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Lyman girls basketball looks to take next step in SoDak 16 return

Feb. 27—PRESHO, S.D. — Back in the SoDak 16 for the second straight season, all that stands between the Lyman girls basketball program and a first Class B state tournament berth since 2014 is a West River rematch.

As the seventh-seed Raiders (19-2) face off with 10th-seeded Kadoka Area (15-6) on Thursday night in Murdo, they find themselves in a familiar position. But this time, Lyman has the benefit of being able to lean on last season's experiences.

Class B's No. 14 seed a season ago, Lyman was within three points of No. 3 Viborg-Hurley at halftime in the SoDak 16 before the eventual back-to-back state champions pulled away in the second half. But a seasons-worth of experience later, the Raiders feel equipped to make a run.

"I didn't see any girls that had given up when I went back to the locker room," Lyman head coach Cody Volmer recalled of last year's SoDak 16 loss. "They all had a mindset of were going to go get better and come back to try to accomplish something.

"That's something we've talked about since the beginning of this season was trying to compete for a state championship," he continued. "Now, can we do it? We're going to work our hardest and try to accomplish that."

To secure a top-eight overall seed, Lyman finished as the top seed in Region 6B, where the Raiders breezed past Ipswich and Potter County by a combined 68 points in the region tournament.

Lyman's resume includes a prior win over the Kougars, a 72-50 final on Jan. 9 in Kadoka. The Raiders also own a win over No. 9 seed James Valley Christian and White River, a top-12 team in the final Class B standings that was knocked off by Kadoka Area in the Region 7B semifinals. Both losses this season came to statewide postseason qualifiers — Class A No. 3 Flandreau and Class B No. 5 Wall.

The Raiders' lineup features four double-figure scorers, led by senior guard Skyler Volmer, a University of North Dakota signee, and sophomore forward Mak Scott. Junior forward Brooke Palmer and eighth-grade guard Jordyn Scott also play leading roles, as the quartet averages a combined 55 points per game.

Though multiple key members of the rotation are underclassmen, much of Lyman's core has played together for multiple seasons, adding to the Raiders' collective confidence entering the program's second all-time appearance in the SoDak 16 round.

"A lot of us have been on the roster and been playing together," Skyler Volmer said. "Playing varsity since we were that young, we have a lot of experience, and it's helped build good team chemistry."

Opposite, Kadoka Area is also making its second appearance in the SoDak 16 all-time, having fallen as the No. 16 seed in 2017-18. The Kougars are looking to end a state tournament drought that dates back to 2011.

Prior to the Kougars' upset of White River, they owned one win over a team with a record above .500, which came in the season opener at Little Wound. They do not have a victory over a SoDak 16 team in this year's field.

Cody Volmer feels Lyman's roster is talented enough to compete with any team in Class A or Class B. That sentiment is shared up and down the roster, as the Raiders are focused inward on what they need to do to get the program back to the state tournament for the second time since 1989.

"We've just got to play with confidence and composure," Mak Scott said. "With these bigger games, more people are going to be there, and we have to be comfortable."

"We're all very motivated," Skyler Volmer added. "Last year, losing to Viborg-Hurley was a heartbreaker. Playing together for so long, (a state tournament) has always been the goal, so this year is really big for us."