South Dakota Prep Media basketball polls for Jan. 22: Kernels claim No. 1 ranking in Class AA boys poll

Jan. 22—MITCHELL — For the first time in nearly 12 years, the Mitchell High School boys basketball team is No. 1 in the Class AA South Dakota Prep Media polls.

As the Kernels enter the back half of their regular-season slate with a 9-1 record, which also places them at No. 1 in the Class AA seed points standings, they do so with a ranking the program last earned on Jan. 31, 2012, during Gary Munsen's final season at the helm.

"I'm excited to let our guys know and help them understand that, for Mitchell, there's a bit of historical significance," said MHS head coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt. "With the good teams we've had, it's still been that long since Mitchell was No. 1, but this was the team to break that glass ceiling."

Mitchell, which had checked in at No. 2 in three straight polls dating back to Dec. 18, received 12 of 17 first-place votes this week to rise to the top spot. In their only action last week, the Kernels shrugged off a slow start to take down Sioux Falls Lincoln.

"It's cool for our guys because being ranked No. 1 was one of the goals they set," said MHS head coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt. "It doesn't mean a lot — it doesn't help you make the state tournament or win a game — but at the same time it does mean something. It means you're gaining respect, and people realize you're playing well.

"Our goal is to stay there the rest of the year, but it's January, and this is a long road," he added. "We just want to be No. 1 at the end of the year."

Making way at the top, Harrisburg (7-2) took its first in-state loss of the season on Jan. 16, a 53-48 final against new No. 2 Sioux Falls Roosevelt (8-2), which has won six straight following a 2-2 start. The Rough Riders received three first-place votes, while the Tigers retained a pair.

Rounding out the Class AA boys top five are No. 4 O'Gorman (6-4) and No. 5 Sioux Falls Washington (6-3). Huron got one vote in the poll, the lone vote to fall outside of the top five ranked programs.

The South Dakota Prep Media basketball polls for the week of Jan. 22, 2024, are listed below, ranking the top-five teams in each class. First-place votes are indicated in parentheses and teams are ranked by total points received.

1. Mitchell (12), 9-1, 79; 2. Sioux Falls Roosevelt (3), 8-2, 68; 3. Harrisburg (2), 7-2, 56; 4. O'Gorman, 6-4, 27; 5. Sioux Falls Washington, 6-3, 24.

Others receiving votes: Huron 1.

1. Sioux Falls Christian (17), 9-0, 85; 2. Hamlin, 9-2, 66; 3. Sioux Valley, 11-0, 44; 4. Dakota Valley, 9-1, 41; 5. Pine Ridge, 7-1, 17.

Others receiving votes: Hot Springs 1, St. Thomas More 1.

Down goes DV: For the first time since the 2021 state semifinals, Dakota Valley came out on the losing end of a contest, snapping a Class A record streak of 62 consecutive victories. The streak came up two shy of the all-time state record of 64 straight wins held by Armour (1977-80). In the wake of the Panthers' loss, Sioux Falls Christian (9-0) became the unanimous Class A boys No. 1, while Hamlin (9-2), the team that snapped DV's streak in emphatic fashion at the Hanson Classic, rising to No. 2. Dakota Valley (9-1) is now No. 4, sandwiched between No. 3 Sioux Valley (11-0) and No. 5 Pine Ridge (7-1).

1. Viborg-Hurley (7), 7-1, 72; 2. White River (5), 12-1, 59; 3. Castlewood (2), 10-1, 58; 4. De Smet (3), 9-2, 43; 5. Canistota, 8-0, 10.

Others receiving votes: Leola/Frederick Area 5, Wessington Springs 3, Faith 3, Dell Rapids St. Mary 2.

Cougars catapult to No. 1: An 18-point comeback victory over then-No. 1 Castlewood at the Hanson Classic sent Viborg-Hurley (7-1) flying up the Class B boys poll from No. 4 last week to a newly-minted No. 1 rank. The Cougars were one of four ranked teams to receive a first-place vote, getting seven while No. 2 White River (12-1) got five, No. 3 Castlewood (10-1) clung to two and No. 4 De Smet (9-2) garnered three but fell two spots in the poll. Canistota (8-0) joined the rankings at No. 5 for the first time this season, as Dell Rapids St. Mary fell out.

1. O'Gorman (17), 9-0, 85; 2. Mitchell, 9-0, 68; 3. Harrisburg, 6-3, 48; 4. Sioux Falls Jefferson, 9-3, 24; 5. Brandon Valley, 6-3, 16.

Others receiving votes: Aberdeen Central 5, Sioux Falls Washington 5, Pierre 2, Huron 2.

Mitchell makes a move: Another No. 4 that climbed up multiple spots in this week's rankings, the Mitchell girls toppled No. 3 Harrisburg to ascend to No. 2 in the Class AA girls poll. At 9-0, the Kernels are out to their best start in 20 years. Elsewhere in the poll, O'Gorman (9-0) maintained its status as the unanimous No. 1 for the fourth week running. Harrisburg (6-3) stayed at No. 3, while Sioux Falls Jefferson (9-3) fell to No. 4. Brandon Valley (6-3) joined the poll at No. 5, knocking out Aberdeen Central.

1. Sisseton (15), 10-0, 83; 2. Wagner, 9-1, 53; 3. Tea Area (2), 9-1, 52; 4. Flandreau, 9-0, 40; 5. Red Cloud, 11-0, 19.

Others receiving votes: Sioux Falls Christian 6, Florence/Henry 1, Aberdeen Roncalli 1.

Sisseton solidifies position: For the third straight week, the same five programs comprised the Class A girls top five, owning a combined 48-2 record between them. However, top-ranked Sisseton (10-0) strengthened its grip on the top spot, gathering 15 of 17 first-place votes to come in 30 points clear of No. 2 Wagner (9-1), which inched ahead of No. 3 Tea Area (9-1), the lone other team to receive first-place votes. Flandreau (9-0) and Red Cloud (11-0) held firm at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

1. Ethan (8), 11-1, 76; 2. Centerville (7), 9-1, 71; 3. Lyman (1), 10-0, 51; 4. Wall, 9-2, 33; 5. Harding County (1), 10-0, 12.

Others receiving votes: Arlington 11, Faith 1.

Ethan earns No. 1 spot: On an 11-game win streak following a season-opening defeat, Ethan has reached the top of the Class B girls rankings for the first time since the 2018-19 season. The Rustlers (11-1), who knocked Arlington from this week's top five with a victory in a rescheduled Hanson Classic contest, received eight first-place votes to edge out Centerville (9-1) with five. No. 3 Lyman (10-0) and No. 5 Harding County (10-0) each got one top vote, with No. 4 Wall (9-2) wedged in the middle.