Posted On: 06/27/18 10:37 AM
1. A Star Is Born
If you are new to South Dakota high school basketball there is a name that you’ll hear quite a few times over the next three years in Class AA, Yankton’s Matthew Mors. Mors is a 6’7 freshman that has been playing varsity basketball since he was a seventh-grader at Yankton. He most recently led his team to their first title in nearly 40 years as a freshman. This could be the most hype for a player in the state since Mitchell’s Mike Miller who went on to have a great college and NBA career. He already has a couple Division 1 offers. Both South Dakota and South Dakota State have offered him a scholarship during this past season and Creighton offered him one as well. He recently was at the Wisconsin Advanced Camp at the University of Wisconsin Badgers and PrepHoops writer/247sports.com Wisconsin insider Evan Flood said he was very talented.
— Badger247 (@Badger247) June 22, 2018
“Mors was arguably the top performer at Wisconsin’s advanced camp,” Flood said. “Already 6-foot-7, 220-pounds, Mors looks like a high school senior … Mors was flat-out dominant on Friday.”
Wisconsin advanced camp highlights of 2021 forward Matthew Mors (Yankton, S.D.).
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) June 26, 2018
2. Madison and Tea Area Rematch in Class A
Tea Area and Madison renewed their state tournament rivalry this year in Rapid City. It started in 2013 when Tea Area and Madison played for the title. Tea Area had a decent lead at halftime only to score five points in the third quarter and wound up losing at the end. The next year both Tea Area and Madison made the state tournament and were able to get a win in the opening round, but Tea Area came up short against Sisseton while Madison made the title game. The Bulldogs ended up going back-to-back.
Fast forward to last season, with the first season of the Round of 16 both teams made it back to the state tournament. Tea Area was able to beat St. Thomas More and Tri-Valley to make it to Saturday night’s title game, while Madison defeated Dakota Valley and SF Christian. This time Tea Area was able to come out with the win thanks to the 1-2 combo of the Friedel brothers and company.
Once again both teams found their ways back to state and returned most of their lineups. Tea Area arguably had the biggest upset of the tournament knocking off undefeated No. 1 seed, SF Christian, to get to Saturday night. While Madison squeaked by a tough Sioux Valley team by three points to earn the rematch. This time around the Bulldogs had the 1-2 combo of the Janke brothers along with South Dakota State commit Aaron Fiegen and took the title 72-59.
3. Dak-12 Continues to Dominate
The Dak-12 is easily one of the toughest conferences in Class A in South Dakota. With the last five out of the seven state champions coming from the conference, the Dak-12 continues to dominate. The past two seasons both teams in the title game have been from the Dak-12. Two years ago the teams that placed one through five were from the conference. This past season four teams made it to the state tournament placing first, second, third and sixth. Looking ahead to next season Tea Area returns a good chunk of their team and Sioux Falls Christian returns some solid players. Dakota Valley and Lennox also look to have more success next year as both teams return some key players. It looks like the Dak-12 will continue to dominate in the coming years as well.
4. A.J. Plitzuweit Dominates Class A
Plitzuweit was named 2017-18 Gatorade boys basketball player of the year for his spectacular senior season. At 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, he was able to lead his team to a 13-9 record. He averaged 33.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.9 steals per game. The senior was a First Team All-State honoree and broke the 1,000 point barrier in just 32 games for the Vermillion Tanagers. He also broke the Tanagers single-game scoring record with 52 points a game this past season. He came to Vermillion before his junior season when his mother Dawn Plitzuweit accepted the head coaching position at USD for women’s basketball. He will play college ball for Augustana (S.D.).
5. Rapid City Schools No. 1 and No. 2 During The Season
For the first time in a while, the schools west of the river in Rapid City and Harrisburg were the top teams throughout the season. At the beginning of the season, Harrisburg had the No. 1 ranking before being knocked out by Rapid City Stevens and Central. Harrisburg went back and forth throughout the season from No. 3 and No. 4 and ended up the No. 4 seed in the Round of 16. The Rapid City schools went one and two, Stevens at No. 1 and Central at No.2. Both Rapid City teams made it to semi-finals but were both defeated. Harrisburg made it to the championship but placed second to Yankton.
This was the first time since the 2013 state tournament that two teams without the “Sioux Falls” before their name played in the title game. Also in the span of time a “Sioux Falls” team placed in the top three every year except for this season when SF O’Gorman placed sixth and SF Washington and SF Lincoln played for 7th and 8th place. Could the other teams in Class AA be catching up to the Sioux Falls schools?
1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place
2018 — Yankton, Harrisburg, RC Stevens
2017 — SF O’Gorman, Aberdeen Central, SF Lincoln
2016 — SF Lincoln, SF Washington, RC Stevens
2015 — SF Lincoln, SF Washington, SF O’Gorman
2014 — SF Roosevelt, SF Lincoln, SF Washington
2013 — Pierre, Brandon Valley, SF Roosevelt