Class AA Boys Basketball State Tournament Preview
The Class AA Boys Basketball Tournament begins Thrusday in Rapid City. The field for this year's tournament looks as wide open as ever.
The Tigers are the top seed heading into the tournament. Huron finished the regular season with a record of 19-1. They then went straight through District Three picking up wins against Mitchell (78-45) and Pierre (65-52). As a team, they are led by Justin Decker.
(8) SF Lincoln
The Lincoln Patriots have found wins right when they needed to. As a team, they started the season very slow and found themselves faced with a five game losing streak at one point. Towards the end of the year, Lincoln gained momentum winning three of their last four. In District play, Lincoln defeated Harrisburg (77-51), SF Washington (65-54), and Yankton (47-44). They are an 8th seed, and will have to play Huron right away, but they could put teams on upset alert.
Pierre is an interesting team heading into the tournament. The Govs went 17-3 during the season. Their losses included two to Huron and one to Yankton. During the Districts, Pierre defeated Aberdeen Central (58-46), lost again to Huron (65-52), and won a region qualifier over RC Central (52-49). They are in a tough position in the tournament as they will have to play a team they haven't played this year in SF Washington. If they win that game, they will have to either play a team they lost to three times in Huron, or another team they haven't played this year in Lincoln. Don't count the defending champs out.
(5) SF Washington
The Washington Warriors didn't make it here easily, but they are certainly resilient. The team played four overtime games, winning three of four, during the course of the regular season and lost their last three games of the season. They then dropped the first game of districts losing 65-54 to Lincoln. But, as we've seen all year, Washington bounced back beating a tough Brandon Valley team (64-60), and SF O'Gorman (66-49). The Warriors might not be the most "picked" team in brackets, but they might surprise a few people.
(3) Rapid City Stevens
Talk about a team that can do a lot of damage. Rapid City Stevens has played a majority of the Class AA teams (12/17 possible) and went 15-3 against those teams. In terms of tournament teams, RC Stevens is 8-2 against them with the only losses to Huron and Pierre. During the season, Stevens swept SF Roosevelt, SF Lincoln, and SF Washington. Steven Schaefer leads the team for RC Stevens and looks to make a deep run in the tournament.
(6) Sturgis Brown
Sturgis enters the tournament after going 12-8 during the regular season and after defeating Aberdeen Central (68-56) in the regional qualifier. The Scoopers went 5-7 against AA teams this season. Sturgis will be faced with a tough task of playing Rapid City Stevens again. During the season, Stevens defeated Sturgis twice (64-49, and 68-52) and then lost to them again in the District Four final (62-56). When looking at the scores, Sturgis has crawled closer and closer on RC Stevens in their previous two contests. We'll have to see if the 4th time is the charm for the Scoopers.
(3) SF Roosevelt
The Rough Riders can get any team from any position on the floor. One of their more dangerous attributes is that they can attack from downtown, and also in the post. Roosevelt went 17-3 during the regular season, losing to RC Stevens twice and Marshall, MN once. They faced many situations in which they had to close games out at the end and managed to do so. The Rough Riders booked their trip to the state tournament after running through District One defeating Brookings (73-59), and SF O'Gorman (70-33).
Probably the quietest team heading into the tournament is the Yankton Bucks. The Bucks finished the season 12-8, but only went 1-7 against the tournament teams. In those eight games, Yankton was in a majority of those games and ended up on the losing side. They will match-up against SF Roosevelt, a team they only lost to by two points at the end of the season. The Bucks defeated Brandon Valley (54-37) in the opening round of District Two, before losing to SF Lincoln (47-44), and qualified for state with a 55-51 win over Watertown.
Thursday's Schedule (3-20):
12:00MT/1:00CT - ON ESPN 99.1
SF Lincoln @ Huron
1:45MT/2:45CT - ON ESPN 99.1
SF Washington @ Pierre
Sturgis @ RC Stevens
7:45MT/8:45CT - ON ESPN 99.1
Yankton @ SF Roosevelt