South Dakota's largest newspaper has named Watertown's Tara Heiser its top girls basketball player in the state.
The Sioux Falls Argus Leader named her the captain of its "Top Five," after leading the Arrows to two consecutive state Class AA titles, including this season, when Watertown defeated Brandon Valley 69-51 in the state finals.
Watertown coach Pat McClemans said that Heiser's biggest attribute was that she sees the floor well and understands the game. That's among the reasons why a 5-foot-9 guard who averages over 14 points, six rebounds and four assists a game is so respected on the state level.
But, at the state tournament on her future home court at South Dakota State University in Brookings, Heiser scored 24 points against Sioux Falls Roosevelt in the quarterfinals, 14 points against Pierre in the semifinals and 19 points in the championship victory over Brandon Valley.
The other members of the Argus Leader's "Top Five" were:
- Sioux Falls Washington 5-9 senior Ashley Eide, who is also headed to South Dakota State.
- Christian Janis of Pine Ridge, a 5-5 junior guard who led her school to its first Class A title since 1989
- Stanley County 6-3 senior and Purdue-bound Sam Ostarello, one of the country's top recruits.
- Pierre 5-10 senior and South Dakota State-bound Steph Paluch, the school career record holder.
Boys Basketball: Shaw Leaves Lead-Deadwood Program
Curt Shaw, the head basketball coach at Lead-Deadwood, is leaving the program after six years there.
Shaw told the Rapid City Journal newspaper he actually had decided to resign last year, but wanted to see this year's senior class through their final year, since he had basically coached them since they were freshmen.
Shaw has coached in western South Dakota over the past 20 years, including Harding County and Belle Fouche, where led his high school alma mater to a Class A state appearance 15 years ago.
He has been at Lead-Deadwood since 2002-03 and says his future plans are uncertain.
Girls Track: Sorenson Signs with Notre Dame
Sioux Falls Lincoln hurdler Nevada Sorenson has signed a national letter of intent with Notre Dame. In her senior season running for the Patriots, Sorenson won the Class AA state title in the 300-meter hurdles last spring and finished second in the 100 hurdles. Her runner-up finish in the 100 hurdles was her only defeat of the season last spring.
Sorenson moved on to the national radar after taking second in the 60 hurdles at the Simplot Games in Idaho with a time of 8.62 seconds, which was the seventh-best time in the country. She finished fifth in the same event at the Nike Indoor Nationals in Boston last month.
Golf: Pappel Brothers Stay Close To Home
The standout golfing brothers Pappel will continue their links careers close to home, as Rapid City Stevens standouts Brogan and Josh Pappel will play for the South Dakota School of Mines next season.
Both will major in engineering and Brogan told the Rapid City Journal that the school’s engineering program was the major influence in their decision, even though their father also works at the school.
Last spring, Josh tied for sixth place at the state Class AA tournament with a 160 score for the two-day event. Brogran was tied for eighth place, just one shot back. Both were members of the newspaper's "Best of the West" team last year.
Rehn Named To State Sports Hall of Fame
Among the latest inductees to the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is state activities association official Ruth Rehn, who last year retired from the association after 34 years.
During her time with the SDHSAA as assistant executive director, the state added basketball, volleyball, cross country and competitive cheer and dance to its sanctioned offerings for girls. Rehn became the overseeing administrator for all girls sports programs.
Rehn advocated using a smaller basketball for girls and South Dakota first experimented with volleyball rally scoring and the libero player under her leadership.