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    Weekly Top 10 - March 12

    Here it is: the Weekly Jackalope Top 10 for the week of March 12, 2018.

     10.) Well, here you have it: no region 8 teams from Class A make the state tournament; and one from Class B makes it: Timber Lake.   TL successfully turned back Herreid Selby, 58-54, in the Sweet 16.  The Panthers lost to HS back in December by 30 … what a turnaround for Brayden PayPay and his mates.    Region 7 is well represented in B as both White River and a surprise Lower Brule make the state tournament.   White River is no surprise as they are getting better every game and their junior dominated lineup with be a top 10 B team next year.  Ditto that comment for the Timber Lake boys with no seniors on the roster.   I posted earlier this season that Lower Brule would be a legitimate threat to White River in their region and would quite possibly be a top 10 team with Kalvin Peterson and Chris Comes Flying … but these two are not playing.   Chris was a threat to score 20 every time out last season.  But, you have to play with what you have and Kevin Peterson, Jayshawn Milton, Demas Bromwich, Ben Long Crow and sophomore Shane Sazue make the Sioux a potent team coming together at the right time.  It is the first ever state tournament berth for Lower Brule … Good Luck Sioux!

    9.) Before the season started, I blogged about Bridgewater Emery and "The Quest for 65".  The Huskies came into this season on a 26 game winning streak.  The all-time state winning streak is 64 games set by the Armour Packers.  With two returning all-state players: Sawyer Schultz and Jamin Arend, I talked about Bridgewater Emery extending their winning streak and possibly challenging the Armour record.  We all know how that challenge fizzled out at the hands of Prior Lake Minnesota (a 20 win team playing in the largest classification in Minnesota based on their 2000 plus students) in late December, as BE lost 72-68.  A recap of the Huskies season shows three losses: to Prior Lake and to Tea and Sioux Valley ... arguably two of the better Class A teams.  The bottom line is that BE has not lost to a Class B team in the last two seasons.  Bridgewater Emery is my favorite to win their second consecutive Class B crown. 

     8.) It took an extra day or two but the round of 16 games were finally played.  We had to deal with Tuesday blizzard conditions, Wednesday church night, and the Thursday girls state tournament.  Some of the snowed out games were played on Wednesday night ... hopefully I don't burn in hell for saying this: but big freaking deal that we had to play some games on "church night" because of the weather and because some of those teams have girls playing in state tournaments on Thursday.  An alternative could have been to play the round of 16 games on Monday or Tuesday ... March 12 or 13.  We got the games in ... no harm ... no foul. 

     7.) In Class B, I already talked about Region 7 and 8.  What about the other regions?   The top 3 seeds all advanced: Bridgewater Emery, Sully Buttes, and White River.  Seeds 5, 6, 7 all won also: Clark Willow Lake, Canistota, and Langford.  This sets up a good looking Class B tournament in the initial Sweet 16 format.  I think it is working quite well so far.  Region 1 sends two teams: CWL and Langford.  Region 2 has Sully Buttes.  The region I have been touting as the strongest all season, Region 5, sends both defending champ Bridgewater Emery and Canistota.  As previously mentioned, Region 7 has White River and Lower Brule.  Region 8 is sending Timber Lake.  Regions 3, 4 and 6 are all shut out.  So much for the East River trash talk about how the West River teams would get shut out … except for maybe White River.  It just goes to show that you have to play the games on the court and not on paper. 

    My predictions for Class B:

    1.     Bridgewater Emery

    2.     Sully Buttes

    3.     Clark Willow Lake

    4.     White River

    5.     Langford

    6.     Canistota

    7.     Lower Brule

    8.     Timber Lake

     6.) Class A is looking like a DAK XII plus Native American plus Valley teams kind of tournament.   Region 1 sends zero teams, Region 2 has both Sioux Valley and Madison.   Region 3 has Sioux Falls Christian.  Region 4 gets two teams in: Tea and Dakota Valley.  Region 5 gets nada.  Region 6 sends us Crow Creek.   Region 7 has two worthy Reservation teams: Pine Ridge and Red Cloud.   Region 8 was weak and it showed in the Sweet 16 with both Hot Springs and Tommie More getting bounced.  I have been rating one or both Pine Ridge and Red Cloud all season … nice job for both teams to make the state tournament!   I have also been rating Crow Creek most of the season … the Chieftains are a good team.  The Northeast is down this season and that showed as neither Sisseton or Roncalli made the final 8.  I really feel bad for both Flandreau with Dylan LeBrun and Vermillion with AJ.  It would have been fun to see one or both play their final three high school games in the tournament. 

    My predictions for Class A:

    1.     Sioux Falls Christian

    2.     Madison

    3.     Tea

    4.     Sioux Valley

    5.     Pine Ridge

    6.     Crow Creek

    7.     Dakota Valley

    8.     Red Cloud

     5.) The good news story of the week is from Lower Brule.  The Sioux are making their first ever Class B state tournament appearance.  A Pine Ridge graduate, Yanni Jack, is coaching The Sioux resurgence.  Players who formerly open enrolled at schools like Chamberlain and Lyman are making the Lower Brule basketball program a success.  Demas Bromwich and Kevin Peterson returned from Lyman to play for Lower Brule.  Jayshawn Milton transferred in from Florida and became a high jump champ and one of the leaders on the Sioux basketball team.  This athletic success should make the Lower Brule parents and fans proud.   

     4.) Class A highlights in the Sweet 16 included: Sioux Falls Christian over STM.  Koln Oppold scored 14 and Mitchell Goodbary 13.  For the Cavaliers a sophomore, Ryder Kirsch had 12 and a freshman, Ryan Wojcik scored 12.  As average as the Blue Cavaliers were this season, the next few years will not be as lean considering STM played lots of freshmen and sophomores.  Crow Creek beat Parker 53-50.  Junior Jayden McBride scored 20 and Joe Sazue almost had a double double with 14 and 9 rebounds.  Parker was led by a pair of pretty good juniors: Camden Bialas with 13 points and 11 boards and Trey Christensen with 13 and 8.  Dakota Valley beat Bon Homme 59-50.  Freshman Paul Bruns scored 15 … he is the next DV superstar.  Joey Slama led the Cavaliers with 18 and Bryce Scieszinski added 12.  Sioux Valley beat Hot Springs 79-57.  Trevor Hanson had a huge game with 34 and 15 rebounds.  Max Nielson added 14.  Hot Springs had three players in double figures: Logan Brandt – 17, Logan Gooder – 13 and Matt Norton – 10.  Madison topped Roncalli 62-42.  Tea beat Sisseton 66-48 and will defend their title behind Noah Freidel’s 32 points and 10 rebounds.  Dion Ayarpeya had 25 points for the Redmen.  Red Cloud pounded Miller 79-55.  Pine Ridge beat Dell Rapids 69-66. 

     3.) AJ was named the South Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year.  Some would argue that AJ is not the best basketball player in the state … so why was he named POY?   You could argue that AJ actually is the best player with his season averages of 33.9 ppg, 9.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.9 steals.   That is an outstanding and well rounded resume.  Criteria for the Gatorade POY includes: athletic achievement, academic excellence, and exemplary character (including sportsmanship and participation in community and other activities).  Let’s all be proud of AJ and his accomplishments … congratulations to a fine young man!

     2.) Class B highlights in the Sweet 16 included: Canistota topped Castlewood 67-49.  Connor Carlson had a big game for Canistota with 25 and 17 rebounds.  Freshman Tyce Ortman added 15 and sophomore Trey Ortman scored 11.  Clark Willow Lake beat Sanborn Central Woonsocket 54-37 behind Jacob Prouty’s 19 and Micah Burke’s 11.  The Blackhawks senior guards, Trey Weber and Trent Kingsbury scored 12 and 10.  Bridgewater Emery topped DeSmet 74-60 behind the dynamic duo of the week: Sawyer Schultz with 28 and Jamin Arend with 20.   Gage Gruenhagen topped the Bulldogs with 23. 

    Sully Buttes pounded Harding County 67-33.  White River whipped up on Kimball White Lake 77-44.  Timber Lake behind Brayden PayPay and the Kraft boys, Tucker and Isaac, proved that Region 8 can send a team to the final 8.  Herreid Selby played like few teams do these days and that is flow everything through the post where 6’6 Emmit Bohle completed a very good senior season.  In the closest round of 16 B games, Langford hung on to beat Colman Egan 40-39. 

     1.) The Game of the Week was played in Huron where Lower Brule beat Corsica Stickney, 61-36, to punch their first ever ticket to the State B tournament.  Seniors Kevin Peterson and Demas Bromwich each scored 20.  Good luck to The Sioux as they travel to Aberdeen and face Bridgewater Emery in the first round … it doesn’t get an easier for Lower Brule … but they are guaranteed three more games. 

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