This class should be very exciting to watch. There are three Division I players at the top of the class and there are some very exciting teams who have a chance to have a successful season. Here’s an overview of Girls Class A.
Girls Class A
Last Season: 22-0
Returning Starters: 4
- Kalla Bertram Guard 13.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.5 APG, 3.2 SPG
- Bella Swedlund Guard 20.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 3.4 APG. 2.8 SPG
- Maggie LaCompte Guard 6 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.6 APG 1 SPG
- Kelsey Sachtjen Forward 3.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG 1.5 APG 2.2 SPG
Head Coach Larry Aaker doesn’t mind the pressure coming off a 22-0 season with four returning starters. This squad is special, and he likes to challenge the team with as many tough games as they can find, “We feel like our schedule will prepare us for the post-season. As always, we hope to be playing our best basketball during the post-season,” said Aaker. Bella Swedlund and Kalla Bertram are one of the best scoring combos in the state. Swedlund has garnered several offers to play D1 basketball as a junior and Bertram is already signed to play at Black Hills State next year. But it’s the depth of the team that could be the key. Maggie Lacompte, Kelsey Sachtjen, Ellie Brozik, Katherine Jankauskas, Jenna Hammerbeck and Shannon Calhoon will all provide experienced play and they have several others ready to go if needed.
St. Thomas More
Last Season: 19-3
Returning Starters: 3
- Jenna Jacobson Sr.
- Haleigh Timmer Sr.
- Mairin Duffy Jr.
St. Thomas More’s goal is to compete for a championship each season. This year they’re right where they want to be. A strong senior class including one of the best in the state, Haleigh Timmer, has them in contention again. Emily Kandolin, Mairin Duffy, and Jenna Jacobson will be key players for the defensive-oriented Cavaliers.
Last season: 20-2
Returning Starters: 4
- Kami Wadsworth So. 13 PPG, 4 APG
- Kylee Wadsworth Sr. 12.5 PPG
- McKenna Prouty Sr. 8.1 RPG
- Ashtyn Abraham Sr.
The Chargers have a full slate of talent back from a great team last year. Kami and Kylee Wadsworth lead the scoring attack. Kylee is a deadly three-point shooter and Kami leads the team in assists. They have plenty of rebounding with McKenna Prouty back and Ashtyn Abraham and Ally Abraham are great pieces to fill out the lineup. “We have 7 seniors which will give us depth and experience,” said Head Coach Tim Koisti. “We lost some high-quality seniors last year, so we will need some kids to step up, but if that happens, we should be in a position to return to the state tourney.”
Last Season: 17-6
Returning Starters: 2
- Olivia Ritter Sr. 21.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.5 APG
- Grace Stansbury Jr.
The return of Olivia Ritter brings hope to a deep and talented Tea Area roster. Ritter got on a tear in the second half of the season last year and should be one of the top players in the state this year. There are a lot of players ready to step up to keep Tea competitive.
Last Season: 15-6
Returning Starters: 4
- Cassidy Siemonsma Sr. 13 PPG, 9 RPG
- Jada VanOverbeke Sr. Missed last season due to injuries
- Rylee Haldeman Jr. 11 PPG, 2 RPG, 2 APG, 2 SPG
- Addy Kramer Jr. 12.2 PPG. 5.5 RPG, 2 SPG
- Josslin Jarding Jr. 9.0 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2 APG
West Central will be formidable again. Head Coach Joe Caffey likes their potential, “We have a deep team that is quick. We have a lot of potential if we can play as a team and push each other in practice, we think we can be in the mix at the end of the year.” USF commit, Cassidy Siemonsma (13 PPG) is one of four starters back from a 15-6 team.
Last season the Fliers went 21-2 with seniors Hannah Parsley and Tishara Hardy leading the way. Head Coach Megan Serverton looks to a new era without Hannah Parsley on the team. “I have a group of girls who are young but super hungry. They feel like they want to continue the tradition of strong teams we’ve had.”
Maria Parsley, Claire Sheppard and Bella Pavlis all played significant minutes last year and give Flandreau a solid core to build around.
The Crusaders quietly went 21-2 last year with some very good players back. Stevi Fallis, Mahpiya Irving and Sharissa Haas all go into their senior year coming off double-digit scoring averages. They should be in very good shape entering this season and have a great shot to make it to state.
The Panthers have their top three scorers back from a winning season a year ago. Rachel and Rylee Rosenquist are outstanding scorers and their roster is full of great young athletes. Look for a boost to their 13-9 season a year ago.
The Rangers went 18-5 last season and have every reason to believe this year will be even better. Abby Siemonsma, Whitney Edwards, Haley Wathen and Kadyn Comer were their leading scorers last year and all are back again.
Sioux Falls Christian
The Chargers were improving every year until last season when their leading scorer Lexi Unruh (17 PPG as a sophomore) had a season-ending injury in the opening game of the season. The Creighton recruit worked her way back and should be one of the top players in the state this year. “We should be experienced and very competitive. Quite a few younger girls gained game experience because of injuries last year, so that should be a benefit this year,” said Head Coach Andrea Begeman.
The Lady O’s were poised to compete for a title last season before the pandemic hit. Mara Hinker and Jenak Decou are the only returning varsity players with experience. “With losing four seniors who were responsible for 46.8PPG, I was initially thinking we will be a relatively young team. However, we still have four seniors and five juniors we will look to lean on this year,” said Coach Adam Quail. This Lennox team should be competitive again.
Rapid City Christian
The Comets should take another step towards competitiveness this season. They’re led by Olivia Kieffer who averaged more than 20 points per game as a freshman last year. They have a very experienced group that’s hungry to take the next step. Abby Pierce, Sarah Burkhalter and Morgan Swartout all saw a lot of court-time last year and return to the floor.
Top A Stars
Other Class A Players to Watch
- Emilee Fox, Mt. Vernon-Plankinton Fr. (18.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.1 APG)
- Rylee Rosenquist, Dakota Valley Jr. (18.9 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 3.1 APG)
- Olivia Kieffer, RC Christian So. (23.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.6 APG)
- Lizzy Olson, Garretson Sr. (17.4 PPG, 10.0 RPG)
- Cassidy Siemonsma, West Central Sr. (13.2 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.3 APG)