Posted On: 11/27/18 8:42 PM
Class 11A has been dominated by the Dak-12 the past couple of years. Madison is fresh off a state title after defeating Tea Area last year. Since 2012 only two teams outside of the Dak-12 have won the state title, 2015 Aberdeen Roncalli and 2012 St. Thomas More. This season looks like more of the same, but with a strong senior class, there’s a strong chance for several teams to shake it up.
1. Tea Area
The Titans return four starters for the second straight season. They have been in the title game the last two years, placing first and second, and look to make it three straight seasons of being in the title game. They have the power to make it come true. They return almost all of their scoring in Kade Stearns, Justin Hohn, Noah Friedel, Kaleb Joffer. Zach Wilber and Mason Ritter will look to contribute and have a bigger role this next season for the Titans. Tea does lose a starter in Chris Morales and bench players Nash Johnson, Jake Friedrich and Seth Kocer which could be a problem as they were Joffer’s replacement whenever he came out of the game. Last season it was Sioux Falls Christian with the undefeated season next year it could be Tea Area.
2. Sioux Falls Christian
This last season the Chargers went undefeated before suffering a second-round defeat to Tea Area at the state tournament. This year the Chargers lose a lot of senior leadership but gain Gavin Schipper and Mitchell Goodbary back. Mitchell Oostra will be a solid choice for a starting position next season as he performed well off the bench last season. Don’t downplay SFC since they lost key players they will still be one of the top teams.
3. Sioux Valley
The Cossacks placed fourth at the state tournament last year. With the loss of big man Trevor Hanson and Trevor Olson, the Cossacks with having to look for a new leader this coming season. Good news for Sioux Valley they won’t have to look too far as returning starters Max Nielson and Ryan Schuster will look to tag team that role. Nielson had a game-winning scoop shoot in the thrilling regional final against a very good Flandreau team last year.
4. Dakota Valley
The Panthers return some great players in Charlie Cox and Paul Bruns but do lose a longtime starter in Jack McCabe. Dakota Valley is always one of the best teams in the state. There is a good chance that the Panthers make the state tournament again this year.
5. Red Cloud
Two words. Alejandro Rama. That is the player you need to know and gameplan for if you play the Crusaders. After you do gameplan for him, he will still go off on you and there is nothing you can do to stop him. Red Cloud made a resounding statement in the Round of 16 last year dismantling No. 4 seed Miller 79-55. They lose a couple key role players but don’t think for a second that will slow them down.
Madison has been one of the more dominating teams ever since 2012. But for the first time in a long while they don’t have their coach or a top player in the state. Shortly after he led the Bulldogs to their first state title since 2014, Michael Ricke stepped down to take the athletic director and assistant principal at the high school. They will also be without Aaron Fiegen (SDSU basketball) and the Janke brothers (SDSU football). They return some role players from last year in Doyle Brown. It could be an interesting season for the Bulldogs.
The Fliers had a very successful season with wins over Tea Area at the Corn Palace, Parker and Class B runner-up Clark/Willow Lake. Dylan LeBrun was the highlight of the season posting over 2,000 career points, he will be playing at Augustana this season. His little brother Connor will look to fill his shoes next season along with Nathan Kneebone to advance the team farther in the postseason.
The Pheasants return the majority of the team from last years Round of 16 qualifying teams. Parker lost by three to Crow Creek in the Round of 16 but will look to get back and make it to state this time. They return a good chunk of their scoring in 6’3 Trey Christensen and 6’8 Camden Bialas. The Pheasants have been in Class B for the last couple of years, but look to make a statement at the Class A level this year.