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    Weekly Top 10 - February 19

    Here it is: the Weekly Jackalope Top 10 for the week of February 19, 2018.

    10.) Colman Egan is quietly gaining momentum as the calendar nears March.   The Hawks are 12-1 in their last 13 games ... with the only loss against Corsica Stickney at the DWU Classic.  They just finished their regular season with an impressive win over another Class B power, Canistota, 47-46.  CE won the Dakota Valley Conference title for the second year in a row with their win over Dell Rapids St Mary.   Bodee Gross outscored Connor Libis in that game 25 to 20.    Bodee is heating up at the right time.  Bodee and brother Kade have been playing varsity since 8th grade and are looking to finish their senior season strong ... just as they did by winning the 9B football championship last fall.   The boys have surged to the top of Region 4 Seed Points.   I don’t see them as a team that will be playing for the B championship, but because of their strong senior core and athleticism, they will be competitive in March. 

     9.) Pine Ridge and Red Cloud continue to compete for top seed in Region 7.  Red Cloud beat the Thorpes in early January in their regular season head-to-head matchup.   However, today Pine Ridge leads in Seed Points.   PR has a tremendous junior class led by: Corey Brown, Juwon Garner, Darrell Vitalis, and Halin Bad Bear.   The Thorpes are really good this year ... and will be even stronger next season.   Pine Ridge has completed their regular season.   Red Cloud has one more game vs Bennett County, and I expect them to win. 

    8.) Madison traveled to Vermillion to play the Tanagers on Monday night.   There was just too much team for Madison and not enough team for Vermillion and the Bulldogs won 86-70.   AJ Plitzuweit was once again the player who was most watched/guarded and he still wound up with 34 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals before fouling out.   Madison plays defense like very few other Class A teams do and they have three of the best players/athletes in the state in Aaron Fiegen, Jaxon Janke, and Jadon Janke.  AJ was guarded like he had a Bulldog in his pocket all night and still scored more than most players would score in two or more games.   I am already looking forward to following AJ at Augustana as he continues his basketball career next season. 

    7.) This week we have a terrific trio recognition.   With future Jackrabbits, Aaron Fiegen (Basketball), Jadon Janke (Football), and Jaxon Janke (Football), Madison has a threesome as good as any in the state.   They demonstrated just how good they are during the Vermillion game.  Jaxon had 20, Jadon 19, and Aaron 18 against the Tanagers.

    6.) Brookings is on the downward cycle of the roller coaster at 4-14 this year after having a solid season last year.  This is partly because the Bobcats had several seniors playing last year with sophomore Drew Cole being the only non-senior playing significant minutes.  Drew is having a very good junior season and he is one of the top players in the class of 2019.  He continues his excellence this season as he scored 30 in the Bobcats loss to O’Gorman.   Unfortunately for Drew and his fellow Bobcats, the post season is a long shot for them as they will likely not finish in the top 16 of Class AA.   

    5.) Once again my inbox was flooded with fans (and likely some parents) who just had to tell me about “the local star” I forgot to mention in my “Super 8” of the Class of 2019, Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 ... as swell as my touting of several players and their spectacular scoring over the past couple weeks.  Junior guard Tyler Ogle scored 42 in Faulkton’s loss to Miller (Tyler and his parents are the only people in the world who thought he would ever score 42) and the Rustlers Steven Fernholz had a double double with 24 points and 13 rebounds in that game.  Milbank’s Jonny Ash scored 26 in the Bulldogs victory over Ortonville Minnesota.   Devin Eppard scored 32 in Chester’s game vs Dell Rapids St Mary.  Roncalli’s Gus Reede scored 28 in the game against Britton Hecla.   Pierre’s Peyton Zabel scored 26 in the Governors loss to Brookings.    Cole Bergan scored 33 in Aberdeen Central’s win over Harrisburg.   Beware the surging Golden Eagles on a 6 game winning streak.   Devin Eppard (honored again … all-state caliber season for the Chester star) scored 38 for Chester vs Deubrook.   Tiospa Zina’s Divante Greeley scored 21 vs Webster.   Sisseton’s Dion Ayarpeya scored 27 against Hamlin.  Joey Slama scored 30 for Bon Homme in their win over Gregory.   Ale Rama scored 21 to lead Red Cloud over Sturgis … that helps the Crusaders Seed Points.   Avon’s Jacob Cihak scored 27 vs Freeman.   Sophomore Brady Hawkins scored 22 for Ethan against Tripp Delmont Armour.   Freshman Brady Fritz led Winner over Mobridge Pollock with 29 points.  Pine Ridge’s Corey Brown had a huge night against Todd County with 35 points.   Arlington’s Will Parry led the Cardinals with 21 against Chester.  The good folks from Brandon Valley chastised me for not including their junior star guard Evan Talcott and his class mate Carter Olthoff in the “Super 8” of the Class of 2019 ... truthfully, Evan might have been the last man out in the decision making process.  Brandon Valley will be very good next year with the strong junior core playing big roles this season.   The fans of the Douglas Patriots had similar comments about star junior guard Dylan Pourier not making the “Super 8”.   Oh well, I can’t make everybody happy. 

     4.) The Lake Central Conference champions this season are Sioux Valley.   The Cossacks beat Castlewood 94-67 at Castlewood in a game witnessed by Mr. Jackalope.  It was an impressive show of team power against a good Class B team.   I know I know, I can hear it now: Sioux Valley plays a weak schedule and plays all these Class B teams.   This was a conference game, so I am guessing they had to play it in spite of the protests from the fans across the state who want them to play Sioux Falls Christian and Tea and Madison every week.  Back to the game: Trevor Olson was on fire from behind the arc with 7 treys and 36 points.   Trevor Hanson excited the crowd with 4 slams and 24 points.  I was really impressed by the floor play of Max Nielson with a bunch of assists and Ryan Schuster who added some scoring punch.  As usual, Caleb DeKam and Brandon Benike led Castlewood. 

    3.) Region 5B is arguably the most competitive and has the most high caliber teams: Bridgewater Emery, Canistota, Viborg Hurley, and Irene Wakonda are all assigned to Region 5B.   On Thursday night in Canistota, two of these very good teams played in “the other” game of the week: Canistota beat Irene Wakonda in overtime.   Canistota had to come from behind to win after trailing by four at half time.   Freshman Tyce Ortman continued his season long learning and improvements for the Hawks and led Canistota with 18 points.   Connor Carlson contributed a double double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.   As usual Tate Gale and Trey King led IW in scoring with16 and 15 points.   In another Class B Region 5 battle, Bridgewater Emery came from behind to beat Irene Wakonda, 70-62.  IW led by four at halftime.   The two best Eagles, Trey King with 32 and Tate Gale with 17, were not enough to overcome another stellar game from Carter Dye with 26 and Sawyer Schultz with 17.   Dye is really showing improvement this season.   When I see him play, the one thing that impresses me the most about him is the great footwork he exhibits for a 6’3 player.   This footwork helps him move well without the ball on offense, gain rebounding advantage, and position himself well on defense.  His continued excellent play is a good news story for the Huskies as they prepare to defend their Class B title.   In another close game, Bridgewater Emery had to come from 4 down at halftime and powered by a huge third quarter beat Parker 68-62.   Carter Dye had a double double with 22 points and 10 rebounds and Sawyer Schultz also scored 22.  Region 5 will be a hotly contested region with BE and IW and Canistota and Viborg Hurley all capable of representing in the Sweet 16. 

     2.) The good news story of the week comes out of Flandreau.   If you guessed this story involves star Dylan LeBrun, you would be correct.   Dylan scored 35 in the Fliers win over DeSmet.   However, the uniqueness of Dylan’s scoring is not in another 30 plus game for the Augustana commit, it is the fact that he passed the 2000 career point level in this game!   Congratulations!   In another phenomenal story in a season with so many stars having so many spectacular games, Yankton’s freshman Matthew Mors scored point number 1000 in Watertown.   Creighton.... or whatever team ends up winning the recruiting war for young Mr. Mors will be getting a young man who already has excelled at basketball and achieved more than most do by the time they are seniors. We also have another new member of the 1000 point club.   Cole Bergan from Aberdeen Central joined the club this week in a game against Brookings.  

    1.) The number 1 tidbit of the week comes out of Rapid City ... again.   In a season where traditional power, St Thomas More is uncharacteristically mediocre, and Rapid City Christian leads Region 8A Seed Points, the two Rapid City AA schools are running 1-2 in Seed Points.   I have to slap myself to make sure it isn’t a dream ... but, believe it.   On February 2nd at Stevens, Rapid City Central lost to the home team, 57-53.   This week, RC Central turned that loss around at home by beating the Raiders 59-55.   Senior Day was good for the senior Cobblers.   Central seniors produced: Dylan Hay - 8 points, Kailleb Walton-Blanden - 18 points, Camden Talley - 10 points were complemented by the interior play of 6’6 junior Elijah Williams.  Cooper Bowman scored 15 for Stevens.   Central was number 1 and Stevens number 2 after their game this week.    Today the positions are flipped with Stevens number 1 and Central 2nd.   That is how close these two teams are in overall play this season … where each has a four point win at home over the other team. 

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