Class A Round of 16 Preview: Tea Area vs. Sisseton

Featured
Dakotas

Posted On: 03/7/18 6:04 PM

Tea Area and Sisseton are only one game away from Rapid City. They square away tonight at 7:30 in Watertown for a spot in the state tournament.

After all the games were postponed from the storm on Tuesday, both teams look to get back into the grooves of things Wednesday. For one team it will be the final game of the season, and for one team it will be a dream come true for the players and coaches.

For Tea, this is a chance to get back to the state tournament and defend their title and prove to everyone they still are the best team in Class A. The Titans made back-to-back state tournament appearances in 2012-13, placing 2nd losing to Madison and in 2013-14 where they placed third, losing to Sisseton.

For Sisseton, they look to make it back to the state tournament for the first time since 2014. They were defeated by Madison in the state championship and haven’t made it back since. They are looking to change that tonight.

This will be the first time playing each other since Sisseton defeated Tea in the semifinals of the 2014 state tournament. But I bet neither teams have that in mind going into this game.

Tea is coming into this game on a 10 game win streak while Sisseton is coming in on a 7 game win streak. Both were No. 1 seed’s in their regions, while Tea has one more win on the season, they both have the same amount of losses.

Key’s To The Game:

The crowd is a huge factor in a game. Sisseton is about an hour from Watertown and Tea is about 1 hour 45 minutes, but that won’t matter much as I see a great showing from both schools.

Tea’s stud junior Noah Friedel left with an apparent injury to the same knee in the last game against Elk Point-Jefferson but returned later in the game. That didn’t stop him from scoring 24 points in only 19 minutes. When he went out Tea looked to be lost for a portion of time and then when he returned they went back to their old self. It’ll be important for him to stay healthy in this game, but with that said he does have juniors, Kade Stearns, Justin Hohn, and Mason Ritter along with senior Chris Morales to help soften the blow if Friedel isn’t at a 100 percent.

Sisseton has a stud of their own in senior Dion Iyarpeya. He has been a game changer for the Redmen, just like Friedel is for the Titans. If he is on it is hard to stop him, at the Pentagon earlier this year against St. Thomas More, he made the right plays at the right times to put away the Cavaliers. He makes the offense run when he’s in the game, he facilitates to the big men and then can get to the hole and finish. He is a huge factor for the Redmen.

Sisseton will have a major height advantage in 6’7 sophomore Ramsey Heinecke and 6’8 senior Spencer Weatherstone. Weatherstone starts for the Redmen while Heinecke comes off the bench. The Titans tallest are 6’4 Friedel, 6’5 Seth Kocer, and 6’3 Kaleb Joffer. It will be interesting to see how the Titans play them on Defense.

Tea will win if:

Friedel is 100 percent and has help from the other starters and role players. Also, if they find a way to slow down Iyarpeya and try to make the rebounding difficult for the big men.

Sisseton will win if:

They find a way to shut down Friedel, and Iyarpeya gets hot. They will have a height advantage so they can’t let Tea outrebound them. They need to shoot well from the three-point land as Tea has quick defenders who could stop the drives.

Prediction: 

This one should be closer than many people think, Iyarpeya is a sleeper and can catch fire quickly. But I feel like Tea has just too many weapons at their side even if Friedel is completely at 100 percent. Tea moves on to try to defend their title.