A look at the 2020-21 girl’s high school basketball season

KELOLAND.com Original
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The girl’s high school basketball season will tip-off with three games on Friday, December 4, with more games to follow the week after.

The playoffs were cut short last year as the state tournaments were stopped or canceled due to COVID-19, following a full regular season.

The class ‘B’ girl’s state tournament was able to play some games, but was canceled as the state and country saw a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Now, 266 days later, the state of South Dakota will see a return of high school basketball.

Here is a preview of all three classes of girl’s basketball:

Class AA

RankTeamVote Received
1O’Gorman65
2Sioux Falls Washington56
3Harrisburg43
4Brandon Valley21
5Rapid City Stevens13
RVAberdeen Central9
RVSioux Falls Lincoln2
RVMitchell1
Preseason South Dakota High School Prep Media Poll- Girl’s ‘AA’ *RV- Receiving Votes

O’Gorman was set to be the top seed in class ‘AA’ following an undefeated regular season performance.

The Knights were looking to win their first title since 2017, but COVID-19 put an end to their hopes.

This season, O’Gorman sits a top the class ‘AA’ prep media poll, closely by Washington and Harrisburg.

O’Gorman Knights

O’Gorman lost several talented seniors including Emma Ronsiek and Carly Kunkel. Ronsiek now plays for Creighton.

However, the Knights return some talented players including senior Isabelle Moore and junior Hannah Ronsiek, both of which contributed significant numbers to last year’s team.

Sioux Falls Washington

Sioux Falls Washington reached the canceled class ‘AA’ state tournament last year, relying on their size. This year’s team returns two of their tall players, but features five girl’s who are at least 5’11.

One name to remember is 6’2, Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda, who has received many division one basketball offers. Another player to watch for is Sydni Schetnan who stands 6’5. These two talented players will help lead the way for Washington this year.

Harrisburg Tigers

Harrisburg finished 16-5 a year ago, which earned them the fourth seed in the class ‘AA’ state tournament. The Tigers graduated three players in 2019 including Taylor Kippes, Faith Van Holland and Aby Phipps.

Harrisburg does return several players from last year including seniors Sydney Altenburg and Carolyn Haar as well as one of their top players in Brecli Honner.

Games to Watch

More than 350 games will be played in class ‘AA’ girl’s basketball over the next 3 months and below is a list of eight games that could be fun to watch:

RankDateGame
1January 14, 2021#2 S.F. Washington at #1 O’Gorman
2February 9, 2021#3 Harrisburg at #1 O’Gorman
3January 8, 2021#2 (A) St. Thomas More at #2 S.F. Washington
4January 23, 2021#1 O’Gorman at #5 Rapid City Stevens
5January 11, 2021#2 S.F. Washington vs. #3 Harrisburg
6December 29, 2020#1 O’Gorman at #4 Brandon Valley
7February 4, 2021Yankton vs. #3 Harrisburg (Sanford Pentagon)
8February 6, 2021#1 O’Gorman at (RV) Aberdeen Central
Eight games to watch this season

Class A

RankTeamVotes Received
1Winner69
2St. Thomas More55
3Hamlin30
4Tea Area23
5West Central17
RVFlandreau5
RVLennox4
RVRed Cloud4
RVDakota Valley2
RVHill City1
Preseason South Dakota High School Prep Media Poll- Girl’s ‘A’ *RV- Receiving Votes

Winner was supposed to be the top seed in class ‘A’ girl’s state basketball tournament in March of 2020, but along with the other state tournaments, it was canceled due to COVID-19.

The Warriors are the favorite in class ‘A’, as they are ranked number one, though there will be some tough competition from St. Thomas More, Hamlin, Tea Area, West Central and several other teams.

Winner Warriors

Winner returns five seniors to this year’s squad, though their best player is one of the state’s best guards in junior, Bella Swedlund. Swedlund averaged 20 points and 7 rebounds per game a year ago.

Winner also returns senior Kalla Bertram who tallied fourteen points and three steals per game last season.

The Warriors scored an impressive 64 points per game as a team a year ago, helping lead them to a perfect 22-0 season.

St. Thomas More

The Cavaliers finished with an impressive 19-3 record last season with their only class ‘A’ defeat coming at the hands of top ranked and undefeated Winner. Their other losses were against class ‘AA’ Brandon Valley and Yankton.

St. Thomas More returns five talented seniors including one the state’s best Haleigh Timmer, who is committed to play for South Dakota State in the fall of 2021.

Hamlin Chargers

The Hamlin Chargers were another talented team last season, finishing with an impressive 20-2 record.

The Chargers were slated to meet Flandreau in the class ‘A’ state tournament as Hamlin finished the season on a thirteen game winning streak.

Tea Area Titans

Tea Area finished with a 17-6 record a year ago, though they fell a game short of the state tournament, following a 60-41 loss to Red Cloud.

The Titans return a list of talented players including two starters in Grace Stansbury and last years leading scorer Olivia Ritter.

Games to Watch

RankDateGame
1February 5, 2021#2 St. Thomas More at #1 Winner
2January 14, 2021#1 Winner at #1 (B) Corsica-Stickney
3Jan. 8, 2021#2 St. Thomas More at #2 (AA) S.F. Washington
4December 15, 2020(RV) Flandreau at #4 Hamlin
5Dec. 18, 2020#1 Winner at #5 West Central
6Dec. 19, 2020#2 (B) Castlewood vs. #3 Hamlin at Colman-Egan
7Jan. 7, 2021#4 Tea Area at #5 West Central
8Jan. 7, 2021#1 Winner at (RV) Flandreau
9Jan. 26, 2021#1 (AA) O’Gorman at #4 Tea Area
10Jan. 5, 2021(RV) Lennox at Mount Vernon/Plankinton
Ten games to watch this season

Class B

RankTeamVotes Received
1Corsica-Stickney70
2Castlewood48
3Colman-Egan26
4Faith23
5De Smet18
RVEthan5
RVWhite River, Viborg-Hurley, Howard, Bridgewater-Emery4
RVDeubrook Area & Waubay/Summit2
Preseason South Dakota High School Prep Media Poll- Girl’s ‘B’ *RV- Receiving Votes

Corsica-Stickney conducted an undefeated campaign last season, though the state tournament was stopped after the quarterfinal round.

The Jaguars had advanced the semi-finals and were just two tough wins away from claiming a state championship, when COVID-19 put a stop to the sports world.

Fast forward nine months and Corsica-Stickney is the favorite in class ‘B’ girl’s basketball as they are the preseason number one ranked team, receiving all 14 votes.

Despite the Jaguars being a top class ‘B’, the class has no lack of talented teams including Castlewood, Colman-Egan, Faith, De Smet and many more.

Corsica-Stickney

The Jaguars return four starters from a year ago, including leading scorer and one of the top players in class ‘B’, Avery Broughton. Broughton averaged more than 20 points and nine rebounds per game last season.

The Jaguars also return senior Rachel Gerlach who was the team’s second leading scorer a year ago, averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds per contest.

This year’s Corsica-Stickney team returns a lot of experience which will make the Jaguars even more dangerous, following their 24-0 perfect season in 2019-20.

Castlewood Warriors

The Castlewood Warriors finished 18-5 a year ago, and were just one win shy of the a class ‘B’ state title game appearance.

The Warriors won nine straight games to reach the state semi-finals including a narrow 45-43 win over Ethan in the state quarter-finals.

The Warriors return only two seniors this season including Alayna Benike and Darah Dekam. Though Castlewood could have some depth this season as they have 15 players on their varsity roster.

Colman-Egan Hawks

The Hawks of Colman-Egan are returning four starters from last year’s team that finished 18-4 and missed the state tournament by one game.

Colman-Egan returns their top scorer in junior, Mackenzie Hemmer. They also return their next two top scorers in Braiden Westley (Sr) and Josie Mousel.

The Hawks will rely on their speed and athleticism to fuel both sides of the ball. Colman-Egan will use their speed to move the ball in transition as they look for their defense to help fuel their offense.

De Smet Bulldogs

The De Smet Bulldogs are the defending champions in class ‘B’ girl’s basketball as they won the last state championship which was played in the spring of 2019.

Following a 21-4 season last year, the Bulldogs were just one win away from their second consecutive state title game appearance.

De Smet returns two starters in senior McKenzie Zell and junior Kennadi Buchholz. Buchholz averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds last year, helping lead the Bulldogs to a successful season.

De Smet will face some challenges this season as they only have seven players on their varsity roster including one senior, two juniors and four sophomores.

Despite their lack of depth, the Bulldogs will rely on their defense and post offense to help them this season.

Games to Watch

RankDateGame
1January 25, 2021#3 Colman-Egan at #2 Castlewood
2Jan. 14, 2021#1 (A) Winner at #1 Corsica-Stickney
3Jan. 21, 2021#2 Castlewood at #5 De Smet
4Jan. 21, 2021#1 Corsica-Stickney at (RV) Ethan
5Jan. 4, 2021(RV) Howard at #3 Colman-Egan
6December 11, 2020(RV) Deubrook Area at #5 De Smet
7February 11, 2021Bison at #4 Faith
8Feb. 2, 2021#2 Castlewood at (RV) Waubay/Summit
9Feb. 9, 2021#1 (A) Winner at (RV) White River
10Jan. 21, 2021(RV) Howard at (RV) Bridgewater-Emery
Ten games to watch this season

The South Dakota girl’s high school basketball season will tip-off Friday night with three games. KELOLAND Media Group will have highlights of two games including S.F. Lincoln at Yankton and Garretson at Baltic.

You can see highlights of those games on KELOLAND News at 10 p.m.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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