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SD High School Class A Basketball Season Preview

It’s time for a brand new high school basketball season. And if you’re like me, you need a refresher course on the top teams and players in Class A. Last season, for the first time in a long time, St. Thomas More didn’t win the girls state title. It was Winner who prevailed as champs and Tea Area won a state title on the boys’ side. This season there are tons of contenders and outstanding players to dissect. These are not the official rankings, just how I will cast my ballot for pre-season rankings next week. Look for our Class AA and Class B previews in other posts.

Boys A

1. St. Thomas More

Last Season: 20-5 (Consolation champions)

Returning Starters: 4

  • Caden Casey
  • Ryder Kirsch
  • Connor Hollenbeck
  • Michael Gylten

Other Players to Watch: Grant Huber, Ryan Wojcik, Ben Feist

Coach: Dave Hollenbeck

(Head Coach, David Hollenbeck, gets ready to lead a talented St. Thomas More team. Photo Courtesy SDPB)

Bottom Line: This team can put points up in a hurry and they always have great defense under Head Coach Dave Hollenbeck. Last season they didn’t get enough production in the front court due to injuries, so they’ll need to shore that area up, but look for a high-scoring dominant-defending team to contend for a title.

2. SF Christian

Last Season: 21-3

Returning Starters: 2

  • Zach Witte Sr. (10 ppg, 7 rpg)
  • Xavier Van Beek Jr. (7 ppg, 2 rpg)

(Zach Witte scores on the post for Sioux Falls Christian. Photo Courtesy SDPB)

Other Players to Watch: Tyler Prins, Noah Van Donkersgoed, Carter Nelson, Noah Van Stedum, Carson Van Beek

Coach Mike Schouten: “We hope to be competitive in all our games. We play a very difficult schedule. We hope to compete for conference and state titles.”

Bottom Line: This is a very good shooting team and they’ll get their looks because Zach Witte is one of the best inside players around. Sioux Falls Christian is a perennial contender and this season won’t be any different. Their size, shooting and versatility make them one of the most feared teams in the class.

3. Dell Rapids

Last Season: 15-9

Returning Starters: 4

  • Drew Van Regenmorter, Sr. (11.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.8 apg)
  • Logan Ellingson, Sr. (11.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg)
  • Colin Rentz, Jr. (10.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
  • Connor Rentz, Jr. (10.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg)

Other Players to Watch: Ramsey Heinecke, Coby Maeschen, Karsen Welbig, Carter Nelson, Carter Rentz, Landon Ruesink, Victor Knuppe, Avery Boechler, Austin Henry

Coach Jason Fersdahl: “We return a good balance of experience and newcomers who are hungry to contribute at the varsity level. We will really look to push the ball in transition and apply full court pressure on defense.”

Bottom Line: This team earned a 6th place finish at state last year with a very young group. If Dell Rapids can play defense at a high level they’ll be in great shape, because they have very balanced scoring on offense. The Quarriers will be a very fun team to watch and always play a challenging schedule which will set them up nicely for a March run at the championship.

4. Lennox

Last Season: 19-7

Returning Starters: 2

  • Josh Arlt, Sr. (14.2 ppg, 4.2 apg, 3.3 rpg)
  • Will Daugherty, Sr. (11.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg)

Other Players to Watch: Kaleb Johnson, Peyton Eich, Caleb Metcalf, Haden Mendel, Jackson Arlt

Coach Paul McVey: “We expect to be right there with the best teams in our conference - and in the state - and will look for our experience and team chemistry to get us over the top. We have some very athletic younger players that will develop as the season goes on and will give us some nice depth and will push the returners with very competitive practices.”

Bottom Line: This team put the state on notice last year making it all the way to the semis. This year, Josh Arlt and Will Daugherty look to lead the O’s into the state tourney again. They have some of the best shooting in the state and are great team guys.

5. Sioux Valley

Last Season: 16-5

Returning Starters: 5

  • Max Nielson, Sr.
  • Ryan Schuster, Sr.
  • Kelton Vincent, Jr.
  • Parker Puetz, So.
  • Oliver Vincent, Fr.

Other Players to Watch: Lane VanderWal, Jaxton Schiller, Colby Gatzke, Hayden Ruesink

Coach Bill Vincent: “We have many players that have been contributing at the varsity level since a young age. We will be able to put an athletic team on the floor. We should have solid depth. We will need to improve on defense and battle on the boards.”

Bottom Line: Sioux Valley has had a lot of great teams over the last decade, and this one could be one of their best. They have a very tough schedule that should get them ready for a tournament run. They’ll have to get the most out of their underclassmen to help Max Nielson and Ryan Schuster pour in some offense.

Other Teams:

Tea Area

A lot has changed for the Tea Titans. Drew Weber takes over as the head coach, “We need to replace our entire rotation along with a new system. The schedule is challenging with nine games played in 18 days of January, so building quality depth will be key.” Tea does have a lot of talent though including Joe Walnofer, Austin Lake, Garrett Kolbeck, Cael Lundin and several others.

Crow Creek

Crow Creek has some talent led by Luke Wells a versatile big man in the middle. Several transfers will give this team a veteran feel. This team will play an up-tempo style and have the star power to make some waves. They’ll need to find some depth to last the whole season.

Dakota Valley

The Panthers return two starters from last year’s 15-7 team. They’ll be led by juniors Paul Bruns and Chayce Montagne in the backcourt with Kam Wingert and Drew Addison who are also back in the mix. They need to find some power in the frontcourt to contend. They hope Joey Bryan a sophomore forward can evolve into an interior starter. Head Coach Jason Kleis expects his team to contend, but knows it won’t be smooth riding, “We expect to have another competitive team, but will lack a lot of size and strength.”

Tiospa Zina

Jameson Pratt leads a high-scoring, high-flying group for the Wambdi. This team may be undersized, but with an experienced group that went 18-4 a year ago, they could put a charge together and get to the state tournament.

Red Cloud

Just because Ale Rama is gone doesn’t mean Red Cloud is out of it. Four starters are back from their 16-6 team last year including Riyen Carlow, Beau Donovan, Jarron Big Horn and Wakiyan Catches Enemy. Head Coach Christian McGhee is ready for a big year, “This is a very hard-working and tenacious team on defense. We will be very balanced and deeper than we were last year. We will be inexperienced so we may struggle early, but I feel at the end of the year we will be right there to get to State.”

Madison

Madison once again made the state tournament last year and with two key starters back hope to do that again. Cody Brown and Tyler Tappe along with Keaton Nighbert should give the Bulldogs a great foundation. “We are very excited for the season and have a great group of boys,” said Coach Jeff Larsen. “They are excited for the season and so am I. We hope to be playing our best basketball by season's end.”

Vermillion

Any time a team brings back five starters from a winning team, you must be excited. That’s the case for Vermillion this year. Max Mayer is currently healing from an ACL injury, but when he gets back to full strength, he should be the team’s go-to guy. Another senior, Sam Ward will be back as a third-year starter. The Tanagers have some underclassmen ready to take off. Jakob Dobney, Dillon Gestring and Connor Saunders give this team enough depth to compete with anyone. “We hope to improve as the season goes and we will need to if we want to compete with the better teams in the DAK 12 Conference, Region 4A, and the better teams in the state in Class A basketball,” said Coach Jay Drake.

Winner

The Warriors finished 16-6 last year and bring back three starters who have a lot of potential. Joren Bruun, Brady Fritz and Phillip Jorgenson all can score on offense and the whole team defends well. “We return three starters and seven letter winners from our SoDak 16 team. We return 40 points per game. We will need to defend and rebound at a high level to be successful in our region and conference. We feel we have nice athleticism and depth that we will need to use to our advantage,” said Brett Gardner.

West Central

Jacob Sittig’s team went 13-8 last year and bring back two starters to build on. Derek Eidsness and Jaxon Skinner are the foundation for this team as juniors. Underclassmen are the name of the game at West Central, “We will be undersized at almost every position though, so our game planning on defense will be key,” said Coach Sittig. “On offense, we will look to play fast in transition to try and use our athleticism to get easy baskets. In the half court, we plan to play a motion-style offense.”

Mobridge-Pollock

The Tigers got to the SoDak 16 last year and they’re hoping to push it another notch this year. Thomas Knudson has three starters back in Reese Cerney, Caden Halsey and Kregen Norder with Trace Cerney, Bryston Goehring and Braden Goehring, as well. “We will be expecting improvement on our 12-11 record last year,” said Kundson.

Pine Ridge

The Thorpes made a deep playoff run with Halen Bad Bear and Corey Brown last season. With them gone, it’s Charles Schrader’s team to run. They may not be 20-4 like they were last year but don’t expect them to drop off too far.

Parker

Head Coach Lance Friesen has had some success at Parker. Last year, they went 16-6 and earned a spot in the SoDak 16 with a senior-heavy group. This year, sophomore Carter Robertson, is the lone returning starter, so the mantra is to find players to get better and rebuild. Kaden Pesicka, Jace Bridges and Brandon Benney will be seniors and should help. Colby Olson, Jace Ullerich and Cole Jurgens are a solid junior class, as well, with Jaivyn DeBoer, Davin Fuller and Landri Holzwarth looking to get playing time as sophomores.

Little Wound

This will be a young and inexperienced squad this year, but they do pose some intrigue. They have a lot of underclassmen with potential and size. Head Coach Rob Mendoza says all the newcomers will vie for a starting spot on the team. They have four players at 6’4” or taller who have the chance to make an impact.

Redfield

Redfield’s chances to get to the state tournament took a detour when Max Baloun tore his ACL this fall. They still think they could be competitive with the players they have back, though. “Losing Max is obviously a big blow, but we have some very talented kids and we expect to be in the mix again in Region 1,” said Coach Lonni Stover. Jaxon Frankenstein will play a big role this year as a versatile player who can score in a variety of ways.

Miller

The Rustlers will try to bounce back from a 8-13 season with just one starter coming back in Tyler Schumacher and a freshman with varsity experience in Spencer Fernholz. They have some hope on the horizon with Trevor Werdel, Alex Schumacher and Maverick Nelson who are all freshmen or younger and bring a lot of potential.

Milbank

Milbank has three starters back, as they try to reload. “We will look to continue to improve upon the past two years. Our focus is to keep building the culture and be at our best come Region time,” said Head Coach Logan Diede. “We have a lot of young men who are hungry and want to compete. We play a tough schedule, so we will get tested every night out along the way - which will help us grow and develop a great deal!”

Mt. Vernon/Plankinton

Look for improvement from the Titans this year. Rylee Deinert is a great all-around player who will be asked to provide the offense. Kolby Kayser, Reed Rus, Brady Andersen and Llincoln Klooz round out a well-balanced attack. “We have had a good offseason. I think we will be much improved from last year,” said Coach Eric Denning.

Hamlin

One thing the Chargers have going for them is they have some good athletes. However, they don’t have a ton of returning experience and depth. Head Coach Kirk Beebout knows it won’t always be smooth this year, “This will be a learning and growing process. We have great kids, including nine seniors, who will work hard and play as a team.” Nash Grantham will miss the start of the season, which puts a little more responsibility onto Kyler Swenson, Booker Noem and Jackson Noem.

Tri-Valley

The Mustangs come into the season young, but ready. “We will be very young with only one senior on the roster, but have a lot of kids back who played at the varsity level last year,” said Coach Rob Grady after a 8-13 season. “If we can find some consistency in shooting the ball, we will be pretty competitive. We really improved as a team over the summer. Hopefully, we can continue to improve throughout the season and be a good team by the end of the season.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH in Boys A

PRE-SEASON TOP FIVE

1. Ryder Kirsch, Sr. 6’6” F St. Thomas More

Ryder is a great all-around athlete who excelled as a quarterback in football, but he chose basketball as the sport he’ll pursue in college. He signed to play at Black Hills State. Kirsch has started for three seasons with St. Thomas More in hoops. He’s coming off an all-state season and an all-tournament team in his junior year. He is skilled in the post, but can handle the ball and shoot outside, as well.

2. Paul Bruns, Jr. 6’3” G Dakota Valley

Paul burst onto the state scene last year with 25.3 points per game, while grabbing 8.7 boards per contest as a guard. His range seemed unlimited at times. He was named to the first team all-state as a sophomore and was an instant leader for the Panthers. “Paul will be relied on heavily for scoring and rebounding,” said Coach Jason Kleis.

3. Max Nielson, Sr. 5’11” G Sioux Valley

Max is able to affect the game in so many ways. He’s got one of the purest shots in the state but also can find the open man in an instant. Nielson averaged 20 points per game and over five assists per contest last year and hit on 89% of his free throws as well.

4. Josh Arlt, Sr. G Lennox

Josh is the Lennox point guard who earned 3rd Team All-State, 2nd Team All-DakXII Conference on his way to a terrific junior year last season. He accumulated 14.2 ppg. 4.2 apg, 3.3 rpg, 46% 3FG  55% 2FG, 84% FT. His coach, Paul McVey, loves the way he plays: “He is an incredible shooter, lock-down defender, and gifted distributor. Most of all, he is a fierce competitor who loves to win and make the clutch plays when the game is on the line.”

5. Kayden Verley, Sr. G Canton

No one in the state can put up points in bunches like Kayden Verley. He averaged 27.1 points per game last year and is the go-to guy for the Hawks. Verley has been tearing up the nets throughout his high school career and is primed for a big senior season.

More Top Players

  • Riyen Carlow, Red Cloud
  • Caden Casey, St. Thomas More
  • Lex Farrell, McLaughlin
  • Tash Lunday, Flandreau
  • Spencer Moran, Cheyenne-Eagle Butte
  • Jamison Pratt, Tiospa Zina
  • Tyson Iyotte, Todd County
  • Charles Schrader, Pine Ridge
  • Luke Wells, Crow Creek
  • Zach Witte, SF Christian

Girls A

1. Winner

Last Season: 24-0 (State Champs)

Returning Starters: 2

  • Morgan Hammerbeck, Sr. (11.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.1 apg)
  • Bella Swedlund, So. (16.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg)

 

(Bella Swedlund and the Winner Warriors are ready to defend their title. Photo courtesy SDPB)

Other Players to Watch: Kalla Bertram, Maggie LaCompte, Kelsey Sachtjen, Ellie Brozik, Katherine Jankauskas, Jenna Hammerbeck, Shannon Calhoon

Coach Larry Aaker: “We have high expectations again this season. We will need to develop depth and stay healthy to make another post season run.”

Bottom Line: Don’t let the “only two returning starters” thing fool you. This team is locked and loaded for another big year. Five of their top six scorers are back, and there is a lot of underclassmen talent waiting for their opportunity to do big things. Winner will likely be at or near the top of the class when they hit the tougher part of their schedule in late January. If they can keep it rolling through that stretch, they’ll be tough to dethrone.

2. Lennox

Last Season: 21-4

Returning Starters: 3

  • Madysen Vlastuin Sr. (17.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg)

(Madysen Vlastuin and the Lennox Orioles have been knocking on the door of title the last few years, could this be their year? Photo Courtesy SDPB)

Other Players to Watch: Rianna Fillipi Sr. (12.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg), Isabel Ihnen, Mara Hinker, Gracie Bowers, Jenaka DeCou, Teagan Sanculi, Drew Kuyper

Coach Adam Quail: “Love our team. Bunch of hungry upperclassmen who have vast experience. We will be a deep team with multiple scoring options. If we can defend and rebound, we will have success.”

Bottom Line: This team has just one starter back, but it has three potential All-State players. SDSU recruit, Madysen Vlastuin leads the way, but Rianna Fillipi, who’s headed to Northern State, and Isabel Ihnen, who’s going to DWU, are both very talented and can take games over. This team came up just shy of reaching the title game last year and have been knocking on the door of a championship for a few seasons now. Adam Quail should get this team back to state and remain one of the top contenders to take home a championship this year.

3. St. Thomas More

Last Season: 19-7

Returning Starters: 5

  • Kaci Cooper
  • Haleigh Timmer
  • Skylar Sullivan
  • Ciara Benson
  • Lizzie Elder

Other Players to Watch: Marin Duffy, Maddison Frohling, Jenna Jacobson, Emily Kandolin

Bottom Line: The string of five consecutive championships finally came to an end last year for St. Thomas More. This season, the Cavs should be back on the upswing, although not the favorites in the state. They have more offensive weapons than last year and better experience on the bench. They play another punishing schedule, which should get them ready for another competitive March.

4. SF Christian

Last Season: 16-6

Returning Starters: 2

  • Lexi Unruh Jr. (17 ppg, 5 spg)
  • Lauren Tims Sr. (10 ppg, 6 rpg)

Other Players to Watch: Madison DeJong, Caitlyn Pruis, Kylah vanDonkersgoed, Maren Reu, Olivia Olson, Katie VanEgdom, Ashton Wassink

Coach Andrea Begeman: “We return quite a bit of experience and scoring. We’re hoping to improve on last season and play in the state tournament. We will be tall and long and athletic. Great leadership from our juniors and seniors!”

Bottom Line: The Chargers had a lot of promise last year and maybe even more this year. Lexi Unruh is one of the top players in the state and she’s surrounded by a lot of versatility. The road to state will be tough but this team has the makings to make a late season push.

5. Mt. Vernon/Plankinton

Last Season: 18-8

Returning Starters: 3

  • Katlyn Briggs, Sr. (13.7 ppg)
  • Emilee Fox, 8th (9.2 ppg)
  • Dacey Rihanek, Sr.

Other Players to Watch: Hallie Schmidt, Regan Klooz, Maria Baker

Coach Preston Kristensen: “We are bringing back some experience and the kids are hungry to compete.”

Bottom Line: This is one of those sneaky good teams that have a chance to surprise the rest of the state. Katlyn Briggs and Emilee Fox are both improved and could make up one of the best high-low combos in the class. Hallie Schmidt and Dacey Rihanek will play bigger roles on the team this year, and they have great overall length and depth.

Other Teams:

West Central

The Trojans went on a magical run last year and came up just one game shy of their goal. After that 24-1 season, there is a lot of momentum for Joe Caffey’s squad, “We lost four starters from last year, but we return several skilled players with experience. We hope to be competitive with a tough schedule and be in the mix come post season.” Despite just one returning starter, this team is loaded with talent. Cassidy Siemonsma, Cheyanne Masterson, Rylee Haldeman, Addy Kramer, Josslin Jarding, Jada VanOverbeke and Shaw Nelson give this team plenty of athletes to get it done.

McCook Central/Montrose

Doug Durfee’s team made it to the semifinals last year and finished 19-6. They lose a lot of senior power from last year, but have some good athletes coming back, as well. Jacy Pulse, Abigail Van Ruler and Madisen Koepsell give them a strong nucleus with a lot of talent ready to fill in the gaps.

Hamlin

The Hamlin Chargers are a top-five talented team. However, a few injuries might keep them from reaching their potential right away. “Injuries to our two leading scorers, Alfson and Stevenson, will require some others to step up early in the season,” said Coach Tim Koisti. After Brynn Alfson and Cami Stevenson are back, Hamlin should be in the hunt for a conference championship and will be ready for a post season run. Logan Keszler, Kylee Wadsworth and Kami Wadsworth are all capable of stepping up for the Chargers.

Vermillion

The Tanagers have a chance to make a deep playoff run again this year. Three starters return from a 16-6 team. Head Coach Jon Brooks likes his backcourt, “We will have good guard play this season. We will rely heavily on our speed and quickness.” Unfortunately, Morgan Kerkman is out this season due to injury, leaving a big hole in the post. Lexi Plitzuweit (17 ppg, 6 rpg) and Lexi Saunders give them some big-time play in the backcourt, though.

Flandreau

After a 16-6 season, Megan Severtson has reason to hope for another big year from her Fliers. Two of the team’s top three scorers return with Hannah Parsley and Tishara Hardy back as seniors. Look for Maria Parsley to step up as well and contribute in a bigger way as a sophomore this year, too.

Aberdeen Roncalli

The Cavs are primed for another big year. They have three key starters back from a 17-7 season a year ago. Head Coach Derek Larson is excited: “We bring back a good core group from a state tournament team the last two years. We look to use our size and our athleticism to our advantage. Our team has a good group of veteran players and younger athletes to join with them. We will have more of an inside presence than we have ever had in the last 10 years at Roncalli.” Mariah Winegar is an all-state performer in the post with Jori Ewart, Hannah Kuck and Abby Hanson ready to contribute as veteran leaders.

Dakota Valley

Even though DV won just seven games last year, they could surprise a lot of teams this year with four starters back. Rylee and Rachel Rosenquist are outstanding players and can be difference-makers for the Panthers. Morgan Tritz, Rachel Wente, Grace Bass and Brooke Carlson give this team a lot of depth and scoring options. Dakota Valley could be one of the most improved teams in the state this year.

Miller

The Rustlers have a promising season ahead, after going 14-7 last year. Head Coach Terrell Newton is the new head coach and AD at Miller and is ready to work with his new team, “I’m pleasantly surprised by the talent with four seniors who are returning and ready to win now. We will attempt to spread the floor and while play with more pace than in years past,” Newton commented. Kadye Fernholz, VonnaGail Schlechter, Abby Ketelhut and Rachel Joy give the team a well-rounded senior class who could make an impact this year.

Parkston

Last season, Head Coach Brooke Seiler led the Trojans to an 11-win year, they have all five starters back to try to build on that. Sydney Wickersham and Emma Yost are very good players who are ready to get this team into playoff contention. “We are looking forward to having everyone back from last year after not graduating a senior,” said Coach Seiler. “We are more experienced and will rely heavily on Sydney and Emma to be leaders for us this year.”

Madison

Danelle Keninger enters her first season as head coach. She’ll have some building blocks for a promising team. Four starters return from a six-win team. Kendra Leighton and Morgan Anderson are sharp shooters from the perimeter. Grace Nelson and Brianna Steuerwald are also back in the starting lineup. Look for Abby Brooks, Sophia VandenBosch and Zoey Garry to all contribute this year, as well.

Tea Area

The Titans have been improving year in and year out. It should translate into a winning season this year. “The Dak XII conference will be very good again but we look to compete at a high level,” said Head Coach Adam Schorzmann. “We have four out of our five starters back again and it's a group that has been playing together for a long time now. We have some really good younger players that will play a big role on the team and help us out a lot.” Bailey Conrad, Olivian Ritter and Sam Kloos will provide a lot of offense with plenty of depth to fill all the roles you need for a successful basketball team.

Sioux Valley

Jamie Granum is back as head coach for her third season at Sioux Valley. There is a lot of experience coming back after a six-win season last year. “We played an entire offseason without Miakken Vincent (rehab) and Abbie Schneider (injury). How fast can they regain or get up to speed with their games will be a huge key to the start of our season,” said Coach Granum. “The biggest question mark is if we can score enough. Program-wide we have to fix our point guard situation as we have to do a better job of keeping that position stocked so we don’t have such a drop off with our future teams due to graduation. We should have a little more depth than last year, and for sure more experience than a year ago.” Miakken Vincent averaged 20 points per game before her ACL injury just five games into her junior year last season. If she is able to make a full comeback, this team could be surprising.

Wagner

Mike Koupal has some solid players back, as they try to move forward this year. Kayli Kocer, Abby Brunsing and Deisha Medicine Horn will all provide scoring for the Red Raiders. “The Raiders are going to have a mix of veteran and young players,” said Coach Koupal. “We are coming off a disappointing year where the Raiders had high expectations from the previous year.”

Sisseton

Head Coach Dan Karst has four starters back to build on in his second season as head coach in Sisseton. “I believe our strengths this year will be our physicality,” said Karst. “We have pretty good size and it should pay off better than last year. Sisseton has a transfer from Tiospa Zina, Lexus Redthunder to go with Kellie Karst, Hannah Goodhart and Hailey Nelson to get things going. “Hopefully, the work they put in during the games last year will calm them down and let them just breathe and enjoy the game and play it the way it was meant to be played,” said Karst. “I believe we have good chemistry and we will have to work in the new girls we have to make it work.”

Parker

There is a new coach in Parker to lead the Pheasants. Kennedy Wagner takes over a very young squad. “We are a young team; we lost many seniors that had great potential. Our biggest challenge for this year will be to be fundamentally sound on defense. We are young this year, but we are ready for challenges that may lie ahead of us,” said Wagner.

Tri-Valley

Four starters are back to get the Mustangs back on track. Grace Steineke, Paige Jewett, Tabor Teel and Blayne Gacke all have improved and give this team great versatility. Head Coach Dan Jewett is excited for a new season: “The key for our season is staying healthy. If we can take care of the ball and shoot the ball, we will have a chance to have a successful season.”

Canton

The C-Hawks only managed a few wins last year, but have shown improvement consistently. Paige Schroedermeier, Tera Lease and Lakan Meister are young, but talented, players who will lead the charge this season under head coach Gregory T. Shoultz II.

PLAYERS TO WATCH in Girls A

PRE-SEASON TOP FIVE

1. Madysen Vlastuin Sr. 6’1” F Lennox

Vlastuin is one of the most skilled players that we’ve had in girls basketball recently. She is a quiet leader with a smooth shot and refined moves in the post. Madysen is committed to play at South Dakota State next year and is coming off a great year where she averaged 17 ppg, 6.1 rpg, and 2.2 apg. She has been a first team all-stater since she was a sophomore.

2. Lexi Unruh Jr. 5’10” G SF Christian

Unruh is one of the most recruited players in the state. She is a tall guard who can do everything on the court. She averaged 16.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.1 apg and had over FIVE steals per game for the Chargers last year. Her defense sets her apart from a lot of the other talented players on this list. This first team all-stater could take another step up as  the elite player in the state this year.

3. Lexi Plitzuweit Jr. 5’8” G Vermillion

Lexi always has a smile on her face, except when she’s focused on the court. Then she’s a smooth operator who can take a game over in many ways. Last year, as a sophomore, she averaged 17 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.1 spg, 3.1 apg and made 45 3-pointers. She earned first team all-state honors and has gotten stronger and more experienced entering this season. Lexi recently committed to play college hoops at Grand Valley State.

4. Haleigh Timmer Jr 5’9” F St. Thomas More

Timmer has already put together a nice career at St. Thomas More and is just getting ready to enter her junior year. She put up 20.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.1 spg and shot 88% from the free throw line last year. She also plays great defense and has shown her versatility all over the court.

5. Hannah Parsley Sr. 5’9” F  Flandreau

Hannah is the definition of an all-around player. She led her team in points, assists, rebounds, steals and blocks last year. She averaged a double-double (17.9 ppg, 10.0 rpg) on her way to an all-state season. She enters her senior year with big career numbers with 1,132 points and 575 rebounds.

More Top Players

  • Brynn Alfson, Hamlin
  • Katlyn Briggs, Mt. Vernon/Plankinton
  • Kadye Fernholz, Miller
  • Rianna Fillipi, Lennox
  • Emilee Fox, Mt. Vernon/Plankinton
  • Morgan Hammerbeck, Winner
  • Kelsie Herman, Todd County
  • Madison Koepsell, McCook Central/Montrose
  • Brittany Lovre, Deuel
  • Jacey Pulse, McCook Central/Montrose
  • Bella Swedlund, Winner
  • Mariah Winegar, Aberdeen Roncalli

 

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