SPEARFISH — As media members huddled around his star player, Parkston girls’ basketball coach Rob Van Laecken tried to slip out of the fray.
“You don’t need to talk to me,” he said.
Searching out the spotlight has never been for Van Laecken, the state’s all-time winningest girls’ basketball coach — now with 569 victories. Even when he passed the late Fred Tibbetts earlier this season, he didn’t seek the attention he so richly deserved.
The game-winner came off the hands of Parkston’s Marie Malloy, who overcame her struggles from the line on the day to finish with 27 points and 13 rebounds.
“It showed a lot of guts on her part,” Van Laecken said of the game-winner.
Vermillion’s story on Thursday did not have as happy an ending. The Tanagers ran into the wall that is the Miller Rustlers, a team that starts three six-footers.
“We tried to get them to shoot 15-footers and they did,” Vermillion head coach Nick Mayer said. “They’re 21-2, and that record is well-deserved.”
Miller is now Parkston’s next challenge as the Lady Trojans shoot for what would be Parkston’s — and Van Laecken’s — first state title. The other semifinal features St. Thomas More against Elkton-Lake Benton.
Vermillion looks to bounce back against Sisseton. Pine Ridge and Clark-Willow Lake play the other semifinal.
- Parkston was the only low seed to win on the opening day of the State A.
- The 61-60 victory over defending state champion Sisseton might have been one of the biggest in terms of coaching victories the State A Tournament has seen. Sisseton’s Cal Schubert ranks fifth among active coaches with 333 victories.
- Press & Dakotan photos from the state A tourney are available here.
Marie Malloy, Parkston: Went coast to coast for a game-winning layup with 1 seconds left in a win over defending champion Sisseton. Finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds.
Caitlin Duffy, St. Thomas More: Scored 28 points, including 15-16 from the line, and had 7 rebounds and 6 assists in win over Pine Ridge.
Mackenzie Huber, Clark-Willow Lake: Scored 22 points in a losing effort against Elkton-Lake Benton.
Mallory Fischer, Miller: Finished with 9 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists in win over Vermillion.
SCORING: Caitlin Duffy, STM 28; Marie Malloy, Parkston 27; Mackenzie Huber, CWL 22; Alexis Watts, Miller 20; Alexys Swedlund, STM 17
REBOUNDS: Chynna Stevens CWL 13; Marie Malloy, Parkston 13; Macy Toelle, Sisseton 12; Erica Herrold, Parkston 9; Mallory Fischer, Miller 8
ASSISTS: Mallory Fischer, Miller 8; Caitlin Duffy STM 6; Megan Krogman ELB 5; Madison Kirsch, STM 5; Cassidy Gebhart ELB 4; Blair Gilkyson, Vermillion 4; Tara Parmely, Miller 4; Shelby Greeley, Sisseton 4