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SD High School Class A Girls Basketball Region Tournament Preview

The South Dakota high school girls basketball Class A region tournaments start March 2. Here are some of the favorites to make it to Rapid City, as well as more information on all the contenders in the regions.

Region 1A

SoDak 16 Favorites

Aberdeen Roncalli

I’ve been impressed with Roncalli’s play all season long. They finished the season strong with five consecutive 20-plus point wins. This is an athletic group with great senior leadership. Head Coach Derek Larson wants them to turn up their confidence though, “Our team needs to be confident in themselves on the offensive end of the floor. Our defense has been the one constant that has been there every game.” Mariah Winegar leads the team in scoring and assists. Look for more balanced scoring from sophomores Morgan Fiedler and Madelyn Bragg with a nice punch from seniors Abby Hanson and Jori Ewart. This group has made the state tournament the last two seasons and has their eyes set on another trip this year.

Redfield

The Pheasants get scoring from all their starters. Kallie Clausen (16.1 PPG), Addison Rozell (12.5 PPG) and Goergia Kuehn (9.0 PPG) lead the way. Head Coach Tommy Gregg wants to establish the post to keep their season alive, “Need to establish the paint by either getting the ball inside to our post players or getting there off the dribble. We really want to attack the defense and get some high percentage shots. Continue to play good solid defense(s) and make the other team work to score. We feel we have some pieces on our team that can make it difficult to for the opposing team to score. One of goals is to win the rebounding battle every night and we feel if we can do that, we have a chance.

The Rest of the Contenders

Sisseton had an up and down year but finished with a winning record. They have three players who average double-digits with Lexus RedThunder, Hannah Goodharst and Kellie Karst. Head Coach Dan Karst wants his team to improve on their turnovers, "We need to take care of the ball, limit our turnovers and remember what made us more successful than last year.” Sisseton is a strong and experienced bunch that would love to make a run.

Notes of Interest
  • Redfield’s Addison Rozell missed the first quarter of the season recovering from a knee injury but has been solid since returning.
  • Redfield has lost to the eventual champion in each of the last two SoDak 16 matchups (STM ’18, Winner ’19).
  • Mariah Winegar is the all-time leading scorer in Roncalli school history at 1,248 points and counting.

Region Roundup

Roncalli and Redfield are the decided favorites in this region. Between the two teams they have just one loss in the region (Roncalli beat Redfield on January 9). If Sisseton is to crash the party they’ll have to step up their game.

 

Region 2A

SoDak 16 Favorites

Hamlin

The Chargers won 11 in a row down the stretch to finish 18-2 for the season. They hope to carry that momentum into March, “For us to be successful in the post season, we just need to continue to play together and have everyone do their job,” said Coach Tim Koisti. “We have talked about that all season, no matter who we play, if we each do our job, everything will fall into place.”

The Chargers play great team ball with Kami Wadsworth, Kylee Wadsworth, Logan Keszler all scoring in double digits. They also can get offense from McKenna Prouty and Ashtyn Abraham which makes them near impossible to slow down.

Flandreau

The Fliers get a lot of production from Hannah Parsley. She holds five school records and is an all-state level player who averages 18.1 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 4.0 apg to go with an astounding 5.3 steals per game. She’s truly a coach’s dream. But it’s not just Hannah that has made the Fliers a state contender, Maria Parsley, Teiloni Hardy, Claire Sheppard and Bella Pavlis make them a deep and athletic team. Head Coach Megan Severton has done a great job preparing this team for a playoff run, “It will be important, that regardless of who we play, we put together an entire game from start to finish.”

The Rest of the Contenders

Clark/Willow Lake is a high-tempo team that is deep enough to compete in this region. Coach Sam Williams is excited to see what their ceiling is, “To be our best in the playoffs we need to continue to do what we do, and do it well,” said Williams. “We’ve taken some big steps forward these last couple weeks and cleaned up some areas that needed attention, and because of that we’ve been able to reach a new level of play, just in time for the post season.” Alicia Vig, Jada Burke, Olivia Sass and Charity Kabwe all average between 7-11 points per game.

Notes of Interest
  • Hamlin has won the Northeast Conference Championship for 6 years in a row.  The Chargers are 58-1 in the NEC during that time.
  • Flandreau’s coach Megan Severton has never coached a game that Hannah Parsley hasn’t played in in her five years at the school.
  • Clark/Willow Lake force an average of 18 turnovers per game, and they’ve had six different players who’ve led the team in scoring.

Region Roundup

This region is top-heavy with two heavyweight contenders in Hamlin and Flandreau. But this region also has some depth in the middle. The seventh seed Sioux Valley Cossacks went 9-11 and are a dangerous matchup.

 

Region 3A

SoDak 16 Favorites

West Central

Last season West Central got hot at the right time of the year, they’re hoping they have another run in them this year. Head Coach Joey Caffrey likes the fact that they’re getting healthy, “We are starting to get some of our players that have had injuries/illness healthy for a playoff push. We need our defense to really step up and hold teams down, rebound, and make plays.” The defense of this team continues to be the reason for success. They have a lot of athletes who contribute on both ends of the court including: Cheyanne Masterson (7.6ppg), Cassidy Siemonsma (13.0 ppg), Josslin Jarding (9.1 ppg), Rylee Haldeman (10.8 ppg) and Addy Kramer (12.1 ppg). West Central is a major threat to watch in Class A.

Tri-Valley

The Mustangs had a five-game win streak to start the year and had another seven-game streak toward the end of the year to get their win total to 13 this season. Dan Jewett’s team saw huge gains from last year, “Last year we only won 3 games. The girls put a lot of time in the gym last summer, and it has paid off for them,” said Jewett. “In order for us to be successful in the post season, we have to shoot the ball well from the perimeter and rebound.” A couple of sophomores helped steer this team back on track. Paige Jewett and Tabor Teel have led the team in scoring. They’ve been a great defensive team and outside shooting team but to advance into the playoffs they’ll have to matchup in the post and keep those shots going in from deep.

The Rest of the Contenders

Deubrook and Hitchcock-Tulare are both waiting in the weeds, getting ready for their chance in this top-heavy region.

The Dolphins are led by Baylee Holmlund, who averaged 14.4 points per game this season. Deubrook has put together a nice run this year, but Coach Brad DeBeer knows it’ll take an even better effort in the playoffs. "We are going to have to commit to boxing out and being a better rebounding team. Our consistency on offense needs to improve as well.  We can score points quickly but have to be confident in what we are doing," he said.

Coach Kristi Smith and Hitchcock-Tulare went 15-5 this year. That’s the most regular season wins at H-T since Coach Smith was a player there in 2003. Elizabeth Salmen and Dannyn Peterson are both big scoring threats for the Patriots. Coach Smith has turned things around and hopes to keep the season going. “It's been a fun year. I told the girls to enjoy every moment. Our goal is still be still playing in March!” she said.

Notes of Interest
  • When West Central played Tri-Valley on February 4th, T-V scored 27 points in the first quarter. There was a total of six players in double-digit scoring that game as Tri-Valley won 54-44.
  • West Central hasn’t had a losing season since 2009-2010.
  • Sioux Falls Christian player, Lexi Unruh, verbally committed to Creighton as a junior this season. She has missed most of the year due to injury.

Region Roundup

West Central doesn’t have as good a record as last year but they have played an extremely tough schedule and are ready for what’s ahead. They are the favorite for sure, but up and coming Tri-Valley has the pieces to make a run as well. Sioux Falls Christian could be a dark horse but the fourth seed means a likely matchup with West Central which makes it difficult to project a SoDak 16 bid.

 

Region 4A

SoDak 16 Favorites

Lennox

In the last few seasons, Lennox knows what it’s like to miss the state tourney, get to the semis and lose and get to the finals and lose, they desperately want a shot to do the one thing they haven’t yet, win it all. They have the tools and showed it after a 19-1 season. Madysen Vlastuin is having another outstanding season with some big numbers (20.2ppg, 5.7reb, 2.1ast), but Rianna Fillipi (15.9ppg, 3.5reb, 4.9ast, 4.3spg) has done just as much to get the Orioles in state contention. Isabel Ihnen, Mara Hinker and Gracie Bowers have been outstanding in their roles as well. Head Coach Adam Quail has his sights set on a successful run, “For us to be successful we need to continue to play together with high intensity and effort. Good things happen when we value the basketball, rebound, and defend as a team.”

Tea Area

The Titans put together a 15-5 season and their five losses were all extremely competitive. They’ve become a legitimate contender thanks to the all-around play from their starting five. Olivia Ritter has been on fire recently and averages 21.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.5 apg and 2.25 spg. Bailey Conrad may be the best distributor in the class with 12.9 ppg and 6.6 apg. Desirae Patzwald, Sam Kloos and Grace Stansbury all can make some noise too.

The Rest of the Contenders

Dakota Valley is one of the most dangerous contenders in the region. Rylee Rosenquist is having a huge season (18.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.5 spg, 3 apg). They’re getting a great team effort from Rachel Rosenquist, Grace Bass, Morgan Tritz, Jorja VanDenHul and Peyton Tritz. Dakota Valley is 1-5 this season when giving up more than 60 points in a game. Head Coach Tammy Lilly makes it simple, “We need to play disciplined, rebound and stay out of foul trouble as we come out and battle to extend our season.”

Vermillion should be considered a team to watch. They’re not a tall team but they get after it on defense. Head Coach Jon Brooks wants to get more consistent, “We need to play consistently on the offensive end to be successful in Region play. Our Region is very difficult so will need to be excellent on both ends of the floor to win games.” Lexi Plitzuweit (16.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg) and Lexi Saunders (10.2 ppg) have provided a bunch of offense but they only score 47.9 points per game as a team.

Beresford is another team that you can’t overlook. They’ve been a consistently good team in recent years but will need to find another level of defense in order to move on.

Notes of Interest
  • Dakota Valley’s Rylee Rosenquist broke the single game school rebounding record with 20 and the single game scoring record with 35 points this season.
  • Lennox has a lot of interesting behind the scenes facts including, Mara Hinker leads the team in falling, Isabel Ihnen literally can’t eat with her mouth closed, Madysen Vlastuin has Juice Stop before every game, Rianna Fillipi won’t shoot at halftime and Gracie Bowers is incapable of being mad. Thanks for the insight ladies.
  • Vermillion’s regular rotation is an equal combination of freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Region Roundup

Region four is deep once again. Lennox should get back to the SoDak 16 if they play their game but the potential matchup between Tea Area and Dakota Valley is definitely in the air. There are some great individual players in this region, can’t wait to watch them shine.

 

Region 5A

SoDak 16 Favorites

McCook Central/Montrose

MCM has one of the toughest teams to matchup with. Their height and length are a problem for opposing teams. They have a nice balance of guard play and size. Four girls average double figures and 2 are guards and 2 are posts. 

Head Coach Doug Durfee wants to step it up a notch, “Now that it is tourney time, we need to play our best basketball. The level of energy, intensity, and heart need to increase and step up this time of year. Hopefully we can put all of this together and have some great games still to come.”

Jacy Pulse (18.5 ppg, 3.0 apg) runs the offense and leads the team in scoring but the posts are very active too. Madisen Koepsell (13.8 ppg, 9.7 rpg) and Abigail Van Ruler (10.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg) are two imposing six-footers who can make things happen.

Mt. Vernon/Plankinton

All the team’s six losses this year came to teams who were ranked at the time. Emilee Fox has taken a giant step as an eighth grader this year, she led the team in ppg (18.1) and apg (4.1). They also get big-time contributions from senior Katlyn Briggs, who recently went over 1,000 career points. They hope to put together a run and get back to the state tournament this year. Coach Preston Kristensen is excited for the challenge, “We emphasize winning the rebound battle each game. We also play our best basketball when we are creating turnovers and getting transition points. Offensively, we have to have an attack mindset and be able to execute during crunch time.”

The Rest of the Contenders

Parkston is a very tough and athletic team. They get great contributions from Emma Yost (13 ppg, 8 rpg), Izzy Hohn (4 ppg, 4 rpg), Sydney Wickersham (8 ppg, 5 rpg, 3 apg) and Allison Ziebart (6 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 spg).  They are built on defense and give up just 38.2 points per game. Head Coach Brooke Seiler has them playing well, “In order for our team to be successful this post season we will need to be consistent with scoring and taking care of the ball,” said Seiler. “We will also need to be really solid defensively and try to keep top players on other teams in check. We will rely on our senior leadership with Sydney Wickersham who has been our starting point guard since she was a freshman. We also rely on freshman Emma Yost to defend inside along with Izzy Hohn. Tiah Holzbauer and Allison Ziebart also get the task of guarding some of the other team’s best players as well.”

Notes of Interest
  • Parkston participates in a “Charge Challenge” with O’Gorman. They’ve taken 14 charges. They do this in memory of former Parkston student Taylor Thuringer who died last year in a automobile accident.
  • MVP’s eighth grader Emilee Fox led the team in scoring this year.
  • MCM has three players committed to play college athletics on their basketball team but none of them in basketball (Jacy Pulse, Track at USD; Abigail Van Ruler, Volleyball at DSU; Emily Bies, Volleyball at DWU).

Region Roundup

One of the most anticipated games in the region is the potential semifinal matchup between MVP and Parkston. They played on February 20th in Mt. Vernon and MVP won 47-34. If they play again I expect a much closer game.

 

Region 6A

SoDak 16 Favorites

Crow Creek

Crow Creek has been a huge surprise in Class A this year. They went 18-2 with a forfeit loss to open the season and a loss to the number one team in the state (Winner). They’ve been at their best over the last month with Kaylee Wells (22.4 ppg) leading the way. Haylee Langdeau, Audrey Drapeau and Rosee Drapeau have been dynamite in the backcourt.

Miller

Miller has been very good this year. They played Crow Creek back on January 21 to a three-point game and tested Winner in the season finale and stayed within ten. They’re at the best and feel like they can play with anyone.

The Rest of the Contenders

Cheyenne-Eagle Butte, Mobridge-Pollock and Chamberlain all have the firepower to win a couple games. CEB is the only team of this group who’s beaten either Crow Creek or Miller during the season. They could be headed for a rematch against Miller in the semifinals.

Notes of Interest
  • Kaylee Wells of Crow Creek has had at least four blocks in 12 of her 20 games.

Region Roundup

Crow Creek should earn a spot in the SoDak 16 but the semifinal to watch looks like Cheyenne-Eagle Butte vs. Miller. They played on the opening game of the year where CEB took a 51-47 win at home. This time around could be different.

 

Region 7A

SoDak 16 Favorites

Winner

The Warriors have tackled every obstacle in their way this season, but Larry Aaker wants to make sure they continue to get better, “We will keep working hard and look to improve on both ends of the floor.” If they improve any more, they’ll be unbeatable. The defending champs have only had three games within 10 points this year so their experience and athleticism will have to push them through if they get into close games as the playoffs heat up.

Bella Swedlund continues to become a star, she averages over 20 points per game and gets 7 boards per game. Morgan Hammerbeck and Kalla Bertram are also capable of producing offense. They continue to dominate despite having just one senior on the roster.

Red Cloud

Red Cloud has gone 18-2 very quietly this year. Their only losses came to Crow Creek and St. Thomas More. The Crusaders are a team that likes to push the pace and have scored 70 points or more in eight games this year.

The Rest of the Contenders

Todd County came into the season with a lot of inexperience but have steadily improved. Their guards Kelsie Herman (26.2 ppg) and Lainee Four Horns (13.9 ppg) provide the offense and outside shooting. Bretany White Hat and Alexis Walking Eagle hit the boards. Head Coach Robert Boyd commented on the team’s potential, "I think we have to be a better defensive ball team to be successful in the playoffs. When we are at our best is when we are out in the open floor. To do that, we have to give ourselves those opportunity by playing great defense, getting stops and then getting out and running. But our Region is stacked with teams hoping to do the same thing. When you have the State Champs and a great program like Red Cloud, Pine Ridge and Little Wound, it's going to be an interesting playoff."

Pine Ridge finished 13-7 and are coming into the playoffs with five wins in a row against quality competition.

Notes of Interest
  • Winner averages about 15 assists per game as a team.
  • Lainee Four Horns of Todd County shoots 43% from three-point field goals.

Region Roundup

Winner and Red Cloud are the cream of the crop. Of all the regions in Girls A they seem like the safest bets to advance to the SoDak 16. 

 

Region 8A

SoDak 16 Favorites

St. Thomas More

The Cavaliers have been a powerhouse in Class A for the last decade. Last season they broke their streak of five straight titles. This year they are a legitimate contender although not the favorite to win it all. They went 18-2 with their only losses coming to Winner and Class AA Brandon Valley. They play a very balanced game with junior Haleigh Timmer leading the way.

Hill City

The Rangers put together a 15-5 season. Their lone senior Emily Siemonsma averages 4.6 points per game, the rest of the scoring is underclassmen-led. Abby Siemonsma, Whitney Edward and Hailey Wathen have been steady options for Hill City.

The Rest of the Contenders

Lead-Deadwood has a weapon named Anna Campbell who averages 16 ppg, 7 rpg to lead the way for the Diggers. L-D vaulted to a 14-6 record with a strong defensive system and a lot of senior experience. Head Coach Timothy Hansen gives the keys to a successful postseason, “To play our best, we need to play our defensive system with aggressive confidence. Controlling the boards defensively is another key. Offensively, we need to keep our turnovers down and shoot a solid percentage from the floor and FT line.”

Notes of Interest
  • Lead-Deadwood’s Anna Campbell is a DWU basketball signee and reached the 1,000 point milestone earlier this year. 
  • Freshman Olivia Kieffer of Rapid City Christian averaged 24.4 points per game this year and had 7 30-point games.

Region Roundup

St. Thomas More has the alley to the SoDak 16 wide open. They will have to get consistent shooting from all their starters to make a deep playoff run. The other SoDak 16 spot is wide open. If Belle Fourche has improved enough from their opening night when they lost to Hill City 59-31, they could be a factor.

 

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