Posted On: 03/14/19 11:40 AM
No. 1 seed: Tea Area (21-1)
The Titans of Tea Area enter as the highest scoring team in the field at 74 points a game and for good reason as Tea Area has two of the best players in Class A on their team. Justin Hohn and Noah Freidel both are playing Division I ball next season for Wright State and UC Irvine. Hohn averages 8 assists a game as well as 13.1 ppg while Freidel leads the team in points (22.9) and rebounds (8.2). The Titans have five starters that could get hot at any time, a good example is when Freidel went down in the SoDak 16 Kade Stearns went off for 25 points.
Why they can win it all: The Titans are shooting 47 from the field and 32 percent from deep, they can shoot the leather out of the ball most games. Every player that head coach Chris Fechner puts out on the court has the ability to get hot or shut down a defender.
Chances they win it all: 30%. Avoiding SF Christian, St. Thomas More and Lennox until the championship game will be clutch for the Titans as they struggled with both Lennox and St. Thomas More during their regular season games. They are the heavy favorite to win their second title in the last three years.
No. 2 Sioux Falls Christian (19-2)
The Chargers are back in the state tournament once again. SF Christian will look to get a rematch against Tea Area as the Titans upset the Chargers in last years tournament. The Chargers are led by seniors Mitchell Goodbary and Gavin Schipper. Goodbary leads the team with 17 ppg and 8 boards a game on 55 percent shooting from the field. He also leads the team with 83 assists and 29 steals. Schipper, on the other hand, has been one of the most reliable players for the Chargers. The guard is known to hit bombs from deep. He averages just about 11 ppg on 44 percent shooting. He is basically automatic from the charity stripe shooting 87 percent.
Why they can win it all: They have a great coach calling the shots on the sideline along with some very experienced players in not only Goodbary and Schipper but Mitchell Oostra and Zach Witte. The Chargers are one of the more complete teams at state.
Chances they win it all: 20% The Chargers are in the bottom half of the bracket with teams like Madison, St. Thomas More and Lennox. SF Christian has gone 3-0 against those teams this season but hasn’t played Lennox since they’ve been on a roll and squeaked out a four-point win over Madison late in the season. They are my pick to make it out of the bottom half of the bracket to play Tea Area on Saturday night but struggled mightily against Tea Area at home earlier in the season.
No. 3 St. Thomas More (17-4)
The Cavaliers have shocked a lot of the state this season. St. Thomas More almost capped off a 20-point comeback to defeat No. 1 Tea Area at the Corn Palace earlier this season and has secured the No. 3 seed at the state tournament. Ryder Kirsch played a crucial role in the comeback against Tea Area scoring X points. The forward has put up 16,6 ppg on 60 percent shooting from inside the arc and 31.1 percent from deep. He hauled in a team-high 6.9 boards during the season. As a team St. Thomas More has put up an average of 68 ppg on 55 percent shooting from inside the arc and 40.8 percent from deep.
Why they can win it all: The Cavaliers are one of the few teams who has played the top teams in the state very tough. They are big on the inside with 6’6 Kirsch and quick on the perimeter with leading scorer Caden Casey harassing the opposing guards. If they make teams play to their tempo and liking they could easily find themselves in the championship game.
Chances they win it all: 20%. The Cavaliers do have to face one of the hottest teams heading into state in the Lennox Orioles. This should be one of the more competitive games of the day as both teams are highly talented. If they slow down Lennox and make them play to their liking they could come away with the win.
No. 4 Pine Ridge (17-3)
The Thorpes had one of the multiple 20-plus margins of victories in the SoDak 16 which is no surprise to their opponents this past season. Pine Ridge is one of this years ‘Dark Horse’ teams. They averaged just over 60 points a game on 57 percent shooting from the field. Corey Brown and Halen Bad Bear lead the charge on the offensive side of things. Bad Bear leads the team with 19.9 points a game while Brown chips in with 11.4. Charles Schrader leads the team with 4.3 assists and also puts up 9 points a game.
Why they can win it all: The Thorpes bring back an experienced team from last season state tournament team. They play at a fast rate and if they can get their opponent to go with how they want to play they could make a run.
Chance they win it all: 5%. Pine Ridge will have to play the winner of Tea Area and Dell Rapids to get to the championship. If they do pull the big upset they will be matched up with even more tough teams in the bottom bracket. It’ll be hard to pull one upset let alone two for the Thorpes.
No. 5 Hot Springs (20-3)
The Bison might struggle at the state tournament regardless of their record. They easily defeated Winner 54-41 to make it to the state tournament. They average about 61 ppg on 49 percent shooting from the field. They are an unselfish team as all five starters average around 10 ppg and as a team, they dish out 19 assists per game. They are pretty quick with their hands on the defensive side picking up 11 steals per game.
Why they can win it all: The Bison play very unselfish ball which makes their opponent guard 1-5 on the floor at all times. Each player has the ability to get hot at any time and don’t rely too heavily on one player as most teams do.
Chances they win it all: 5%. Hot Springs will have to defeat a really tough and experienced Pine Ridge team to advance to the next round. If they happen to do so they will either face off against the No. 1 team or a talented Dell Rapids team.
No. 6 Lennox (18-5)
The Orioles had a rocky start to the season sitting at 3-3 after a loss to St. Paul Central, Minn at the Sanford Pentagon. That didn’t faze them as they rolled off 10 straight wins only to fall to No. 1 Tea Area on a buzzer beater. Overall, Lennox finished the season out winning 12-out-of-14 games to end the regular season at 15-5. Four-of-five starters score in double figures on a nightly basis on 49 percent shooting as a team. With Josh Arlt, Quincy Ihnen and Will Daugherty leading the way for Lennox they will be hard to beat in Sioux Falls.
Why they can win it all: The Orioles are arguably one of the hottest teams coming into the state tournament. Lennox came seconds away from upsetting No. 1 Tea Area late in the season and then took down a tough Dakota Valley team to just earn a spot in the SoDak 16.
Chances they win it all: 10%. Lennox will have to upset a very tough St. Thomas More team to get into the semi-finals and if they do they face off against either the defending champs or a very talented SF Christian team to just make it to the finals.
No. 7 Madison (15-7)
After losing pretty much all of their scoring from last season as well as their successful coach, the Madison Bulldogs shocked everyone earning another spot at the state tournament. The Bulldogs had an up and down season that included a 78-43 dismantling against No. 1 Tea Area in early January. Since then Madison has only lost four times with an average margin of defeat of five points. Nic Comes (12.9 ppg) is one of the returning players that has provided a much-needed spark in the second half of the season. Doyle Brown (9.9 ppg) and Cody Brown (11 ppg) have also contributed much-needed scoring for the Bulldogs down the stretch.
Why they can win it all: The Bulldogs have experienced players in Comes and Doyle Brown that were apart of the state championship team last season. After getting beat badly by Tea Area they have been building momentum at the right time.
Chances they win it all: 5%. Madison doesn’t have as much firepower as they did last year. They will have to beat the No. 2 seed and then either a tough St. Thomas More or Lennox team to even get to the championship on Saturday.
No. 8 Dell Rapids (14-7)
The Quarriers didn’t have the regular season they were hoping but were able to get hot at the right time to earn a trip to the state tournament. Dell Rapids comes to Sioux Falls with a five-game win-streak after they avenged a loss earlier in the season to Parker defeating them 59-31 in the SoDak 16. The Quarriers usually have the height advantage with 6’9 Logan Heim, the senior has averaged 8.2 ppg and 11.1 boards a game this season. He’s been a force on the defensive side blocking 28 shots and 19 steals.
Why they can win it all: Colin and Connor Rentz have been the energizer bunny for the Quarriers on the season. Colin (10.5 ppg) and Connor (10.8) have been great on the defensive end as well as the offensive side. Colin has been dishing out some nasty dimes over the season collecting a team-high 71 assists. Their four-guard lineup is always a challenge for teams that prefer half-court offense rather than fast break.
Chances they win it all: 5%. The Quarriers will have a daunting task of upsetting the Titans in the first round of the state tournament. Earlier this season the two teams faced off with Tea Area coming away with the 80-60 win. Both teams have obviously gotten better since the second game of the season but it still will be a tough game for the Quarriers to come out on top.
Semifinals: Tea Area, SF Christian
Champion: Tea Area