Class A girls basketball in South Dakota has had a definite West River influence over the past 11 years with Pine Ridge, St. Thomas More and Winner combining to win eight of the past 11 state championships in that class ...
The Winner Warriors are the defending Class A state champion after More won five straight and six of the last seven championships ... and the Cavaliers will be looking to challenge the Warriors for that top spot again this year as they return just about everybody from last year's sixth-place finisher.
Kandolin said, "Got a lot of kids coming back, a lot of experience, and then you throw in a couple of good underclassmen and we're feeling really good right now. You know this is one of the years that reminds of previous years where we're going to have a good 10, 11, 12, 13 girls who can get after it in practice and that's a huge part of it, if you don't have the numbers and the quality to make a practice tough it's hard to get where you want to be."
The Cavaliers will play an exhibition fundraiser for Toys for Tots against White River on Saturday at noon, followed by a boys game between the Cavs and Tigers ... with all proceeds going to the charity. Admission is five dollars or a new and unwrapped toy. The Cavalier girls will open the regular season at home against Belle Fourche on December 14th.
And the South Dakota School of Mines women's basketball team added a new recruit today as the Rockers picked up Maggie Smith from Cheney, Washington ... the 5-10 shooting guard is a four-year starter for the Cheney Blackhawks ...
The Hardrockers hit the road this weekend along with Black Hills State for a tough road trip to Utah to face Westminster and Dixie State ... and first-year head coach Jeri Jacobson is positive despite a 1-3 start for her team. She says turnovers have hurt her team early and that they'll have to clean things up against the solid Trailblazers and Griffins on the road.
YOU KNOW THE TEAM BATTLES HARD THEY PLAY HARD. THEY GIVE EVERYTHING THEY HAVE. AND IT SHOWS IN ALL THE CATEGORIES ITS JUST THAT ONE, THAT ONE TURNOVER CATEGORY THAT SEEMS TO BE OUR BUG RIGHT NOW. THE BIGGEST KEY I THINK FOR US IS JUST STAYING COMPOSED AND VALUING OUR POSSESSION AT THE END OF THESE TIGHT GAMES. BOTH TEAMS ARE VERY VERY TALENTED. OBVIOUSLY RANKED HIGH IN OUR PRESEASON RANKINGS FOR THE CONFERENCE. WE WILL FOCUS IN A LITTLE BIT MORE ON THEIR TENDENCIES AND WHAT THEY EACH DO OFFENSIVELY LATER IN THE WEEK..
The Hardrockers will play Dixie on Friday night and Westminster on Saturday. Westminster is ranked 18th in the country in the latest Top 25 Division II coaches poll.
In some quick ECHL news, Rapid City Rush forward Giovanni Fiore has been named the ECHL Player of the Week. Fiore led all players with seven points in three games against the Idaho Steelheads last week. Overall, Fiore had four goals and three assists to help the Rush take five of six points in last week's series.