State Boys Basketball Preview: St. Thomas More to face Lakota Tech in the first round
RAPID CITY, S.D. – An undefeated team and the defending champions highlight the field for this year’s State ‘A’ boys basketball tournament which is set to tip off Thursday at the Summit Arena in Rapid City.
Top-seed Dakota Valley enters the state tournament as the favorites with a 23-0 record.
But St. Thomas More hopes to be in the mix, as well.
St. Thomas More is the No. 2 seed in the tournament with record of 20-2.
The Cavaliers only losses were to the No. 1 teams in Class ‘A’ and Class ‘B’, Dakota Valley and De Smet.
The Cavaliers will face No. 7 Lakota Tech in the opening round on Thursday.
The Tatanka, who are 16-5 on the season, are led by Jordan Whirlwind Horse and Triston LeBeau who both average 13 points per game.
STM is the top defensive team in the state in Class ‘A’, allowing just 36 points per game.
Head coach Dave Hollenbeck says that defense will play a big key in their game against Lakota Tech.
“Defense is very important for us,” said STM boys basketball coach Dave Hollenbeck. “It’s our foundation. It’s the base of everything we do. It’s going to be really important for us to defend well. The teams we play right away, Lakota Tech, they’ve got a really good guy in the middle. We’re going to have to figure out how to guard him. They’ve got great perimeter players. Good shooters. They shoot the ball really well. So it’s going to be key for us that first game how well we defend.”
Senior Cade Kandolin leads the Cavaliers in scoring with 15.4 points per game followed by Caleb Hollenbeck with 14 points and five rebounds per contest.
St. Thomas More is making its fourth straight appearance in the State ‘A’ tournament.
So the Cavaliers are excited but focused on taking it one game at a time.
“We have three returners from last year’s starters which is awesome,” said STM senior guard Cade Kandolin. “Then we have some young new experience. But definitely having experience from the past state tournament definitely helps.”
“Things are going really good,” said STM senior guard Ethan Burnett. “We’re practicing pretty hard and getting ready for our first match-up against Lakota Tech. Not looking past anyone and just coming in focused everyday.”
State ‘A’ Boys Basketball Tournament
Schedule for Thursday, March 17 in Rapid City
#8 Sioux Falls Christian vs #1 Dakota Valley 12 p.m.
#5 Groton Area vs #4 Flandreau 1:45 p.m.
#7 Lakota Tech vs #2 St. Thomas More 6 p.m.
#6 Sioux Valley vs #3 Winner 7:45 p.m.
State ‘AA’ Boys Basketball Tournament
Schedule for Thursday, March 17 in Sioux Falls
#9 Yankton vs #1 SF Roosevelt 11 a.m.
#5 Mitchell vs #4 Harrisburg 12:45 p.m.
#7 SF Lincoln vs #2 SF O’Gorman 5 p.m.
#6 SF Jefferson vs #3 SF Washington 6:45 p.m.
State ‘B’ Boys Basketball Tournament
Schedule for Thursday, March 17 in Aberdeen
#8 Waubay-Summit vs #1 De Smet 11 a.m.
#5 Aberdeen Christian vs #4 Potter County 12:45 p.m.
#7 Castlewood vs #2 Lower Brule 5 p.m.
#6 Freeman Academy-Marion vs #3 White River 6:45 p.m.