50 States in 50 Days: South Dakota
Hoop breakdown of the Mount Rushmore State
As the season draws closer, Five-Star is previewing the high school basketball scene in all 50 states. Each day, we will focus on one state, highlighting the top teams, players and games of the upcoming season. Today, we focus on South Dakota. So, did we pick the top teams or did we snub your alma matter? Did we find the best players, or is there someone flying under the radar, ready to make noise? Let us know in the comments below.
Teams to Watch
St. Thomas More (Rapid City) – The reigning Class A champs lost just one contest a season ago, and carried their momentum through the state tournament, culminated with a 63-47 win over Viborg/Hurley in the title game. More is poised to repeat this year, but it won’t be easy. Class A features several teams on the rise that figure to challenge coach David Hollenbeck’s Cavaliers.
O’Gorman (Sioux Falls) - O’Gorman comes off a dominant championship season (25-1) in which their only loss came to prominent out of state opponent Findlay Prep (Las Vegas, NV). Coach Derek Robey has led the Knights to four AA titles in six seasons (’06, ’07, ’10. ’11). Every team on the Knights’ schedule will be giving them their best shot.
Viborg/Hurley (Viborg) - The Vikings will be back with a vengeance this season, after falling just short in the Class A final a season ago. Coach Galen Schoenfeld has a unique weapon in 6-9 center Zach Kraning. Expect Viborg/Hurley to be in the conversation come March.
Miller (Miller)- The Rustlers, led by seniors Darin Peterka (6-2, G) and Joey Vrooman (6-3, F) have the talent to make a deep run in Class A. After a first round exit last year, Coach Bob Waldrop will rely on his seniors to keep cool in big spots, and new role players to emerge after losing three starters to graduation
Roncalli (Aberdeen) – The Cavaliers were a Class A final four team last year, falling in the semifinals to eventual champions, More. Coach Thomas Nuendorf has made a point to challenge his squad with a rigorous schedule, that he believes conditions them for late season battle. Matchups against tough league opponents such as More and Sisseton serve as an early measure of the Cavs level of play.
Players to Watch
Darin Peterka (Miller) – The dynamic 6-2 guard does it all for Miller. Last season as a junior, Peterka averaged 22.8 points, 3 assists and 3.6 steals as he lead the Rustlers into the state playoffs. In the regional final game, he dropped 36 points in a decisive victory over Mobridge Pollack. Opposing teams will be keying in on Peterka more than ever in his senior campaign.
Zach Kraning (Viborg/Hurley) – At 6-9, Kraning is a force to be reckoned with in the paint for the Cougars. The center is getting looks from local schools South Dakota and South Dakota State and also Ivy League schools Princeton and Yale, who seemingly recognize his upside. The Cougars will look for him to build on a solid 2010-11, where he averaged 9.7 points and 7.2 boards per game.
Lane Meyer (Ipswich) – The junior is quickly becoming one of the premier players in the state. As a sophomore, he averaged 15.6 points and led the state in rebounding at 10 per game. Though only 6-2, Meyer gives the Tigers a major inside presence on both sides of the ball.
Derek Skillingstad (Hill City) - The 6-5 senior is a versatile forward with a rare combination of quickness and size. A varsity player since the seventh grade, Skillingstad is the unquestioned leader for the Rangers, and averaged 14.4 points and 8.5 boards last season. Derek has dealt with adversity off the court since the end of last year, and has battled illness that has made it difficult for him to stay active. However, he was able to return to the football team earlier this year, and has demonstrated an incredible drive to compete as a senior.
Ckyler Floyd (Harding County) – The 6-1 junior guard is a tenacious competitor who gets to the basket at will. As a sophomore, Floyd was Harding County’s offensive leader, averaging 16.3 points 2.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds. Along with backcourt mate Jess Feist (12.5 ppg, 5.6 apg), Floyd led the Ranchers to a 22-4 record a season ago and a trip to the Class B state tournament.
Mike Miller (Mitchell)
Tim Miles (Dolan)
Jon Sundvold (Sioux Falls)
Ward Lambert (Deadwood)
Jared Reiner (Mitchell)
Leonard Lovely (Elkton)
Jim Iverson (Platte)
Don Jacobsen (Lake Norden)
Cornie Collin (Huron)
Eric Piatkowski (Rapid City)