Sixteen high school girls’ basketball teams open state tournament play in South Dakota today (Thursday, March 9th). Class “A” schools play four first-round games in Brookings—the Class “B” tournament is going on in Huron.
If there’s any pressure on the Warner High School girls’ basketball team, the Monarchs aren’t showing it at their Wednesday shoot-around. All of the teams get an hour to get the feel of the shiny floor of the Huron Arena, and Warner’s practice is loud and full of laughter.
Stewart Bohle is the long-time head coach of the Monarchs—they won the state title here three years ago. The northeast South Dakota school has a long track record of championship play in several sports. Bohle says current teams feed off the talent of those that came before.
“Absolutely—you know, there’s absolutely no doubt that success breeds success. And you know, when these kids were little, they watched some of those kids play, and some of those girls were on those teams. And so, absolutely, they watch and they learn from the other kids, and the success that they had—and like I said, we believe in Warner that success breeds success,” Bohle says.
The tempo is somewhat more measured for the Monarchs’ opponent in Round One—Timber Lake’s Panthers come to Huron from the northwest part of the state. Their lineup is quite a bit smaller than Warner brings to the tournament, but Timber Lake Head Coach Jordan Wesibeck says he believes his team can keep up with the Monarchs.
“Our defense is tough—our guards are some of the toughest I’ve seen, and they play hard. I mean, our defense is very good, as far as getting after them, getting them to force shots, making them force tournaments, and its—that’s kinda what we thrive on,” says Weisbeck.
The Warner-Timber Lake game starts at Noon Central Time. New Underwood meets Sanborn Central-Woonsocket in the second afternoon game. Tonight’s games have defending champion Sully Buttes against Parker, followed by Ethan and Avon.
Class “A” games in Brookings have St. Thomas More against Madison—Webster meets Little Wound. Vermillion takes on Hamilin, and Dell Rapids plays Lennox. Championship games happen Saturday.