It's a new year and after a month (or so) of South Dakota high school basketball it's time you get to know the top players in the state. Here's a roundup of some of players who are off to great starts this season in alphabetical order.
Paiton Burckhard, Sr. Aberdeen Central
The reigning Varsity Sports Player of the Year has started out 2018 on fire. The SDSU commit is coming off of 23 and 22 point games in Rapid City this weekend. Before that she put up a double-double by halftime against Huron last Thursday and finished with 25 points and 13 boards. That’s all just in 2018. Way back in 2017 she helped her team over Brandon Valley with a 27-point 12-rebound performance to keep her team winning.
Aaron Fiegen, Sr. Madison
The only future D1 player who is a senior, Aaron Fiegen, has his team out to a great start. Fiegen is headed to SDSU next season but has reeled off eight wins in a row and has his team at number one in class A.
Noah Freidel, Jr. Tea Area
Noah Freidel suffered an injury in the big game against Madison last Friday but has been spectacular in the four games prior. He had a 32-point game against Dakota Valley and 32-point game against Vermillion. The 6’4” junior averages 24 ppg and 7.0 rpg early in the season.
Diang Gatluk, Sr. SF Lincoln
Diang has helped Lincoln out to a great start as they sit at number one in the most recent poll. Gatluk averages 18.5 ppg on a team with four double-digit scorers. He also has grabbed 5.8 rpg, and leads the team in assists early on. He’s also the most likely Patriot to throw one down in the open court.
Trevor Hanson, Sr. Sioux Valley
The senior post had a great game against Flandreau with a double-double in the first half and he ended up with 27-points and 4 treys, but that wasn’t even his top performance of the year. Hanson put up 47 points on 21 of 27 shooting against St. Francis on December 27th, which is a single-game school record. The 6’7” senior is headed to Augustana next year.
Trey King, Jr. Irene-Wakonda
Trey King continues to dominate the competition this season. He’s had four 20+ point games but more impressively averages 4.2 steals per game. That’s crazy. Here are his averages so far this year. 23.2 ppg, 6.5 RPG, 4.2 SPG, and 3.2 APG.
Morgan Koepsell, Sr. McCook Central/Montrose
Morgan is headed to BHSU next year. She's been one of the best defensive players in girls basketball over the past four years and she is a high percentage shooter who has her team out to a 4-1 start.
Mason Larson, Sr. Langford
The 6-7 senior went over 1,000 career points earlier this season. His latest heroics included hitting threes go to overtime and double overtime in the same game, then later hit a layup to beat Lower Brule 62-61 in double overtime to win. He ended up with 27 points and 12 boards in the win. He also had a 38 point performance earlier this year against Hitchcock-Tulare.
Dylan LeBrun, Sr. Flandreau
Dylan is one of the most fun players to watch in the state. The 6’6” senior is heading to Augustana next year but this season for Flandreau is averaging 24.5 ppg and 11.1 rebounds per game. His 32 point 21 rebound game against Chester to start the season put the rest of the state on notice.
Connor Libis, Fr. Dell Rapids St. Mary
The Freshman sharpshooter keeps raising the bar. He went for 30 points in their win over Deubrook. Libis averages 23.8 ppg through six games. His performances include a 35-point game with 5 threes in a 63-62 win over De Smet on Dec 19th. He then was awarded Game MVP honors after posting 22 pts and 7 assists in a 15 pt win over Elkton Lake Benton.
Matthew Mors, Fr. Yankton
It’s hard to believe that the talk of the state, Matthew Mors, is only a freshman. He is starting to put together a huge season. He averaged 18.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg early in the season then added 37 against a strong Watertown team last Saturday. That breakout performance followed his 30-point game against DeLaSalle over the holiday break. Mors takes his game to Sioux Falls this Tuesday January 9th against Lincoln and next Tuesday January 16th at O’Gorman.
Trevor Olson, Sr. Sioux Valley
The electric shooting Trevor Olson averages 21 points 3 assists and 2 steals per game as a senior. He scored 34 including 6 three pointers vs Parker on a night in which he scored his 1000th career point. Trevor Olson is a Mount Mary commit.
Lincoln Jordre, Sr. Sully Buttes
The Northern State commit is a dunking machine for Sully Buttes. The All-state player has started out the season as a dominant force once again. Jordre’s latest posts includes 26 points against JVC, and 19 against Highmore-Harrold. He’s helped Sully Buttes off to a 5-1 start.
Koln Oppold, Sr. SF Christian
Koln Oppold’s big late game three-pointer against O’Gorman last week shows that he’s one of the best big-game players in the state. He’s coming off a 21 ppg average last year and has helped his team to a 6-0 start.
AJ Plitzuweit, Sr. Vermillion
The Augustana bound guard has found a new level so far this season. His team is only out to a 3-3 start but the senior guard has made it a habit of scoring 30+ points. He averages 30.5 ppg through six games and is stuffing the stat sheet with 8.2 rpg, 3.4 apg, 3.4 spg. His last game was a 38-point outburst where he scored 28 consecutive points for the Tanagers. He’s also shooting 51.6% from the field and 89.1% from the free throw line.
Gus Reede, Sr. Aberdeen Roncalli
The smooth shooting senior has quietly led Roncalli to an undefeated start at 6-0. Gus started the season with 28 points against Mobridge-Pollock and has stayed hot all year. Gus had a 24-point outburst against Belle Fourche earlier this season where he and Max Reede combined for 9 three-point field goals and he put in 24 against Milbank as well.
Emma Ronsiek, So. SF O’Gorman
Emma Ronsiek is one of only returned two starters back for the defending champion Knights team. She has exploded so far this year averaging 18.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg and steals 3.0 spg through seven games this year and is coming off of a 22-point game this weekend against Watertown.
Sawyer Schultz, Jr. Bridgewater-Emery
Just a junior, Sawyer already looks like the savviest point guard in the state. He’s upped his points per game from 15.3 ppg last year to 25.9 this year while still dishing out 3.8 assists per game. He led his team to a state title as a sophomore and looks to be taking them in the same direction this year.
Evan Talcott, Jr. Brandon Valley
Evan Talcott has soared on the scene in his junior season. He’s put up 19.8 ppg so far and has been torrid from beyond the arc. His consistency has been noticeable with five games over 20 points and he’s led the team in six or his seven games.
Jordyn Toliver, Jr. Douglas
The Douglas Patriots have been getting a great year from Jordyn Toliver who actually averages a double-double. The junior had an 18 rebound game earlier this year against Sturgis and had a 36-point game against Hot Springs in a 57-41 win earlier this season. She also plays great defense averaging 3.9 steals per game.
Kayden Verley, So. Canton
Kayden Verley fist made it on the scene hitting a football field goal as a seventh grader. Now, a mature 10th grader, Verley is torching field goals on the basketball court. He averages 28.7 ppg with three 30+ games under his belt.
Madysen Vlastuin, So. Lennox
This six-foot guard has proven in a short time that she's a big difference-maker. She led her team to a runner-up finish as a freshman and has put up big numbers again this year. She's helped Lennox win 7 games in a row and put up 20 last week against Clark-Willow Lake.
Lexi Wadsworth, Sr. Hamlin
Lexi averages a double-double this season with 19.1 ppg and 10.3 rpg and has been a force for Hamlin throughout her varsity career. She shoots 56% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc. She will continue her career on the basketball court at Northern State next season.
Kallieb Walton-Blanden, Sr. RC Central
The senior point guard has the Cobblers at 9-0 to start the season. Walton-Blanden didn’t play football this year to focus on hoops and it’s paid off. He’s one of the top distributors in the state and can hit big shots when needed as well.
Kyah Watson, So. RC Stevens
Kyah Watson can do a little bit of everything on the court and it’s showing. Last year she had a good freshman year and a great state tournament but this year she’s had a breakout sophomore campaign that’s lifted Rapid City Stevens to an 8-0 start. In a battle of unbeaten teams Watson’s Raiders beat Aberdeen Central 37-33 and grabbed 11 boards to secure the game.