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    Weekly Top 10 - March 5

    Here it is: the Weekly Jackalope Top 10 for the week of March 5, 2018.

    10.) It’s official in Class AA: Brookings and Mitchell were out of the playoffs as they end up as 17 and 18 seeds in a format where the top 16 seeds make the playoffs … only in progressive South Dakota would the policy makers implement a playoff format where some of the teams do not get a chance to play in the post season.   I have never experienced a post season, until this year, where any team was excluded from playing and getting beat, or springing the upset, in that first round game.   Meanwhile Spearfish who has zero wins over any AA foes and two extremely impressive wins over Class A powerhouses, Hill City and Hot Springs, earned the right to get pummeled by Rapid City Central … again (and that is exactly what happened: 100-41).   The top seed, Rapid City Stevens, had a tougher draw playing Pierre than 2 seed RC Central had with Spearfish (and that is exactly how it turned out: 60-45). 

     9.) More on (no, not moron …) Class AA: Sweet 16 results were favorable for two underdogs: Yankton beat Aberdeen Central 47-44 and Douglas beat Brandon Valley 72-69.   If you think Yankton’s win rests solely on the young shoulders of freshman sensation Matthew Mors, you would be wrong.   Even though he scored 19, it was his assist to Cameron Krejci who buried a three as time wound down that turned out to be the game winner.  Cole Bergan ended his high school career with 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Golden Eagles … and what a career it was!   In the other upset, it took Douglas two overtimes but they finally beat Brandon Valley for their first AA tournament berth ever.   The Patriots, who are senior strong, were led by Dan Hand with 22 and junior Dylan Pourier with 15.   Douglas will keep it all Black Hills as they play Rapid City Central in a quarterfinal game in Sioux Falls ... the Black Hills area is guaranteed at least one semifinal team.   Rapid City Central snot slapped Spearfish, 100-41, in the biggest mismatch of this post season ... and any post season in recent memory.   Cameron Hall had 20 and Dylan Hay 17 in the victory.   The two Rapid City AA public schools come into the tournament as the top two seeds: Stevens is number 1 and Central number 2.  

     8.) In Class B early round action: Elkton Lake Benton beat Mitchell Christian on a three by freshman Matthew Nibbe who finished with 31 points, 29 in the 2nd half.   Brandon Benike scored 26 for Castlewood over Iroquois.  Irene Wakonda’s Trey King, 32 points/5 assists/6 steals, outdueled Freeman’s Braxton Schmidt, 26 points/8 rebounds, as the Eagles beat Freeman in 5B action.  Andrew Rorhbach from Aberdeen Christian scored 31 in a first round loss to Britton Hecla.  Gage Gruenhagen continued his high scoring ways by leading DeSmet to victory in first round action with 27 points.   Sanborn Central Woonsocket’s Noah Dickson had a sensational 1st round game with 21 points and 16 rebounds.  Dalton Voelker led Colman Egan over ELB with a double double: 22 points and 14 rebounds.  Dell Rapids St Mary’s Connor Libis outscored Ethan’s Derek Storm 27 to 26 but Ethan won the game. 

    7.) This has been a super season for the state’s best players.   I am often asked: who are the best players in each class?   My opinion is:

    Class AA Super 5

    Matthew Mors – Yankton

    Kailleb Walton-Bland – Rapid City Central

    Brady Van Holland – Harrisburg

    Cole Bergan – Aberdeen Central

    Connor King – Rapid City Stevens

    Class A Super 5

    AJ Plitzuweit - Vermillion

    Dylan LeBrun - Flandreau

    Aaron Fiegen - Madison

    Noah Freidel – Tea

    Trevor Hanson – Sioux Valley

    Class B Super 5

    Sawyer Schultz – Bridgewater Emery

    Mason Larson – Langford

    Jacob Prouty – Clark Willow Lake

    Lincoln Jordre – Sully Buttes

    Trey King – Irene Wakonda

    6.) In Class A early round action: Vermillion began its quest for a berth in the Class A state tournament and superstar AJ Plitzuweit kicked off his senior post season with another phenomenal game against Beresford by scoring 39 points.  In a game showcasing two of the state’s best underclassmen, freshman Paul Bruns led Dakota Valley with 24 points in their victory over Canton led by sophomore Kayden Verley and his 21 points.  Flandreau’s Dylan LeBrun continued his excellence this season as he scored 40 and pulled down 10 rebounds in the Fliers first round win over Flandreau Indian.   If not for the once in a decade (or possibly century) season young Mr. Plitzuweit is having in Vermillion, the state would be buzzing about the outstanding season Mr. LeBrun is having.   Kelby Olson led Belle Fourche to victory over Hill City by scoring 29. 

    Class A results:

    Region 1: went per the seeding as the top 2 seeds both move forward into the Sweet 16: Sisseton and Roncalli.

    Region 2: the top 2 seeds advance: Madison and Sioux Valley.  My commentary on the Sioux Valley vs Flandreau game: The old adage about how hard it is to beat a team three times is pure bull sheet.   In one of the best games on the best night in South Dakota boys basketball, Sioux Valley best a very good Flandreau team, 65-63 in Volga.  This was the third Cossacks victory over Flandreau ... each win getting tighter and tighter.   Sophomore Max Nielson made the winning basket with 13 seconds left.   Fliers star, Dylan LeBrun missed the final shot of a spectacular career as time expired.   He concludes his career as the best player ever to play at Flandreau.   The Fliers are the best team left out of the final 16 for the second straight season.   Cossacks stud Trevor Hanson had a double double with 19 and 10.   Dylan LeBrun scored 26 and pulled down 10 rebounds.   It sucks to be in a region with two top 5 teams for the second consecutive year.   LeBrun and Vermillion star AJ Plitzuweit are the two best players you will not see playing in the state tournament in Rapid City. 

     Region 3: the top 2 seeds advance: Sioux Falls Christian and Dell Rapids

     Region 4: The top 2 seeds both move into the Sweet 16: Tea and Dakota Valley.  The Dakota Valley – Vermillion game was won on a last second shot by the Panthers Jack Graves.  AJ scored 26 in his final high school game.   After graduation, LeBrun and AJ will begin their college careers as teammates at Augustana … that will be fun to watch.  

     Region 5: the top 2 seeds, Bon Homme and Parker advance.   

     Region 6: Miller beats Stanley County and the Buffaloes fairy tale season comes to an end after they pulled the sensational come from behind win in the first round over Chamberlain.   Crow Creek beats McLaughlin for the 2nd time this season.  

     Region 7: the 1 and 2 seeds advance: Pine Ridge and Red Cloud.   Hmmm, first 7 regions have been accounted for and the seeding process is spot on with all of the top seeds winning.  

     Region 8: in the only region where the top 2 seeds did not win, 1 seed Hot Springs wins and 3 seed St Thomas More “upsets” 2 seed Rapid City Christian.  It took some great seeding and a post season game, but St Thomas More played at Rapid City Christian for the first time ever and the game was the first between the two teams since 1996-97.  After the opening tip the game was never close, 56-28 to the Evil Blue Empire.   The Cavaliers are on a roll … the Comets flamed out a month ago.  STM has won four in a row to improve their record to 12-10.  RC Christian lost four of their last six … but can still take pride in an impressive16-6 record in their first season in Class A. 

     5.) The dynamic duo of the week comes to us from Hamlin County where the Chargers channeled past glory years when the Browns and Tetzlaffs were intimidating opponents on the court.   On a night when senior Bryce Williams set the all-time assist record for Hamlin, juniors Devan Weelborg scored 25 and Connor Bawdon scored 19.  Congratulations to Bryce! 

    4.) The seeding in Class B wasn’t perfect but this is how close we ended up based on which seeds made the region semifinals … where Jackalope theoretical perfect would have been seeds 1-4 playing in all region semifinals:

    Region 1

    1 seed – Clark Willow Lake

    2 seed – Warner

    3 seed – Langford

    5 seed – Britton Hecla

    Region 2

    1 seed – Sully Buttes

    2 seed – Herreid Selby

    3 seed – Potter County

    4 seed – Leola Frederick

    Region 3

    1 seed – Arlington

    2 seed – Castlewood

    3 seed – Wolsey Wessington

    4 seed – DeSmet

    Region 4

    1 seed – Colman Egan

    2 seed – Sanborn Central Woonsocket

    5 seed – Ethan

    6 seed – Chester

    Region 5

    1 seed – Bridgewater Emery

    2 seed – Canistota

    3 seed – Viborg Hurley

    4 seed – Irene Wakonda

    Region 6

    1 seed – Corsica Stickney

    2 seed – Colome

    3 seed – Kimball White Lake

    4 seed – Gregory

    Region 7

    1 seed – White River

    2 seed – Lower Brule

    3 seed – Jones County

    5 seed – Lyman

    Region 8

    1 seed – Timber Lake

    2 seed – Faith

    3 seed – Harding County

    5 seed – Takini

    Based on this official analysis, if you were the 5 seed, you had a 50-50 chance to pull the upset and end up in the region semifinal.   The only 3 seed that didn’t survive was Hanson as they were “upset” by a 6 seed Chester team with all-state phenom Devin Eppard.    Just like last year, the seeding process looked solid heading into the region finals. 

    3.) The Class B region final results:

     Region 1: the top seed Clark Willow Lake and 3 seed Langford advance.

     Region 2: the top 2 seeds advance: Sully Buttes and Herreid Selby.

     Region 3: 4 seed DeSmet moves into the Sweet 16 as does 2 seed Castlewood.

     Region 4: the top 2 seeds, Colman Egan and Sanborn Central Woonsocket advance.

     Region 5: 1 and 2 seeds, Bridgewater Emery and Canistota move forward.

     Region 6: 1 seed Corsica Stickney and 3 seed Kimball White Lake are Sweet 16 participants.

     Region 7: the top 2 seeds, White River and Lower Brule, move into the Sweet 16.

     Region 8: top seed Timber Lake and 3 seed Harding County advance. 

     My expert analysis shows: if you were a top seed and not from Arlington, you are playing in the Sweet 16.   Number three seeds from three different regions won in upsets: Langford, Kimball White Lake, and Harding County.  Throw in 4 seed DeSmet and that is how the Class B regions played out. 

     2.) Class A and Class B Sweet 16 predictions.

    Class B:

    Bridgewater Emery – no contest as they blow out DeSmet

    Sully Buttes – this will be a bigger rout than the 1 vs 16 game as Harding County has zero chance

    White River – the Eldon bunch will be too much for KWL as coach has the boys primed for post season

    Corsica Stickney – this is a tough 4 vs 13 as Lower Brule will make this a single digit game … and could even pull the upset

    Clark Willow Lake – Coach Nesheim will have the Cyclones ready to play but Sanborn Central  Woonsocket and their experienced guards along with super soph Noah Dickson will make it interesting

    Canistota – this will be another close game but the higher seed advances

    Langford – Mason Larson and mates have a tough battle with athletic Colman Egan

    Herreid Selby – Timber Lake makes it official: no region 8 teams advance

     Class A:

    Sioux Falls Christian – the Cavaliers post season runs out of gas

    Madison – Bulldogs rip Roncalli

    Sioux Valley – Cossacks work hard to keep it under 100

    Red Cloud – Miller is the first higher seed to fall

    Crow Creek – Parker makes it interesting in their “move to Class A season”

    Dell Rapids – Pine Ridge is a very salty 11 seed and could easily upset

    Tea – the title defense continues

    Dakota Valley – 9 prevails over 8

    1.) The game of the week comes to us from Fort Pierre.    Joey Fischer drained a 3-pointer from the left wing as time ran out as Stanley County was victorious over Chamberlain in the Region 6A boys basketball quarterfinals Tuesday.  Stanley County rallied from nine points down in the final minute.   Brady Hoftiezer had 23 points for the Buffaloes and Fischer scored 16 in the game.   Riggs Priebe scored 29 points for the Cubs, while Louis Running Horse added 22 points.   This is what post season is all about.   The Dakota Valley vs Vermillion game was a close second in Game of the Week consideration … I really did not want to rehash AJ losing out on his opportunity with Tanagers teammates to play in the state tournament. 


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