The State A tournament doesn’t have any unbeaten or one-loss teams as they usually do. St. Thomas More is as close as anyone to being the favorite. But this field is full of great individual performers and sleeper teams ready and waiting to make some noise.
St. Thomas More vs. Tri Valley – The Cavaliers are headed toward their second straight title with a 20-2 mark. Last year they did it with Brandon Bassett and Liam Duffy, this year backcourt mates Skye Warwick and Eric Hensch lead the way. If K.J. Rech plays like he did in the first half of the game against Dell Rapids they are the team to beat. Tri-Valley has more losses than any team in the field but they have a lot of potential. They wiped out McCook Central/Montrose and Platte-Geddes/Dakota Christian on their way to state. Trae Bergh and Kenton Welbig will complete on the boards with Rech and Jeremy Henderson to keep the Mustangs in the game.
Dell Rapids vs. Winner - Dells spent much of the year at #1 in my book. They have a balanced attack that kept improving throughout the year. Cole Langer is one of the most underrated ball handlers in the state and he chips in 10 boards per game. He has great finishers to feed in Michael Schmidt and Bryce Koch. They only have two losses to Class A teams and they avenged both of those losses in their rematches (Sioux Falls Christian and Madison). Winner is no stranger to state tournaments. This year they bring a big and athletic team. They breezed through districts and regionals to land in this game. Kyle Mathis, Austin Schroeder and Ben Connot will put up the points to keep this team competitive.
Chamberlain vs. Roncalli – Chamberlain comes in at 19-4 with losses on the year to Winner, Cheyenne-Eagle Butte, Miller and Wagner. They qualified for the #2 seed with a coin flip. They matchup with Roncalli a young team that is very talented. Roncalli has four players 6’5” or taller. Not many class A schools played the level of competition that Roncalli did.
Dakota Valley vs. Clark/Willow Lake – Dakota Valley is a very fun team to watch. They can get hot and start raining threes. Blake and Brody VanGinkel each hit four threes against Tea to qualify for the state tournament. The Panthers have the athletes to get up and down the court. Dakota Valley played within two points of Dell Rapids earlier this year. They can play with anyone. Clark/Willow Lake might have the most talented player in Sioux Falls this weekend with Skyler Flatten (6-5 Jr.). Clark/Willow Lake will be taller and younger than Dakota Valley and they are also a team that has struggled away from home.