Class B Girls
Roncalli is in the unique situation of returning four starters from a state championship team and actually moving down a class. Expectations will be high for the Cavs, but Head Coach Derek Larson thinks defense is the key to achieving goals this year. “We need to play together physically on the defensive end,” said Larson. “We really take pride in how we play defensively and need to fill some key roles.” Roncalli will have the size advantage most nights with Madelyn Bragg in the post. She is a long and athletic post who’s improved her outside game as well. She went for 16 ppg and 9rpg last year. Morgan Fielder is one of the quickest guards in the state and leads a strong backcourt that includes Olivia Hanson and Jaci Ewart as well. Allie Morgan, Ella Hanson and Ava Hanson will all see significant time as well.
Last season was tough for the Jaguars as they spent most of it without their star Avery Broughton. But after a ton of hard work and rehab she’s ready to get back onto the court for her junior season. Broughton is a long and skilled player who is an instant mismatch against almost anyone in Class B. Rachel Gerlach, Morgan Clites, Payton Delange and Casey Tolsma all picked up the slack last year and return to a team with lofty goals.
3. Aberdeen Christian
This team could be among the most improved from a year ago. Five starters return from a team that was just one game away from the state tournament. “We are hoping to make a deep run this season,” said Michael Rohrbach. “We return every player from last year’s team.” Mallory Miller has great length and post presence and is one of the top bigs in the state. Look for Joy Rohrbach and Grace Kaiser to continue their all-conference type of game from last year. Hanna Miller could be one of the best all-around guards in class B and Kaylee Block always gives great minutes on the floor.
4. White River
White River obviously depended on their player of the year Caelyn Valandra-Prue on their way to a state title last year. But Maleighya Estes has the potential to get this team into contention this year. Kelsey Morrison and several other leaders will make White River a strong contender once again. Lily Krogman was injured during their title run last year but is back and ready to take a step up. They also have several strong sophomores and freshmen ready to step up.
Josie Mousel and Mackenzie Hemmer headline a talented roster that could easily move into state title contention this season. Younger players like Berkley Groos, Kadance Landis and Lanie Mousel will all take on bigger roles this year. This is very athletic group that has fantastic upside. Watch out for the Hawks.
Ever since Tom Young took over the Ethan girls basketball program, they’ve been in contention for a state title. This year with three returning starters from a 22-win team they’ll be in the mix again. Although they aren’t very tall, they have great players like Hannah Bartscher, Ava Lingemann and Maddy Bartscher who can all put up double-digits in scoring. Their tough schedule will make them a contender by season’s end.
The Warriors will try to keep their recent success going with a strong junior and sophomore class. Maddie Horn, Mackenzie Everson and Lyndsey Archer are all juniors with state tournament experience who will lead the team in almost every way this year.
The Cougars have three starters back from a 19-win team. “It will be a challenge to even get out of your region, so we must stay focused and take it day by day,” said Head Coach Molly Mason. They have to replace their top two scorers but have the talent to do so. Delana Mach is the lone returning senior starter. Coral Mason, Denae Mach also return to the starting lineup. Both have double digit scoring potential. Look for the Cougars to improve even more when they get a fully healthy roster following some early season injuries.
Mark Senftner is back on the bench coaching for Sully Buttes following a bout with cancer. He’s excited to get after it with four returning starters, “We will have great depth and a lot of speed and quickness,” said Senftner. Stevie and Allyson Wittler will be depended on for scoring and both have big-time potential. Lydia Hill, Calleigh Chichoine, Tallynn Bradford, Caitlin Birney and Addison Chicoine provide great depth and speed all over the court. If Sully Buttes can hang with bigger teams, they’ll be back on the winning track this year.
Hannah Bartscher, Ethan
Madelyn Bragg, Roncalli
Avery Broughton, Corsica-Stickney
Kennadi Buchholz, De Smet
Maleighya Estes, White River
Morgan Fiedler, Roncalli
Mallory Miller, Aberdeen Christian
Jadyn Jensen, Jones County
Julia Weber, Bridgewater-Emery
Zoey Wohlleber, Waubay/Summit