Well, well, well, what exactly do we have up in White River this year? The Tigers ran through the Jones County tournament in brilliant fashion. Eldon Marshall's crew won all three games in decisive fashion...
Beat Bennett County 82-39
Beat Lyman 80-53
Beat Jones County 88-54
Don't know if it is more impressive that White River's average margin of victory was 35 points or that they averaged 83 points per game?
So, the Tigers moved up in the SD Class B Media poll this week:
1. Clark/Willow Lake (10) 7-1 92 1
2. Bridgewater-Emery (9) 8-2 88 2
3. Sully Buttes 6-1 67 3
4. White River (3) 10-0 46 5
5. Canistota 7-1 17 RV
Receiving votes: Warner 13, Irene-Wakonda 3, Corsica-Stickney 2, Aberdeen Christian 2.
Coach Marshall talks about White Rivers run at the Jones County Tournament..
"I thought we did pretty good defensively and we were able to get turnovers and get some easy baskets, " Marshall said. "We shot the ball pretty well from the field, made a bunch of threes over the three day tournament."
How many threes in three days?
In those three games Jadice Morrison and Tyson Iyotte each hit 11 treys.
"Tyson averaged 20 per game over the tournament, Jadice 16 and Donnie Yackley 12 per game," Marshall said.
So, how in the heck did White River lose what they lost last year and are 10-0 and ranked No. 4 in the state?
Is Coach Marshall surprised by that?
"The experience the guys got last year, guys like John (Petrik), Donnie (Yackley) has really helped them this year," Marshall said. "They are really working hard and they come to practice and they work really hard...We have some really good kids."
Well, White River won Lakota Nation Invite and now they won the Jones County Invitational. Lotta sophomores on the team that seem to like each other and play well together.
I think that we jelled as a team really early this year," Marshall said. "The kids are figuring out their roles and understanding their jobs in their roles."
Marshall adds the team has completely committed on the defensive end. "It takes a lot of work to play defense and guys like Nick Sayler really set the tone for us," Marshall said.
And then there is the bench...
"Our subs, guys like Izaiah Sorace, Teron Sazue and Joe Brandis, we really don't fall off that much when the subs come in."
Well, the news came down over the weekend that the Tigers will be playing a 7-2 Aberdeen Roncallli team in Mitchell on Saturday. That Aberdeen Roncallli team was undefeated until running into Hamlin and an Iowa team in Sioux Falls over the weekend.
Class A rankings:
1. Madison (22) 9-0 110 1
2. Sioux Falls Christian 8-0 87 2
3. Sioux Valley 11-1 55 3
4. Tea Area 6-2 46 4
5. Dakota Valley 7-2 9 RV
Receiving votes: Red Cloud 7, Hamlin 5, Aberdeen Roncalli 4, Crow Creek 3, Sisseton 2, Dell Rapids 1, Bon Homme 1.
Marshall has already seen game film on the Cavaliers and says the Cavaliers play a lot like the Tigers.
"The Reedy kid (Gus Reede - 6-foot-2 senior can really score," Marshall said. "They are kind of built like us. They don't have a dominant big guy but they have forwards and guards that can run the floor. They like to play full court, man-to-man, like us and they have a really good point guard that can handle the ball."
After facing Aberdeen Roncallli on Saturday, the Tigers get another stiff test when they take on Pine Ridge in Pine Ridge on Jan. 26.
Marshall says he's looking forward to both challenges and thinks he'll have a better look at what his team is made of in ten days.
Other notes: "I've been pleased with how we've been able to finish out games. We had some tough games at Lakota Nation, some battles and we were able to come away with wins and make plays when we need to. It's a different guy that steps up every night and that's good for us that we don't have to rely on one guy."