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Posted On: 06/11/18 8:39 PM
**Photo courtesy of South Dakota Public Broadcasting**
Over the next few weeks, PHD will recap the Class AA boys basketball state tournament qualifiers and preview their upcoming season. Yankton defeated Harrisburg 39-37 to claim the AA title.
For the first time in recent years, the top two teams in Class AA rankings were the Rapid City schools. Even with the media voting them No.1 and No. 2 some people still tossed it aside, that was until they played them and realized they were the real deal.
With only three regular-season losses, the Cobblers were among one of the best teams headed into the Round of 16. They didn’t lose a game until January 19th against SF O’Gorman and then back-to-back losses in early February to cross-town rival RC Stevens and SF Washington.
They entered the Round of 16 as the No. 2 and had by far the most lopsided victory of any of the Round of 16 games defeating No. 15 Spearfish 100-41. They would continue their hot streak into the state tournament defeating Douglas 66-54 on a night where four players scored in double figures led by senior Dylan Hay with 22.
In the second round, the Cobblers faced the eventual state champs Yankton led by freshman phenom Matthew Mors. It was a close game the entire way but they, just like everyone, weren’t able to slow down Mors who had 38 of the 60 points and the Cobblers would lose 60-52.
In the 3rd/4th place game, RC Central was faced with a familiar opponent, RC Stevens. The Cobblers only trailed by two at the half but weren’t able to come up with enough stops in the second half and would lose 59-49 to place fourth. Hay led the team with 18 and Kailleb Walton-Blanden finish with 17.
1. With 11 seniors on the team, the Cobblers will be looking to reload four of five starters next season.
2. As the only returning starter, Elijah Williams will look to take his team back to the state tournament. He will have to be a huge role model for the younger group that comes up to play from JV or the bench from last season.
3. The Cobblers had one of the best seasons in recent years only losing three games, one at home, throughout the regular season. Will they be able to match that this next season?
MAN ON THE SPOT
Elijah Willams. He averaged about 7.3 points per game, 8 assists, 6.5 boars during the regular season and had about five points a game at the state tournament. Will they be able to lean on him? Well, he’s a 6-foot-6 forward and will most likely be a double-figure scoring guy that will be expected to handle a lot of the scoring load this winter and based on last year’s team.
RETURNERS BY CLASS
They have a great player in Williams returning for his senior season. The Cobblers lost just five games a year ago but they graduated 11 seniors. They have a bunch of great young players on the team returning that will have bigger roles come next year and young players from the JV possibly gaining bigger roles as well. Will they be able to match their 17-3 season and make it back to the state tournament or will they not be able to get over their inexperience and miss the state tournament?