Full-Court Press: Corsica-Stickney girls rally around injured teammate

Ryan T. Deal, The Daily Republic, Mitchell, S.D.
·4 min read

Mar. 6—There aren't many teams that lose their best player and rattle off 11 straight victories.

But that's exactly what the Corsica-Stickney girls basketball team has done.

The Jaguars' season took a turn on Jan. 21 when all-stater Avery Broughton suffered a season-ending ACL injury against Ethan. But instead of it derailing their season, the Jaguars chugged along into the state tournament.

"I think it really brought us closer," Corsica-Stickney senior Raven Barse said. "We've always been a close team, but we were like 'We have to fill in this void' and a lot of people stepped up and I think it really just meshed us even closer than we were before."

It's shown on the court. Corsica-Stickney continued to pick up convincing victories, while grinding out some narrow wins along the way. The Jaguars (21-2) punched their ticket to state with a 49-33 win over Timber Lake in the SoDak 16 on Thursday.

It is Corsica-Stickney's third straight trip and fourth overall since the two towns joined forces in sports. But coach Lorisa Broughton — Avery's mother — admits the 2021 trip is more emotional given the circumstances.

"I thanked them for finishing this out," Lorisa said after Thursday's win. "It was a pretty big blow to us earlier and I am just so proud of them."

It also served as a rallying cry for the Jaguars. Corsica-Stickney adopted a new motto — better together — about six games ago and it will continue into the state tournament.

"They decided to do it for her and to do it for the team," Lorisa said. "The team has always been what's important to us. So it pulls you together even better."

Corsica-Stickney plays Herreid/Selby Area at 7 p.m. on March 11 in the state tournament at the Huron Arena. The Jaguars defeated the Wolverines, 64-53, on Feb. 12 the Corn Palace.

—Mitchell Republic sports reporter Ryan Deal

Winner gets another crack to defend 2019 title

There's unfinished business waiting for the Winner girls basketball team in Watertown.

The Warriors didn't get a chance to defend its Class A state championship, or see if they could complete a perfect season last year. The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the state tournament before it began.

A year later, the long win streak has ended, but at 20-2, Winner finds itself back as the No. 2 seed, once again behind St. Thomas More. Winner plays Dakota Valley at 5 p.m. on March 11.

"Our motto is, 'Not satisfied,' " Winner coach Larry Aaker said. "We weren't satisfied with the way the season ended last year. It's unfinished business and we're not satisfied."

Winner's only losses came to No. 1 St. Thomas More and West Central, which snapped its 49-game win streak.

But even at the time, the Warriors knew it was only a minor setback toward a bigger goal. They won their next 10 contests before a four-point loss to the Cavaliers.

"I remember when we lost to West Central, all we said was, 'Championships aren't won in December. We're not done yet,' " Winner all-state guard Bella Swedlund said. "And just having this moment with us as a team and how we bounced back because we could've folded. We could've lost a few more games, but I'm really proud of us and how we bounced back."

Tri-Valley upset West Central in Region 3A play, but then lost to Winner, 50-35, in the SoDak 16 on Thursday. The Warriors wouldn't get another crack at St. Thomas More until a potential championship game.

"Even with West Central out, you just look up the board. St. Thomas More, what they have done is incredible," Aaker said. "Hamlin, Sioux Falls Christian, Aberdeen Roncalli. It's going to be a fun atmosphere and a fun state tournament."

—Mitchell Republic sports reporter Jeremy Karll

Dunks!

Joe Sayler had a pair of dunks.

He put down a two-handed slam to score his 1,000th career point.

Joe Sayler hammering down his 1,000

ball!! @sayler_joe @RyanDeal_DR @MidcoSN @7AAAASports @AnderaMidcoSN @KELOSports @WRTigersBBB @SDPBSports @Brian_Haenchen @espn @SportsCenter pic.twitter.com/oBYeRaaXfd

— Kalan Collins (@kalan_collins) March 3, 2021

And then on Friday, put down an alley-oop off the backboard. He scored 36 points and grabbed nine rebounds in White River's 91-66 win over Wall.

Joe Sayler with the oop from the young Nic Marshall @sayler_joe @Nic54094063 @RyanDeal_DR @AnderaMidcoSN @MidcoSN @7AAAASports @Brian_Haenchen @KELOSports @WRTigersBBB @SDPBSports pic.twitter.com/sVHtK6mtjw

— Kalan Collins (@kalan_collins) March 6, 2021

Honor roll

Top boys performers

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Winner's Brady Fritz exploded for 38 points on 14-for-23 shooting in a 61-30 win over Hot Springs. He also nailed seven 3-pointers.

Top girls performers

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Bella Swedlund scored 24 points to go with three assists, four steals and two blocks in a SoDak 16 win over Tri-Valley.

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In Viborg-Hurley's win over Andes Central/Dakota Christian, Nevaeh Ronke recorded a 13-point, 15-rebound double-double to go with five steals.