South Dakota’s Top Basketball Talent Honored At Banquet


South Dakota’s top high school basketball talent was recognized over the weekend during the Sanford Pentagon/KELOLAND Media Group All Star Banquet. 

The Sanford Pentagon/KELOLAND Media Group All Star Banquet was a culmination of South Dakota’s high school basketball season. For some, it culminated their careers.

“It’s honestly just awesome. I mean, these past few weeks have been great for me, great for the community so I’m just really humbled and I’m glad I got to do it in front of my family and in front of a lot of great athletes in South Dakota,” Aberdeen Central senior Paiton Burckhard said.

Aberdeen Central’s Paiton Burckhard and Vermillion’s AJ Plitzuweit were honored as Player of the Year recipients.

“Wow. What an honor it is to be up here with so many great basketball players here in the stands,” Vermillion senior AJ Plitzuweit said. 

Yankton earned the boys Team of the Year award after winning the program’s first title in 40 years, while St. Thomas More was named girls Team of the Year for winning its fifth straight state championship. 

“I’m very proud of some players that I’ve been able to coach over the years but for this group, this year to continue and to win their fifth straight title has been amazing,” St. Thomas More head coach Brandon Kandolin said. 

Tea Area’s Austin Schoppert was honored as the Perseverance Award winner. The 5th-grader fulfilled his dream of wrestling this season, despite losing his arms and legs to bacterial meningitis at a young age.

Schoppert gained a new fan in keynote speaker and North Carolina head men’s basketball coach Roy Williams.

“I’m going to go back and tell my players at North Carolina that I have a new hero and you will be my hero for a long time,” Wiliams said. 

Williams’ hope for all young athletes is to cherish their time with those around them.

“I like kids taking an opportunity to be kids. Relish this moment, enjoy this moment, look around here a lot of the people that you’re with, a year from now you wont’ be with them, but they’re going to be extremely important to you,” Williams said. 

The All State teams from all three classes were also recognized at the banquet.

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