By Bob Bakken
Girls Basketball: Sioux Falls Washington Claims AA Title
It was a long time coming for the Sioux Falls Washington Warriors, but a state AA girls basketball championship was probably much sweeter since just two years ago, Washington could only muster a 3-18 record.
Now, the tradition-rich high school in South Dakota’s largest city needs space in its trophy case for a new addition, after the Warriors’ 44-41 championship win over Pierre.
The title didn’t come easy, since the Lady Govs (19-6) from the capital city led 18-8 early in the championship contest. However, the Warriors recovered and hung on for the state title by hitting some key free throws after opening the final quarter with five straight missed free throws.
Washington coach Nate Malchow later told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader newspaper, "That shows the grit of the players on our team. If something goes wrong, they don't sweat it. What's done is done and they're looking to make the next play. I thought that was the story in the end and that was the story in the first half."
For Pierre, the finish was difficult to swallow as the Lady Govs suffered their third second place finish in a year’s time, including two basketball state runner-up decisions and one in volleyball.
Girls Basketball: West Central Wins State A Title
West Central’s 47-34 South Dakota State Class A championship game win over Dell Rapids in Watertown was a bit of revenge for the Trojans.
West Central won its first state title since 1999, while finishing the season with a record of 23-3. The revenge part comes as the Trojans lost to the Quarriers early in the season for one of its three losses and it took nearly the entire to mete out the revenge.
Jamey Hofer led the Trojans with 16 points and 13 rebounds to go with four blocked shots.
Hofer later told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader newspaper, "We worked the best we ever did as a team. I'm just overwhelmed. It's awesome and amazing. This is what we worked for all season."
Dell Rapids suffered through a tough shooting contest, hitting on just 22 percent of its shots (9 of 41). Dells finished the season 24-2.
Girls Basketball: Sully Buttes Owns B Championship Hardware
Huron hosted the South Dakota state Class B championship and Sully Buttes owns the hardware after a 50-24 championship game victory over Colman-Egan.
The Chargers defended their title and dominated the top-ranked and previously unbeaten Hawks in a game that was pretty much over at half-time.
Alexis Yackley, a future Iowa State Cyclone, scored 14 points and collected five assists for the Chargers in the finals victory. Her play was impressive since she tore an ACL last summer and has been rehabilitating her knee since her surgery last summer.
Girls Basketball: McDermott, Johnson, Yackley Win Spirit of Su Awards
A highlight of the South Dakota state girls basketball tournaments is the presentation of the “Spirit of Su” Award.
SuAnne Big Crow was a star basketball player for Pine Ridge, but was killed in a car accident on her way to the Miss Basketball Award event in Huron 16 years ago.
Big Crow was heavily involved in community service and academics along with her athletic talent. The South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police sponsored the annual honor.
This year’s winners include Sophia McDermott of Aberdeen Central, Vanessa Johnson of West Central and Alexis Yackley of Sully Buttes.