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SD High School Basketball Season Preview: Boys Class B

There are some big storylines in Class B this year. Can White River make it to their 16th straight state tournament? How many points above the 2,000 milestone mark will Connor Libis score? Are there any teams that could surprise us? Will the junior-led De Smet Bulldogs get upset? Here’s a recap of what to watch for in Class B. 

Boys B

1. De Smet

Last Season: 22-2

Returning Starters: 5

  • Kalen Garry 6’3 Jr. 21 PPG, 7 RPG
  • Rett Osthus 6’0 Jr. 11 PPG, 5 RPG, 5 APG
  • Tory Holland 6’3 Jr. 11 PPG, 5 RPG
  • Ethan McCune 6’1 Sr. 9 PPG, 7 RPG
  • Cody Cavanaugh 6’0 Sr. 7 PPG, 5 APG, 5 RPG

Team Outlook

Last season the Bulldogs didn’t start a senior and still were one of the top teams in the state. Junior, Kalen Garry is a prolific scorer and is one of the best players in the state regardless of class. De Smet isn’t tall but they’re very good at defending all the positions. They will add some height into the rotation with 6’7 Damon Wilkinson (So.). Head Coach Jeff Gruenhagen likes the team’s balance, “Garry is a two-time All-Stater and will be our leader but the other 4 starters can score just as well and lead us on any given night.” They’ll be the team to beat in Class B.

2. White River

Last Season: 20-3

Returning Starters: 2

  • Joe Sayler 6'3 Soph G 18.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.8 SPG
  • Dylan Marshall 6' Jr G 11.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.2 APG, 2.4 SPG

Team Outlook

Head Coach Eldon Marshall has just two starters back but that doesn’t change the team’s expectations, “The team has set very high goals again this year and they're looking forward to competing against the best in order to improve. They've been working very hard together every day to get better.” They’ll be led by SDSU commit, super sophomore, Joe Sayler (18.1 ppg). Joe had an outstanding freshman year and has committed to improving coming into this season. Junior Dylan Marshall (11.0 ppg) and senior Colbe Scott are also in the backcourt with some up and coming potential in the frontcourt. The Tigers have qualified for the state tournament for 15 consecutive years and will be a contender yet again this year.

3. Platte-Geddes

Last Season: 20-3

Returning Starters: 5

  • Kelby VanDerWerff 6’5 Sr. 15.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.1 APG
  • Brody Boltjes 5’9 Sr. 4.7 PPG, 2.6 APG
  • Will Miller 6’1 Sr. 4.7 PPG, 2.3 APG
  • Caden Foxley 6’4 Jr. 12.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG
  • Jackson Neuman 6’0 Jr. 2.6 PPG 2.4 RPG

Team Outlook

The Black Panthers return 10 letter winners with all their leaders intact. “We will have good athletes, good depth, experience returning and hope to use that to our advantage,” said Frank Cutler who is in his 32nd year as head coach.

4. Viborg-Hurley

Last Season: 20-3

Returning Starters: 6 with starting experience

  • Chase Mason Sr. (Injured) 10.9 PPG
  • Gradee Sherman Sr. 16.9 PPG
  • Grant Mikkelsen Sr. 9.0 PPG
  • Eli Boomgarden Sr. 9.8 PPG
  • Carter Gust Sr. 2.7 PPG
  • Angel Johsnon Sr.

Team Outlook

The Cougars lost just two seniors from last year’s campaign, but they also lose senior guard Chase Mason due to a season-ending football injury. But the horizon isn’t bleak. Viborg-Hurley has a full stock of seniors led by Gradee Sherman, Grant Mikkelsen and Eli Boomgarden who are ready to go.

5. Dell Rapids St. Mary

Last Season: 15-6

Returning Starters: 3

  • Connor Libis Sr. 25.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG
  • Max Herber Sr. 8.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG
  • Sam Palmer 8.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG

Team Outlook

It’s a good sign when you return 81% of your scoring with seven seniors back; plus, you add an all-state caliber player to your roster. A good sign indeed. But the St. Mary Cardinals will need to take a step up to compete with the elite teams in Class B after finishing 15-6 a year ago. Connor Libis (25.3) is 100 points shy of the school record for points and is primed for a big senior year. Ashaun Roach-Valandra (14 ppg) played at Todd County last year and adds to the mix for the talented Cardinals. Max Herber and Sam Palmer are great players and continue to get better and better.

Other Contenders

Aberdeen Christian: Last year the Aberdeen Christian moved into the elite neighborhood and it looks like they aren’t renting the space, they plan to stay for a while. Four of their top six scorers are back including sophomore Jackson Isakson and seniors Brent Ekanger and Jett Becker.

Canistota: The only team to beat De Smet in class B last year, the Hawks have Tyce Ortman and a strong senior class returning.

Howard: The Tigers could be a sneaky-good team in Class B. They have 6-7 DWU commit Sam Aslesen (16 ppg) back along with Tisyn Spader, Jace Sifore and Ryder Erickson in the starting lineup. Head Coach Nick Koepsell is ready for a fun year, “We have the potential to make a deep postseason run and make the state tournament.”

Hanson: The Beavers return three starters and some quality depth under Head Coach Josh Oltmanns. Riley Ferry could take a step up as one of the top players in the class. Hayden Bahmuller is one of the toughest post defenders around.

Top B Stars

Other Class B Players to Watch

  • Kelby VanderWerff, Platte-Geddes
  • Tyce Ortman, Canistota
  • Rett Osthus, De Smet
  • Ashaun Roach-Valandra, Dell Rapids St. Mary
  • Daniel Mitchell, Gregory
Filed Under Basketball | Varsity Sports | SD High School