McCook Central/Montrose looks like a LEGIT Class A contender

Madisen Koepsell, Jacy Pulse and Abigail Van Ruler have the Fighting Cougars of McCook Central/Montrose off to a 10-0 start as one of the top teams in Class A girls basketball.

By Rich Winter

From the outside looking in, one would have expected Doug Durfee’s McCook Central/Montrose Fighting Cougars to be down this season. MCM had to replace two 6-foot post players in Natalie Gottlob and the Mitchell Daily Republic Player of the Year, 6-foot-3 center Morgan Koepsell.

And yet, mid February, we look at the Region 5A standings and there are Durfee’s Fighting Cougars sitting alone, unscathed on the season heading into a crucial road-game @ Flandreau this Friday.

Region 5A Current Standings:

McCook Central/Montrose 46.100 10-0

Mt. Vernon/Plankinton 43.125 6-2

Parker 41.500 4-4

Parkston 41.500 4-4

Wagner 40.125 3-5

Bon Homme 38.125 1-7

Platte-Geddes 37.750 1-7

How do you replace a 6-foot-3 presence in the middle that is now wreaking havoc at Black Hills State and still be ultra-competitive?

Work, bloodlines, PROGRAM and zone defense.

Sacred Hoops Directors Bertram, Long and Willard made a few stops in Salem this summer and they knew a storm was coming….

“They are rolling. Younger Koepsell is having a monster year. Pulce is a solid guard and the other 6'3" girl, Abigail Van Ruler in the middle wreaks havoc on defense,” Allan Bertram said Monday afternoon.

Sophomore Madisen Koepsell, a 6-footer is averaging 16.3 ppg and 11 rebounds per outing.

Junior Jacy Pulse, more known for her exploits in track (state champ in two different events) is averaging 13 per game….

And the 6-foot-3 girl, Van Ruler, a junior is averaging 10.7 ppg and 9 boards per contest.

All that scoring and rebounding is nice but it is Durfee’s zone defense that is perplexing MCM opponents.

Pulse and McKenna Kranz Man the top of that zone and so far this season, defense has been the calling card for the Fighting Cougars.

Couple of close games against quality opponents Dell Rapids and Beresford…

MCM beat Dell Rapids 56-53

MCM Beat 6-2 Dell Rapids, 59-49

As January hit though, MCM is staring to roll.

Beat Hanson 60-42

Beat Sioux Valley 65-34

Beat Chester Area 68-41

Beat Baltic last night, 64-26.

Thus far, the South Dakota media isn’t buying into MCM

Class A rankings:

1. Lennox (21) 10-1 117 1

2. Winner (3) 9-0 98 2

3. Vermillion 7-1 34 4

4. Belle Fourche 10-0 32 RV

5. St. Thomas More 7-3 25 3

Receiving votes: Hamlin 20, McCook Central/Montrose 19, West Central 14, Miller 1.

Big, big test for Durfee’s squad on Friday as MCM travels to Flandreau for a non-region game against the 7-3 Fliers….Flandreau is 7-3 but has won five-of-six with the only loss coming to Nebraska power Crofton, 48-35 at Saturday’s Hanson Classic.