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    The Black Hills Bullies

    For those of you who slept last night, you missed the SDHSAA attempting to do something never before seen in the state of South Dakota.  The East River boys basketball teams, growing weary of the West River AA boys dominance this year, surreptitiously convened a panel of Athletic Directors with the intent to execute a mid-season reclassification through the SDHSAA.  Rumor has it that the sudden emergence of what has been called behind closed doors, "The Black Hills Bullies", is causing angst amongst the once proud schools in and around The Sioux Empire.  Fortunately this group of rogue ADs was halted in their tracks quite similar to my attempt to get up St Ann's Hill after the latest snowfall in Watertown.  I quote the SDHSAA: "Trying to bring in additional weak teams from schools with ADMs just south of the current AA cutoff with the intent to beat up teams to pad your record now that the Black Hills teams are suddenly difficult to beat, will not be tolerated". 


    EDITOR'S NOTE: The Huron AD was not a part of the East River coalition.   My guess is they are perfectly content to be the best team in the east (Tigers are already looking for that rematch with Watertown).  And Pierre, while technically and geographically East River, is culturally and basketball wise, very West River like so far.


    Sioux Falls Washington with more wins over non-SD competition than in-state teams, was eager to bring some more beatable teams into their class.  Sioux Falls Lincoln can't get out of their own way in the disastrous start to a once potentially promising season.  Potential turns to reality in January and Lincoln is what it is.  My oh my, what happened to the once powerful program called the Mitchell Kernels?  Oh, that's right.  Gary Munsen retired.  The Kernels have claimed one victory and that came over that renowned former Class A juggernaut from Harrisburg.  The Brookings Bobcats have all state talent in Tyler Nagy but have only been able to cobble together a singleton win over the school with the 6th highest ADM: Aberdeen Central.  I guess there is a shortage of basketball talent among the nearly 900 ADM at Aberdeen Central ... presumably approximately half of which would be boys.  Sturgis, RC Stevens and RC Central are all north of 500.  It's a change in scenery for these teams at or near the top of the AA heap.


    Now I take you back to the reclassification shenanigans.  Hold the presses on the reclassification and patch me through to Wayne Carney.  I am hearing on Tweeter, that the Class A faves from Madison have balked at moving up in class and being forced to compete with Huron, Pierre, and the Black Hills Bullies.  This is final: the reclassification has officially been put on hold. 


    However, if the top 32 in ADM were AA, how would the Power Rankings look?


    1. Rapid City Stevens
    All state stud Steven Schaefer leads the Raiders who haven't touched a championship trophy since the two class system when they won the Class A title in 1989.  Matthew Wilson contributes and the Stevens boys only have the one loss by 4 points to Huron.


    2. Madison
    The Class A super power is a legitimate top 5 team regardless of class.  The 'Dogs are the favorite to repeat in Class A and would challenge the top AA teams if competing in that class.  Madison has a plethora of very good players: Preston Nordling, Trae VandeBerg, Rush Milne, and Jacob Giles.


    3. Huron
    I am sold on the Tigers and their four returning starters even after the one point loss to Watertown.  All state talent and USD recruit, Justin Decker is a man among boys.  Caleb Carr, JP Noonan and Lucas Morrison are good also.


    4. Sioux Falls Roosevelt
    Graduation losses made minimal impact on the number 1 ADM school in the state.  Colton Kooima is a star and Chris Phillips is looking good.


    5. Pierre
    The defending AA champs are playing well even after graduating Zach Hanson and Lane Sevryn.  Garrett Pochop and Austin Christopherson are solid guards proving the Governors cupboard is not bare.


    6. Sioux Falls O'Gorman
    The surprising Knights are better than average and in AA that gets you into the Power Rankings.  Why?  Derek Robey can really coach.  Braxton Elliott and Connor Nagel are elite players.


    7. Sturgis
    What do you mean they haven't played anybody?  They hold wins over St Thomas More and Pine Ridge!  Kellen Barden and Tanner Weaver lead the way.


    8. Sioux Valley
    You have to be kidding me!  How can a school with the 55th highest ADM be within smelling distance of the Top 10 Power Rankings in AA?   Well, Coach Vincent convinced the SV AD to petition up.  Coach V wanted the top competition for Baby V.   That's the answer to the question: Tayt Vincent.   SF Washington will find out in February at The Pentagon.


    9. Pine Ridge
    I can hear the AA snobs jeering at this relatively high placement for The Thorpes.  The Pine Ridge boys can faintly hear this emanating from the Sioux Empire: "What?  those boys out there don't play AA defense".  Jeff LeBeau can bang with the best.  Jacob Brown is a dunking machine.  The roster is studded with players who left a stench in Rapid City last year in the Class A tourney and are eager to show better this year in Sioux Falls.


    10. Three way tie
    Rapid City Central
    Nathan Miller and Jake Seales lead an above 500 Central team.
    Yankton
    JJ Hejna ... with that many Js in his name, he has to be able to shoot "the J".  Brady Hale and Reid Sawatzke have performed well early in the season.
    Watertown
    The Arrows are hitting their stride as evidenced by a big win over Huron.  Sophomore Nate Davis is the lead guard and Jesse Poppen is a solid all around player and Jordan Terronez provides length and good skills. 

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