Thursday 9 p.m. sportscast

The Rapid City Central boys basketball team lost a heartbreaker to crosstown rival Rapid City Stevens last season to miss out on the state tournament by literally seconds ... and while the Cobblers will have to replace starters Gavyn Strand and Elijah Williams from that squad, there is plenty of talent at TJ Hay's disposal as the Cobblers look to get back to the Class AA state tournament.

The Cobblers return starters Kohl Meisman, Micah Swallow and Erik Keohane along with plenty of other size and experience. It's well known that everybody is optimistic this time of year, but the Cobblers have good reason to feel that they're going to be plenty competitive.

Hay said, "We've got three starters back from last year, you know two of them were sophomores, we've got good size, probably the best size we've ever had, you know we're not 6-8 or 6-9 but overall, we've got a lot of guys who are 6-5, 6-6, and super athletic, a lot of three-sport athletes which really helps with a lot of things on the floor." Wells said, "Our first practice was definitely probably the best energy so far, a lot of guys just really hyper and ready to go crazy and I'm sure we'll get that back before the first game and yeah, I'm excited a lot."

Central opens play this season in Wyoming with three games at the Camel Classic in Gillette from December 12th through the 14th.

A bunch of Rapid City Rush hockey players were at the hospital today {THURSDAY,} but not because they were hurt.

As part of their outreach in preparation for their Hockey N Hope game this Saturday, a handful of Rapid City Rush players toured the John T. Vucurevich Cancer Care Institute at Rapid City Hospital today {THURSDAY} The players were shown cancer care facilities, treatment rooms, learned about cancer care, met staff and some patients. Events like this are important for community outreach.

The purple jerseys are in honor of cancer patients and will auctioned off after the game on Saturday night. The Rush and Grizzlies drop the puck at 7:05 on both Friday and Saturday.

South Dakota could be cutting its number of football classes back to five. The state's Football Advisory Board has crafted a proposal to cut the number of classes back to five starting in 2021. The state would go back to three classes of 11-man football and two classes of nine-man under the new proposal but it would differ slightly from what people remember. Class 11AA would have the 10 biggest schools while Class 11A would consist of the 16 biggest schools not in the state's top class. The remaining 11-man teams would play in Class 11B. Nine-man football teams would be split evenly between Class 9A and Class 9B under the proposal. The board also proposed a rule change for next season mandating a running clock in games where a team takes a 35-point lead in the second half, which many feel is a reaction to Pierre's 103-0 win over Spearfish in the Class 11AA playoffs. The proposal will still need to pass approval from the state's activities directors and South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors to go into effect.

And the South Dakota high school wrestling season hit the mats tonight with Sturgis hosting Belle Fourche in a dual and the Scoopers rolled to a 70-12 win over the Broncs as the Scoopers racked up nine pins on the night. Thomas McCoy at 132 pounds and Michael Streeter at 285 were the Broncs two winners on the night. Belle Fourche will compete in the Custer Invitational this weekend while Sturgis heads to North Dakota for the Mandan Lions Invitational.

And the South Dakota State women's basketball team bounced back from a heartbreaking 71-70 loss to Florida Gulf Coast in Cancun with a 94-41 obliteration of Coppin State in Brookings tonight. Freshman Tori Nelson led four Jackrabbits in double figures with 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Fellow freshman Kallie Theisen had a game-high 12 rebounds for South Dakota State, which is now 6-3 on the season. Things don't get any easier for the Eagles as they head to No. 24-ranked South Dakota on Saturday.

... in some other professional sports news of interest to Rapid City fans, a South Dakota State and Rapid City Central graduate who is a future Hall of Famer may be at the end of his illustrious football career ...

Adam Vinatieri may not kick again this season. The Indianapolis Colts have claimed kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers amid Vinatieri's continuing struggles and a left knee injury. The 46-year-old Vinatieri, arguably the greatest kicker in NFL history, has missed 14 kicks this year, including six extra points. Vinatieri told ESPN that he didn't have an answer regarding whether or not he would play again this season. A 1991 Rapid City Central graduate, Vinatieri has scored an NFL record 2,671 points and made 29 game-winning kicks, inclduing two Super Bowls.