WATERTOWN, S.D. (KELO) — The Hamlin girls basketball team earned a narrow 58-55 win over Wagner, to claim the class ‘A’ state championship.
Hamlin edged Wagner in the class ‘A’ title game, completing a perfect 25-0 season, while claiming their first title since 2005.
“It feels amazing, after being so close for the last couple of years, and to feel that pain of second place, it just even makes it that much more sweet,” Hamlin head coach Tim Koisti said.
The Chargers trailed by nine points in the first quarter, but an 18-2 first half run gave them a one point lead at the break.
“First of all, we talked about that, we just need to go for 32 minutes. You know, one of the captains Ally talked about climbing Mount Everest and that it’s 29,032 feet and we said, we’ve got to get that last 32 feet. And so we put that into minutes. 32 minutes, so we just kept saying, hey, only 16 minutes left, only 15 minutes left,” Koisti said.
The Red Raiders were led by Ashlyn Koupal and Emma Yost who combined for 27 points, challenging the Charger defense.
“Well, our game plan was for me to guard Ashlyn all around the perimeter and then have Ally take Yost in the post and then if they screened, we were just going to switch it. And we battled as hard as we could for this,” Chargers forward Kami Wadsworth said.
The class ‘A’ state champions were fueled by Wadsworth as she led Hamlin with 17 points and seven rebounds, while two other Chargers posted double digits in the title victory.
“I think the major key was team work. We’ve talked about the fact that as a coach I’ve made mistakes, I sometimes call the wrong play or do the wrong thing. As a player you might have a turnover or you might miss a shot. Nobody is perfect as an individual but as a team we came together and we were perfect,” Koisti said.
Hamlin has finished runner-up in each of the past two seasons, but this year Wadsworth and the Chargers had their sights set on the trophy.
“I just have to say that we are champions and we had a perfect season and we are number one,” Wadsworth said.
The Hamlin boys have also made etched their way into the class ‘A’ state tournament. They’ll play Sioux Valley in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 1:45 PM.