Class AA is always a wide open class at tournament time. This year it seems that O’Gorman and Mitchell have pulled away from the pack, but not so fast my friend. O’Gorman and Mitchell have potential roadblocks waiting in the second round (if they get out of the first round). The two teams from South Dakota that have beaten the Knights of O’Gorman are potential semi-final matchups (Brookings and Washington). Mitchell’s nemesis this year has been Pierre who has given them two of their three losses.
O’Gorman vs. Rapid City Central – O’Gorman has four losses on the year but two of them came versus out of state opponents. This is a great defensive team that has held their opponent to less than 50 points 16 different times this year. Austin Ridl, Connor Schaefbauer and Nick Mimmack have been stoppers on D. If O’Gorman gets offense from Sam Wallin they should get to the finals. Rapid City Central is just 9-13 but are on a five game winning streak. Cody Harris is a threat on offense and Rober Connot (6-6) gives the Cobblers a big guy to go to on the post.
Washington vs. Brookings – This could be the game of the day. Washington could be the hottest team in the state. Tyler Shetterly and Joey Habtemeriam are at their best and Justin Trett has been solid as another offensive option. Washington is so much better than they were early in the year. One high point early in the season was Washington beating Brookings early in the season. Brookings is the only team in the state to feature wins over the top two seeds O’Gorman and Mitchell. But they also went through a stretch losing to Brandon Valley and Huron. If Brookings puts it all together they could match anyone in the state. Tanner Odegaard is a fun watch. He’s pure energy. Landon Busch is the best athlete on the team and can carry them through stretches. Conner Doherty doesn’t get a lot of pub but is a great shooter and has been the difference in some of the Bobcats wins.
Mitchell vs. Roosevelt – Mitchell’s only loss outside of playing the Govs was to Brookings. Other than that they have been the best team on the court each and every night. Brady Maxwell, Tate Martin and Tucker Volesky have done a better job fitting into their roles in the past month and the Kernels are poised to send legendary coach Gary Munsen out with a championship. This will be the first time Mitchell takes on a Sioux Falls team. Roosevelt is on an impressive run with wins over Watertown and Lincoln. This is not a tall team but they are solid on the inside. The junior led team will rely on Jeremiah Clark, Tyler Howard, Nate Cole and Brandon Boggs to break down the Mitchell defense.
Pierre vs. Huron – Pierre lost to Huron, Brookings and O’Gorman since Zach Hanson went down with a leg injury. Their only wins since that day have come against teams that didn’t qualify for the state tournament. Lane Severyn, Conrad Adam and Connor Berg will try to get up and down the court while Joe Tetzlaff competes with the big Huron frontline. Huron beat Pierre in the districts behind Luke Carr and Spencer Stahly. Huron matches up well with Pierre and I believe they’ll provide the only “upset” of the first round.