South Dakota Prep Media basketball polls for Jan. 8: Unbeaten Mitchell girls spring to No. 4 in Class AA

Jan. 8—MITCHELL — After a three-week hiatus, the South Dakota Prep Media basketball polls return for the first time in 2024.

With top teams competing in holiday classics and conference play across the state, several head-to-head results fueled fluctuations in the rankings since its last release on Dec. 18.

Across the three classifications on the boys and girls side, there were three changes in the No. 1 rankings, and five new additions to the poll.

The South Dakota Prep Media basketball polls for the week of Jan. 8 are listed below, ranking the top-five teams in each class, record, total points and previous ranking. First-place votes received are indicated in parentheses.

1. Harrisburg (16), 6-1, 80; 2. Mitchell, 7-1, 60; 3. Sioux Falls Roosevelt, 5-2, 50; 4. Watertown, 5-2, 24; 5. O'Gorman, 4-3, 10.

Others receiving votes: Sioux Falls Lincoln 8, Sioux Falls Washington 5, Brandon Valley 2, Sioux Falls Jefferson 1.

Tigers solidify themselves: Harrisburg emerged victorious in last week's overtime tilt with No. 2 Mitchell at the Corn Place to cement itself as the unanimous top team in Class AA. The win capped off a successful winter break for the Tigers, who also won at LeMars (Iowa), and lost on a last-second shot to Tennessee power Cordova at the Hoop City Classic. While Mitchell and No. 3 Roosevelt stayed put in the rankings, Watertown lunged into the poll at No. 4 after defeating O'Gorman 72-67 at home. Lincoln dropped out following a loss at Pierre.

1. Sioux Falls Christian (15), 6-0, 79; 2. Dakota Valley (1), 7-0, 55; 3. Hamlin, 5-2, 53; 4. Sioux Valley, 8-0, 32; 5. St. Thomas More, 7-1, 9.

Others receiving votes: Pine Ridge 6, Rapid City Christian 5, Hot Springs 1.

Dakota Valley's streak continues: Dakota Valley's dominance reached another milestone last Saturday, when the Panthers defeated Sergeant Bluff-Luton (Iowa) to earn their 60th straight win. The back-to-back state champions have not lost a game since March of 2021, when they fell to Sioux Valley in the Class A state semifinals. However, Sioux Falls Christian remains at No. 1 in Class A after wins over DeLaSalle (Minn.) and No. 3 Hamlin. Entering the rankings at No. 5 is St. Thomas More, which defeated Class AA No. 4 Watertown by 20 points at home Dec. 21. Exiting the rankings is Pine Ridge after falling to Hot Springs last Saturday.

1. Castlewood (13), 6-0, 76; 2. De Smet (1), 7-1, 45; 3. White River (1), 8-1, 37; 4. Viborg-Hurley, 5-1, 26; 5. Dell Rapids St. Mary, 6-1, 25.

Others receiving votes: Canistota (1) 17, Faith 12, Leola-Frederick Area 2.

New king of the castle: Slip-ups from De Smet and Viborg-Hurley shook up the ordering of Class B's top-four teams. The Bulldogs dropped down to No. 2 after falling to Dell Rapids St. Mary by four points on Dec. 18, while the Cougars lost to Elk Point-Jefferson by two on Dec. 19 to fall to No. 4. Meanwhile, undefeated Castlewood emerged as the No. 1 team after wins over Flandreau, Madison and Deuel, and White River handled business to move to No. 3. DRSM's big win over De Smet gave it the nod for the fifth spot.

1. O'Gorman (16), 6-0, 80; 2. Sioux Falls Jefferson, 7-1, 50; 3. Harrisburg, 4-2, 49; 4. Mitchell, 7-0, 31; 5. Aberdeen Central, 7-1, 17,

Others receiving votes: Washington 12, Pierre 1.

Kernels crack the top-5: An unbeaten start has Mitchell ranked for the first time this season, at No. 4. The Christmas break boded well for the Kernels, who played at the Corn Palace throughout, sweeping a pair of Wyoming schools at the Hoop City Classic, then defeating Yankton by 10 points last Friday. Ascending to No. 2 is Jefferson, which beat previously ranked Washington by 17 points in the Presidents Bowl on Dec. 29. Aberdeen Central remained at No. 5 despite losing to Washington by 21 points last Thursday.

1. Sisseton (11), 8-0, 73; 2. Tea Area (5), 8-0, 59; 3. Wagner, 6-1, 46; 4. Flandreau, 6-0, 38; 5. Red Cloud, 7-0, 12.

Others receiving votes: Vermillion 6, Sioux Falls Christian 4, Aberdeen Roncalli 2.

Still several unbeatens: A trove of undefeated teams remain in Class A, with four of the top five still perfect. The deviant is Wagner, which fell to Ethan on Dec. 21 to slip out of the top spot. In turn, Sisseton and Tea Area moved up to No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, with each building early-season resumes worthy of the top spot. The Redmen notched wins over Sioux Valley and Aberdeen Roncalli during the holiday season, while the Titans beat Vermillion by nine points on the road on Jan. 2. Red Cloud, which has won each of its games by double-digits, moved up to No. 5, while the Tanagers dropped out.

1. Centerville (11), 8-0, 74; 2. Ethan (3), 8-1, 53; 3. Lyman (2), 5-0, 52; 4. Wall, 7-2, 34; 5. Arlington, 7-1, 26.

Others receiving votes: Warner 1.

Rustlers rise: Ethan's head-turning 63-49 road win over Wagner pushed it from the No. 4 to No. 2 team in Class B. Since losing to Hanson in the season opener, the Rustlers have been dominant, holding each of their opponents below 50 points. Commandeering the No. 1 spot is Centerville, which pounced on previously No. 1 Wall for a 77-47 win in the Parkston Classic on Dec. 29. Undefeated Lyman fell from No. 2 to No. 3, while Arlington won three games over the break to stay No. 5.