The Stevens boys basketball team has overcome the graduation of its leading scorers from last season, injuries to key players and three straight losses to open the season to grab the No. 5 seed in the SoDak 16 after compiling a 14-6 record. The Raiders will be looking to reach their eighth straight state tournament when they take on Harrisburg on Saturday and a big part of that run has been the play of senior guard Daniel Vigoren ... Brendan Mackey has more ...
WHEN DANIEL VIGOREN WAS A JUNIOR HIS COACH GAVE HIM THE CHANCE TO BE THE POINT GUARD, OR AS DANIEL CALLS IT, THE "QUARTERBACK" ON THE STEVENS BASKETBALL TEAM....VIGOREN WELCOMED THE OPPORTUNITY AND HAS NEVER LOOKED BACK SINCE.
"YEAH I MEAN NUMBER ONE HE IS A COMPETITOR. YOU KNOW HE IS NOT BIG BUT HE IS GRITTY PLAYS WITH HEART AND YOU KNOW HE IS A COMPETITOR. THAT IS THE WAY YOU WANT YOUR POINT GUARD TO BE. YOU KNOW IF HE IS NOT SHOOTING WELL HE IS GOING TO GO GET SOME REBOUNDS. HE IS A GREAT LEADER FOR OUR PROGRAM AND EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT AT THE POINT GUARD SPOT."
"SUPER COMPETITIVE. IM SURE COACH CAN TELL YOU THAT. I CAN GET UPSET WITH HIM IF HE MAKES THE WRONG CALL IF HE IS REFFING IN OUR PRACTICES AND STUFF, BUT IM A SUPER COMPETITIVE GUY AND I WANT TO WIN." ITS JUST THE PERSON HE IS....WHEN YOU LOOK AT DANIEL HE'S NO WHERE NEAR THE BIGGEST GUY ON THE COURT, BUT DONT LET THAT FOOL YOU....HE JUST USES THAT AS MOTIVATION
"OH YEAH SUPER COMPETITIVE. I MEAN HE IS ALWAYS GETTING OFFENSIVE BOARDS AND EVEN IF HE IS THE SMALLEST GUY ON THE COURT HE IS ALWAYS JUST PUSHING AND SHOVING TRYING TO GET THE BALL. I THINK HE IS SO USED TO IT. I MEAN SOME PEOPLE LIKE PLAYING WITH PRESSURE. AND HE IS ONE OF THE GUYS. I MEAN, HE IS COOL UNDER PRESSURE. IT DOESNT BOTHER HIM."
DANIEL IS THE COMMANDER ON THE FLOOR FOR THE RAIDERS AND LEADS BY EXAMPLE FOR EVERYONE, ESPECIALLY THE UNDERCLASSMEN.
"YEAH I THINK THEY SEE DANIEL IN PRACTICE AND IN GAMES AND THEY THINK THEY GOT TO WORK HARD TO BE LIKE DANIEL." COACH "WELL LIKE I SAID THAT LEAD BY EXAMPLE. THEY SEE HIM WORKING HIS TAIL OFF. AND THEY WANNA FOLLOW SUIT YOU KNOW. YOU SEE GUYS DIVE ON THE FLOOR GET AFTER IT DEFENSIVELY AND YOU KNOW THEY WANNA DO THAT TOO OR THEY BETTER DO THAT OR SOMEONE IS GOING TO GET AFTER THEM. AND THEN MORE TIMES THAN NOT ITS PROBABLY HIM." BASKETBALL HAS ALWAYS BEEN SUCH A BIG PART OF HIS LIFE....THE THING HE WILL MISS THE MOST....PLAYING IN FRONT OF A PACKED CROWD CHEERING ON HIM AND HIS TEAMMATES
"ITS BEEN FUN. THAT IS WHY I LIKE BEING A RAIDER BECAUSE WE HAVE A BUNCH OF GOOD FANS. AND EVERYONE COMES OUT AND SUPPORTS EVEN IF THE WEATHER IS BAD AND WE ARENT PLAYING A GOOD TEAM. THEY ARE ALWAYS HERE CHEERING US ON."FOUR YEARS HAVE GONE BY AND IM GLAD THAT I WAS A RAIDER." AT STEVENS HIGH SCHOOL IM BRENDAN MACKEY.
The University of South Dakota women's basketball team recently capped off its second undefeated Summit League season in three years as the Coyotes made history in becoming the highest-ranked team in conference history in a national poll when they were ranked 12th in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 ...
South Dakota's leading scorer and the league's preseason player of the year is a Rapid Citian who is looking to lead the Coyotes to a conference tournament championship beginning Friday in Sioux Falls. Ciara Duffy is a finalist for the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year award after averaging 16 points, five assists and five rebounds per game this season, and her head coach says none of it comes as much of a surprise, while Duffy feels this could be the year that the Coyotes win their first NCAA Tournament game.
Plitzuweit said, "She's someone who continues to set the tone in terms of work ethic, she's someone who sets the tone academically, she's someone who is very caring for her teammates and celebrates her teammates' successes."
Duffy said, "I've seen the work that this group of girls has put in, I've seen you know what we can accomplish, even just from you know our past successes, but also you know when we're playing in practice. I think when you see all the work accumulated you have a level of confidence in a group of people that maybe outsiders don't necessarily always get to see and so I don't know, I mean I don't want to jinx anything but I think this team has the potential to do some pretty cool things."
The top-seeded Coyotes open Summit League Tournament play against Omaha on Saturday at 11 a.m. Mountain Time. No. 2 seed South Dakota State takes on North Dakota at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The championship game is scheduled for Monday.
While the Summit is crowning its conference tournament champ this week, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference playoffs began last night and both the South Dakota School of Mines and Black Hills State women were defeated in their opening round games.
But it wasn't all bad news for the Jackets and Hardrockers yesterday as all-league selections were announced as Mines' Ryan Weiss and Anna Haugen and Black Hills' Racquel Wientjes were named to the first team. Weiss was second in the league in scoring, while Wientjes was fifth and Haugen was the conference's leading rebounder. Black Hills' Morgan Ham picked up second-team honors along with Chadron's Taryn Foxen while the Hardrockers' Sami Steffeck and the Eagles' Jori Peters were named honorable mentions. Other awards went to Denali Pinto of Colorado School of Mines as Player of the Year, Mesa's Sydni Brandon as Defensive Player of the Year; Western Colorado's Hannah Cooper was freshman of the year and Taylor Wagner of Mesa was Coach of the Year.