SOUTH DAKOTA Class AA BOYS
1. SF Washington
Best frontcourt in the state with Isaac Goeman and Zach Heins on the block, plus maybe the best athleticism on the perimeter with Jack Talley, Angel Arroyo and Logan Uttecht in the backcourt.
Craig Nelson: “We have more returning experience this year than we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
2. SF O'Gorman
Have the talent and depth to be really good. J.P. Costello has improved his shot and inside moves to become one of the best threats on the inside and Matt Cartwright is one of the best shooters in the state.
Derek Robey: "Hopefully our team strength will be our team chemistry and depth at every position. We have some size down low and the ability to play pretty competitive around the perimeter."
3. RC Stevens
The Raiders finished third at state last year and have two explosive guards with the premier point man in the state, Mason Archambault and a great wing player in Jacob Martin. The questions they’ll need to answer are in the frontcourt.
Chris Stoebner: "Defensively, we are going to have to get after teams and try to force turnovers so we can run."
4. Brandon Valley
Return five starters including a huge frontcourt with Drew Jurgens, Spencer Grage and Cooper Olthoff plus experience in the backcourt with Alex Waltner and Zach Scholten. Last season lost a lot of close games this year they should get off to a good start.
Brent Deckert: "We have a ton of experience returning from last year's squad. We only lost one senior. The Metro conference will be very tough again but we certainly have the size to compete."
5. Aberdeen Central
Brent Norberg has a tough starting five led by Cole Bergan and Nate Rook along with Cannon Hannigan in the backcourt.
Brent Norberg: "The strength of this team is its athleticism and versatility. We will try to get up and down the court and get some easy baskets."
The best of the rest:
Don't be surprised if Huron, Lincoln, Brookings and even Pierre make a push in the rankings this season. Class AA has a load of talent and should provide a fun and entertaining season.
Pre-seson players to watch:
- Mason Archambault, Rapid City Stevens
- Cole Bergan, Aberdeen Central
- Logan Uttecht, Sioux Falls Washington
- Isaac Goeman, Sioux Falls Washington
- Jack Talley, Sioux Falls Washington
- Kalieb Walton-Blanden, Rapid City Central
- Matt Cartwright, Sioux Falls O’Gorman
- J.P. Costello, Sioux Falls O’Gorman
- Brennan Carlson, Brookings
- Brad Dean, Pierre
- Drew Jurgens, Brandon Valley
- Tye Evers, Huron
- Hyland Heinz, Huron
SOUTH DAKOTA Class AA GIRLS
1. Aberdeen Central
Paiton Burkhard could be the best player in the state, and she has a lot of help. Karli Gardner, Melia Mounga, Haylee Mork and Laura Babcock all have experience from the state championship run the Eagles made last year and that makes them the favorites despite the loss of Brianna Kusler.
Dawn Seiler: "We should have good balance between our guard and post play."
2. Sioux Falls Lincoln
A lot of coaches pegged Lincoln as the top team, but I'll have to wait and see if the defense improves. We know they can put up 60+ points almost every night with the best player in the state, Anna Brecht, leading the way. Syndney Rosinsky is a great four-year starter at the point. Brooke Luitjens is coming off of a knee injury but should help beef up the scoring when she gets to 100%. If the frontcourt can produce on both sides of the court with Jayda Hallman and Sydnaya Dunn the Pats will contend.
Coach’s CommentMatt Daly: "We have a nice core of veteran leadership coming back and mesh with an amazing group of incoming freshmen that will be giving us very talented depth."
Have a lot of talent with Baily Pickering, Sam Slaughter and Jeniah Ugofsky leading the way. I would not be surprised to see this team take a big step up and be a title contender.
Nick Mayer: "We have great veteran leadership, defense, and athletic talent."
4. Sioux Falls O'Gorman
This team has some talent but will need to work in some younger players, and that always takes some time. Ashlee Beacom will be one of the best point guards in the state, and Sebastian Akoi could make a big step on offense with more looks this year.
Kent Kolsrud: "I think we will be very competitive. We might take some lumps early, but have some nice pieces and hope can continue to get better and be a factor in the end."
5. Sioux Falls Roosevelt
David Maxwell has this team playing well together. Tahia Mitzel is their leading returning scorer and passer along with Petyon Stolle and Mackenzie Phillips.
Pre-season players to watch:
- Abby Johnson, Rapid City Central
- Mya Jones, Rapid City Central
- Paiton Burkhard, Aberdeen Central
- Sebastian Akoi, Rapid City O’Gorman
- Sami Slaughter, Harrisburg
- Anna Brecht, Sioux Falls Lincoln
- Sydney Rosinski, Sioux Falls Lincoln
- Tahia Mitzel, Sioux Falls Roosevelt
NORTH DAKOTA Class A BOYS
Aanen Moody and Jordan Meidinger get the headlines for being future D1 players, but Tanner Oulette and Shawn Steffan will determine their success. If they get quality minutes from all contributors Dickinson will be the team to beat.
2. FARGO DAVIES
A great team on paper — they have about 90% of their scoring back from a 3rd place finish last year. They have two bigs down low and an emerging star in sophomore Jaden Klabo. Jake Paper and Matt Veit will lead Davies in the east.
Justin Engg, KyJuan Johnson will supply the scoring but look for Peyton Lamoureux, Chandler Albertson, Alex Schmike, Stephen Mayne to give the team great depth. Minot may not have the inside presence they had last year but they will find a way to win.
Lucas Mayer will lead a new group of Pats into battle. Once again Century has talent up and down the lineup but it might take them a month or so to find the right rotation.
5. Grand Forks Red River
Austin Slaughter returns as a triple threat to give the Riders a chance to compete in the EDC.
NORTH DAKOTA Class A GIRLS
As usual the Patriots are a threat to compete for a title. Regan Dennis is a terrific two-way player and can lead this team a long way. Hannah Schwartz and Maddie Klein are solid contributors as well as the addition of freshman Lauren Ware who should add a lot of defensive intimidation in the paint.
With a 70-game winning streak and three consecutive state titles to their credit, the Fargo Shanley girls enter this season in uncharted territory. But a lot has changed since the last time we saw the Deacons play. Sarah Jacobson and Lauren Rotunda are gone, as well as Head Coach Tim Jacobson. It is a completely new era at Shanley, one that will be ushered in by the team's new head coach, Steve Jacobson. Look for Emily Dietz and Caira Berg to supply the punch down low. If they can find solid guard play, they’ll be right at the top of the state again.
3. FARGO DAVIES
Once they learn Tim Jacobson's system, this team could be very good. Kylee Bergantine and Amber Burtness are back with a strong junior class including Reagan Linster, Grace Geffre and Carly Kottsick.
4. WEST FARGO
Akealy Moton and a group of tough seniors are off to a great start and should be a threat in the EDC.
5. TURTLE MOUNTAIN
Ashley Davis and company already out to a good start. We’ll see how they compete when they get to the thick of their schedule.
SD Class A BOYS
- St. Thomas More
- Dakota Valley
- Sioux Falls Christian
SD Class B BOYS
SD Class A GIRLS
- St. Thomas More
- McCook Central
- Dakota Valley
SD Class B GIRLS
- Sully Buttes
- Sanborn Central–Woonsocket
ND Class B BOYS
- Four Winds–Minnewaukan
- Northern Cass
- Dickinson Trinity
- Hillsboro–Central Valley
- Ellendale–Brennan Vance
ND Class B GIRLS
- Park River
- North Star
- Shiloh Christian
- Our Redeemer's