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Class AA postseason outlook: Mitchell basketball teams top standings as regular season winds down

Feb. 13—MITCHELL — If the basketball regular season ended Monday, the Mitchell High School girls and boys basketball teams would both be Class AA's No. 1 overall seed heading into the postseason.

As both Class AA races enter the final stretch, the postseason picture is coming into view, though there's still plenty to be resolved with clusters of teams fighting to make the SoDak 16 cutoff and battling for top-eight positioning.

Note: All records are current through contests on Monday, Feb. 12.

Atop the Class AA girls rankings stand two of the six remaining unbeaten teams in all of South Dakota high school basketball. Entering the final stretch, Mitchell (15-0) and O'Gorman (17-0) are separated by less than six-hundredths of a point in the seed points standings, with a regular-season finale meeting looming.

Hovering alone in third, Brandon Valley (12-3) sits nearly 1.5 points behind O'Gorman but over one full point up on the pair of No. 4 Sioux Falls Jefferson (13-4) and No. 5 Harrisburg (10-5), in a tight race to round out the top five. Giving chase, No. 6 Pierre (11-5) and No. 7 Spearfish (10-5) are both within one seed point of Harrisburg, and Aberdeen Central (9-7) and Rapid City Stevens (9-8) aren't far behind at No. 8 and No. 9, respectively.

The remaining places in the top 16 of the class are split into two clusters. In spots No. 10-12, Sioux Falls Washington (7-9), Rapid City Central (6-10) and Huron (6-10) could potentially make a challenge for a top eight seed with a late-season surge. Separated by less than three-tenths of a seed point from No. 13 to No. 16, the quartet clinging to the final spots in the SoDak 16 are Brookings (5-11), Sioux Falls Roosevelt (3-12), Watertown (4-12) and Yankton (4-11).

Leading the three-team group looking to crack the postseason is Sturgis (3-11), followed up by Sioux Falls Lincoln (0-16) and Douglas (2-14).

Though the regular season's end is in sight, sitting a week and a half away, plenty of high-impact games still dot the schedule.

The Kernels still face a slate that includes three top-six opponents — Pierre (Feb. 16) and Brandon Valley (Feb. 20) visit the Corn Palace before Mitchell and O'Gorman meet to close the regular season on Feb. 23.

Jefferson plays an 18-5 Marshall, Minnesota, squad on Feb. 15 and Pierre on Feb. 20, and Harrisburg gets a crack at two top teams, facing off with O'Gorman on Tuesday night and Brandon Valley in the regular-season finale on Feb. 24.

Class AA girls basketball SoDak 16 pairings if the postseason started today

Based on the Class AA seed points standings through Feb. 12

No. 1 Mitchell (15-0) vs. No. 16 Yankton (4-11)

No. 2 O'Gorman (17-0) vs. No. 15 Watertown (4-12)

No. 3 Brandon Valley (12-3) vs. No. 14 Sioux Falls Roosevelt (3-12)

No. 4 Sioux Falls Jefferson (13-4) vs. No. 13 Brookings (5-11)

No. 5 Harrisburg (10-5) vs. No. 12 Huron (6-10)

No. 6 Pierre (11-5) vs. No. 11 Rapid City Central (6-10)

No. 7 Spearfish (10-5) vs. No. 10 Sioux Falls Washington (7-9)

No. 8 Aberdeen Central (9-7) vs. No. 9 Rapid City Stevens (9-8)

At the summit of the Class AA boys basketball standings, Mitchell (14-1) has carved out a 1.5-point cushion, as several other top contenders have been clipped in recent weeks.

However, should the Kernels trip, a trio lies in wait. With less than 0.5 points of separation between No. 2 and No. 4, Harrisburg (11-3), Sioux Falls Roosevelt (11-4) and Brandon Valley (11-3) have also created some breathing room ahead of a deep pack of tournament hopefuls.

Less than one seed point separates No. 5 Sioux Falls Washington (10-6) from No. 11 Sioux Falls Lincoln (8-9), with Huron (11-6), Rapid City Stevens (11-6), Watertown (9-7), Pierre (9-7) and O'Gorman (10-7) in between. Within striking distance of the large cluster rests another trio of teams, led by Sioux Falls Jefferson (9-9) with Aberdeen Central (7-9) and Spearfish (7-9) also in pursuit.

As it stands, three teams are vying for the final two postseason qualification spots. Sturgis (4-10) is just over 0.5 points clear of Yankton (3-12), which looks to fend off Douglas (5-11) in the No. 16 slot. The Bucks currently own an edge of less than nine-hundredths of a point on the Patriots. Outside looking in with ground to make up are Rapid City Central (1-14) and Brookings (1-15), both of with sit more than a full seed point behind No. 16.

Mitchell has several tests remaining, with two Eastern South Dakota Conference contests — at Pierre (Feb. 16) and home versus Brandon Valley (Feb. 20) — and three trips to Sioux Falls on the schedule for matchups against Washington (Tuesday night), Roosevelt (Feb. 17) and O'Gorman (Feb. 23).

In addition to a meeting with the Kernels, Brandon Valley closes the season with a pair of tough matchups, at home against Huron on Feb. 22 at at Harrisburg on Feb. 24. Elsewhere, Roosevelt and Washington have a cross-town clash set for Feb. 16, and both sides face tough competition on Feb. 23. The Rough Riders host Pierre, while the Warriors visit Rapid City Stevens.

Class AA boys SoDak 16 pairings if the postseason started today

Based on the Class AA seed points standings through Feb. 12

No. 1 Mitchell (14-1) vs. No. 16 Yankton (3-12)

No. 2 Harrisburg (11-3) vs. No. 15 Sturgis (4-10)

No. 3 Sioux Falls Roosevelt (11-4) vs. No. 14 Spearfish (8-7)

No. 4 Brandon Valley (11-3) vs. No. 13 Aberdeen Central (7-9)

No. 5 Sioux Falls Washington (10-6) vs. No. 12 Sioux Falls Jefferson (9-9)

No. 6 Huron (11-6) vs. No. 11 Sioux Falls Lincoln (8-9)

No. 7 Rapid City Stevens (11-6) vs. No. 10 O'Gorman (10-7)

No. 8 Watertown (9-7) vs. No. 9 Pierre (9-7)