‘25 Things’ You May Or May Not Know About This Season

Those of you who have profiles on Facebook have already probably seen the “25 Random Things” ad nauseum, learning some things about your friends that you may not care to know. (Like one of my close friends was once arrested on a murder charge — mistaken identity, or so he claims.)

Here is one you might enjoy, a few things about the 2008-09 winter sports season to date.

1. The middle districts in Class B girls’ basketball have teams on the opposite ends of the spectrum.

District 8B has Viborg (18-1) and Gayville-Volin (0-17), while 9B has Hanson (17-1) and Wessington Springs (0-18). Viborg and Hanson are the only two ‘B’ schools with just one loss — Viborg just got that loss Tuesday against Avon — while the Raiders and Spartains are on a short list of teams that haven’t found a ‘W’ yet.

2. The Pierre boys, who come to Yankton’s Summit Center tonight (Saturday), are one of the top-scoring teams in the state, despite their 4-10 record (before Friday’s game at Watertown).

The Govs are averaging 64.7 points a game this season, including 87.8 in their last four games (not counting Friday). Of course, Pierre has given up 67.6 points a game, and no less than 56 in any one contest.

3. The Yankton boys, by contrast, are averaging 52.1 points a game, and have not scored more than 64 points in any one game. They have scored 64 in each of the last two, both wins.

4. The ‘AA’ boys’ scoring leaders, no surprise, are the top-ranked Lincoln Patriots, who have put up 68.9 points a game on their way to a 15-0 start. That average will likely go up, as the Pats head to Rapid City this weekend to face Stevens and Central, teams that they put up 76 and 79 points against on the opening weekend of the season.

5. S.D. Class B wrestling districts start today. District 5B, as usual, will have one of the toughest fields. Based on the most recent coaches poll (Feb. 6), the teams ranked third (Wagner), fourth (Bon Homme), seventh (Parkston) and 10th (Gregory-Burke) will be gathering in Gregory.

The six-team gathering will also boast 30 rated wrestlers, including three each at 112, 119, 125, 130 and 140. At 160, the top two wrestlers in the state will clash in Wagner’s Robert Kokesh and Parkston’s Josh Schieffer.

6. District 4B is no slouch either, with a ninth-ranked Marion-Freeman team and 21 rated wrestlers.

7. Also on the mats, the Eastern South Dakota Conference wrestling championships will be held today in Aberdeen.

Look for some great battles at heavyweight, where three of the top five and four of the top 12 in the state are from the ESD (including Yankton’s Brice Sayler). The little guys at 103 pounds are even deeper in the ESD, where four of the top six are from the ESD and six ESD wrestlers are ranked in the top 12.

8. Speaking of high-level competition today, that’s exactly what will be going on at the Summit Center, as Yankton hosts the Regions 1AA and 2AA Gymnastics championships. Both conference champions will be there, ESD champ Watertown (1AA) and Greater Dakota champ Sioux Falls Lincoln (2AA). Brookings, Sioux Falls Roosevelt and Sioux Falls O’Gorman, all in Region 1AA, are also among the state’s top teams.

9. While this would be more appropriate for No. 15, I was already on the topic of gymnastics, so I’ll put it here. In Class A, Madison will be gunning for a national-record 15th consecutive state title when they head to Rapid City next weekend. The Lady Bulldogs have owned the title since first sinking their teeth into it in 1995.

10. With a couple of big wins recently, the Mount Marty College women have vaulted themselves into the top 20 in something other than the national poll. The Lancers currently rank 19th in NCAA Division II in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by an average of 11.56 points per game. The Mount also ranks 10th in three-point percentage (.373), 12th in team defensive rebounds (33.07 per game), 13th in team field goal percentage (.444) and 17th in team free throw percentage (.727).

11. With the Lancer women ranked so highly in several team categories, they obviously have some individuals ranked as well.

Amber Marsden is 20th in field goal percentage (.519), 48th in defensive rebounds per game (5.52) and seventh in another category she’d prefer not to be recognized in, fouls (3.7 per game).

Michelle Amundson, thanks to her current string of 19 straight free throws — 15 against Dordt Wednesday — ranks 25th in free throw percentage (.815). She also ranks 33rd in assists (4.15 per game) and 46th in steals (2.59 per game).

Katelynn Kunz joins Amundson in the free throw rankings, seeded 32nd with a .804 percentage.

Lacey Powell ranks in a couple of outside shooting categories, 35th in three-point percentage (.393) and 39th in three-pointers per game (2.28).

12. While the Mount Marty men have struggled this year, they do have a couple marks nationally in defensive categories.

The Lancer men rank 12th in the nation in blocks per game (3.85), led by Jared Wall, who ranks 11th with 1.85 blocks a contest. MMC also ranks 50th in steals per game (8.41), with Rudy Harper leading the way with 2.56 swipes a contest (which also ranks 11th).

13. While it is not technically a winter sport, the MMC baseball season is underway. Despite their 0-3 start, the Lancers have already matched their home run total of a year ago (1). Mike Hammonds hit the dinger in the Metrodome last weekend.

14. The Lancer track and field team will be trying to earn some NAIA qualifying marks at the Great Plains Athletic Conference meet later this month in Lincoln, Neb.

Lancers currently on the bubble include sophomore Titus Kosgei, who is ranked first in the GPAC in the mile (4:25.22) and sixth at 1,000 meters (2:34.62), and freshman pole vaulter Katie Breuer (2.97 meters), who ranks 11th in that event.

15. Breuer, by the way, has served this past season as a gymnastics official. She was part of the Madison gymnastics dynasty (See No. 9).

16. The South Dakota State women are putting the Rushmore State on the map in terms of their play. In case you haven’t noticed — and if you haven’t, you should be ashamed — the Jackrabbits have improved to 23-2 on the season, including 12-1 in the Summit League, and are currently in the top 25 of both the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll (21) and the Associated Press poll (23).

Of course, as Keith Olberman used to say, “Games are not played on paper. They’re played in little TV sets.” (At least I think he said that one. All those ESPN catch phrases blur together.) The Jacks have a very good opportunity to earn their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid in women’s basketball. (SDSU teams have already earned bids in women’s volleyball and women’s soccer in their brief stay at Division I.)

The Jackrabbits host UMKC tonight. The last time those teams played, Yankton’s own Ketty Cornemann lit UMKC up for 23 points.

17. Speaking of SDSU, Parkston native Luke Leischner moved into the top 10 for the Jacks in the 200-meter dash with a clocking of 22.62 last night at the Iowa State Classic.

18. Despite being the only team in their class without a loss, the Crofton girls could end up the second seed in the state tournament.

Due to a stronger strength of schedule, Bishop Neumann (Wahoo), with a 19-1 record, edges out the 20-0 Lady Warriors by nearly four-tenths of a point.

19. Highly-rated girls’ teams from Hartington Cedar Catholic (C2) and Newcastle (D2) will likely have to win their way into state in order to go to Lincoln.

Nebraska has a “wild card” system in which the top two teams not to win their districts also qualify for state. Such a system comes in handy in situations like, say, three of the top five teams in the state are in the same region. (See South Dakota boys Region 5B, which includes Menno, Hanson and Mitchell Christian.)

Both Cedar and Newcastle currently sit eighth in the power points in their respective classes. The only way they would get in was if all six district champions are ahead of them or the old fashioned way, earn it.

20. Assuming the rankings don’t change much, the Hartington boys could avoid a similar fate. They are currently ranked sixth in D1, which means two of the teams ahead of them would have to be eliminated for them to not get a wild card.

21. After not playing in the first nine games of the season and 12 of the first 16, USD’s Kara Iverson is on a roll.

The Yankton native dropped 13 points and six rebounds in the Coyotes’ loss to Wisconsin-Eau Claire, then responded to her first career start by netting 17 points in a win over Northern Iowa, the Coyotes first win over a Division I opponent as a D-1 team.

Prior to the Eau Claire game, Iverson had scored 18 points in six games played, including a then-season high six against Concordia-St. Paul.

22. Not a surprise to anyone who has followed the Coyote women this season, but senior Bridget Yoeger is averaging nearly a double-double, with 17.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, averaging team-bests 14.8 points and 11.5 rebounds a game. 

23. While Yoeger is just off a double-double for the women, junior Tyler Cain is easily in double-double territory for the men. He also leads the team in steals (45) and blocked shots (63).

24. USD will host the inaugural Great West Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships March 1-2. That is a busy weekend in area sports, including the S.D. State Bantam Hockey Tournament in Yankton, the S.D. State wrestling tournaments in Watertown and Aberdeen, a USD home doubleheader on Feb. 28 and a potential semifinal game in the GPAC Tournament for the Lancers on Feb. 28.

25. Yesterday (Feb. 13) was assistant sports editor Jeremy Hoeck’s birthday. Wish him a belated Happy Birthday at jeremy.hoeck@yankton.net

Listen to James D. Cimburek and KYNT sports director Brady Donovin on 1450 AM’s “Breakfast With The Coaches,” live from Yesterday’s Cafe beginning at 9 a.m. Today.

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