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    Jack's Pre-Season Tidbits

    What a great fall sports season just concluded!   It was another one of those big school football dominations that we have come to expect every fall from the Evil Sioux Empire juggernauts.  What can we expect to see in the winter sports season?   Can any of the out-state AA teams successfully compete with Sioux Falls Lincoln, Washington and O’Gorman?  What about Class A, who steps up now that Madison’s highly successful senior class has moved on to college?  Ditto that comment for The James Valley Christian boys in Class B, who emerges from a highly competitive pack of really good teams?   Who will be the top players in the state?  Is a Class A sophomore really the top player in the state?   Coming up, I will provide the answers to the most burning preseason questions from you, the readers. 

    A long time reader, first time poster, Will from Springfield asks: will Yankton be as successful in basketball as they were in football?

    Jack’s answer: I need some clarification here.  Do you mean, will Yankton dominate the ESD in basketball like they did in football but still suck hind teat to the Sioux Falls boys?  Honestly, I don’t see any non-Sioux Falls team cracking the top 3 in the initial AA poll.  Lincoln is going to be incredibly talented with Addison Park, Kaleb Johnson, Malik Dunn, and Tate Lindsay leading a strong returning group.  Washington will be tough also with Sam Siganos and Deng Geu … and with little or no basketball coach bashing like you might have witnessed if you were fogging a mirror and had your ears on during the football season.   O’Gorman will be in the top 3 led by Davis Cowan and Braxton Elliott.  I like Sturgis from the Black Hills area led by Kellen Barden.  The top ESD teams are in this order: Yankton, Pierre, and Aberdeen Central …. Yes, that Aberdeen Central!

    Lincoln Vonn (no known relation to Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn), a long time and most prolific poster as well as a blatant Sioux Falls cheerleader, asks: when are we going to quit hearing about how good these Class A and B teams are, when we all know they can’t compete with the Sioux Falls teams?

    Jack’s answer: Not all of us agree with the AA snobs who think “if it ain’t AA, it ain’t sheet”.  Take Harrisburg for example.  While playing in the Class A ranks, the Tigers were never used in the same sentence as: The top Class A teams are … Yet last year, in Harrisburg’s maiden voyage in those big bad AA waters, they went 9-11.  Not a stellar record you might say.  I agree … but they competed better last year than they did in recent memory in Class A.   Spearfish has been moving between A and AA the past few seasons and while playing AA, they don’t seem to be overly shell shocked and not obviously miscast to be on the same floor as the likes of Rapid City Central, Stevens and Douglas out in the Black Hills.  Last year, Mitchell and Aberdeen Central were most likely not even the best teams in their respective areas.  Class A Sioux Valley pushed Sioux Falls Washington to the limit last year in their triple overtime loss.  Madison was more than capable of playing AA teams last season … although they likely would not have been undefeated playing against the top AA schools … they would have been competitive.  Finally, I am all for the top Class A and B teams scheduling up and competing against the AA teams.  Yes, I said I am in favor of the top B teams playing AA teams!   

    Colt, from Bison asks: who will come out of the Little Moreau Conference and represent all of us West River ranchers at these “Classics” and in the State B?

    Jack’s answer: The same two perennial powerhouses will be there again … Faith and Harding County.    With an occasional Timber Lake or Dupree salty team pushing its way to the top, but when you look at consistency, you see Faith and Harding County.  I mark that up to good coaching and program building at those two schools.  Kudos to Doug Schauer and Jay Wammen!  Harding County will travel east and play in the Langford Classic and the Wolves Classic in December.  Faith will show no trepidation crossing the Mighty Missouri as they will compete at Langford and Aberdeen as well as the Hanson Classic.  Faith will be very good this year as they return all of their key players from a 16-3 regular season team.  Look for Tyler Hohenberger and JJ Halligan to again lead the way.  Harding County will be tough also led by Harley Mollman and Jarret Jenson. 

    Logan, a prodigious poster from Volga asks: how good will Sioux Valley be this season?

    Jack’s answer: the Cossacks will be among the best in Class A.  Tayt Vincent will begin his sophomore season in his quest to become a four time all-state player … my prediction is that will happen and will include three years as a first team selection.   Anyone watching Tayt The Great play will be witnessing a young man who will be playing his way into a Division 1 scholarship.  Sioux Valley’s problem this year will be their region competition.  Clark Willow Lake and Tyson Jenkins are in the same region.  Those two teams will battle it out for region supremacy.  The top Class A teams (in no particular order) will be: Sioux Valley, Clark Willow Lake, Aberdeen Roncalli, Dell Rapids, Lennox, McCook Central Montrose, Red Cloud, and St Thomas More.  Those 8 teams will be on my first Class A top 10 ballot as well as 2 other TBD teams. 

    The Captain and Tony Tennille from Altoona Township ask: who do you have winning Class B?

    Jack’s answer: this will be a good year to be a Class B fan with many teams capable of playing well and competing for the B title.  Platte Geddes has to the start the season as the favorite after a successful State B tournament culminating in a 2nd place finish.  Coby Johnson and Carter Dykstra, both all-tourney selections, are two horses Coach Cutler can ride a long way with Johnson being a returning all-state player.  Langford with Bo Fries and Warner led by Derek Tuszka will be stout in Region 1.  Potter County with Caleb Meinke will be good again.  Hitchcock Tulare led by Landon Gatzke and Chase Bixler will battle Sully Buttes with Brayden Wittler and Scott Sentfer.  Arlington with Andrew King will be good as will Sanborn Central Woonsocket with Tucker Kingsbury and Wolsey Wessington led by Lorenzo Williams in the other district.  Hanson will be a top 5 team with Taylor Nichols and Jordan Marquardt.  Freeman led by Cole Paulson and Brennan Schmidt will be good.  Gregory with Gavin Thomas and Robert Vomacka will push Platte Geddes in their region.  White River will be typically good and look out for Philip with Paul Guptil and Kruse Bierle in the other side of that region.  Faith and Harding County will battle it out in District 16.  McIntosh with Kyle Mollman and McLaughlin with Payton Tiokasin are favorites in the other district. 

    Fran K. Cutloose from Platte asks: so who are the top 5 Class B teams:

    Jack’s answer: well Fran, if you didn’t have such a potent team with arguably one of the top coaches in the state, I would call you out for trolling for good press for the Black Panthers.  My top 5 Class B:

    1. Platte Geddes
    2. Hanson
    3. Hitchcock Tulare
    4. Warner
    5. Faith

    Those teams knocking on the door would include (in no particular order): Sanborn Central Woonsocket, Wolsey Wessington, Philip, Gregory, White River, Langford, Sully Buttes, Potter County, Harding County, Alcester Hudson, and Arlington. 

    That’s a wrap folks!   Keep the questions coming and I promise to answer them as they come in. 


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