ... and are definitely one of the elite programs in the entire state. Ditto Sioux Falls O’Gorman with one of the top coaches in the state, Derek Robey. The Knights are usually in the mix in March.

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