Ridge vs. Winner: Region 7A Showdown(Z) at the National Guard Armory in Winner

Pictured from left to right: Winner’s Brady Fritz, Pine Ridge 8th-grader Shayla Bravo, Pine Ridge senior Halin Bad Bear and Winner freshman, Bella Swedlund all lace them up with Region 7A supremacy on the line…Photos courtesy of Kernit Grimshaw and Jerry Matthews.

By Rich Winter

This night has been looming on the calendar of a lot of South Dakota high-school basketball programs…

Tonight, Region 7A has a very interesting West vs. East feeling as two terrific basketball programs, Pine Ridge and Winner go head-to-head (Boys & Girls) in a double-header that everyone in Region 7A will be watching.

Laura Big Crow’s 9-3 Lady Thorpes vs. Larry Aaker’s 9-0 and No. 2 ranked Lady Warrio

Pine Ridge’s Taysha Big Crow and Winner’s Morgan Hammerbeck are two of the players to key on tonight
A week ago Pine Ridge was looking dangerous out west. But in this madly competitive world of high school basketball, the Thorpes hit a bump in the road.

Jan. 10 - L to Little Wound 78-67…

Jan. 12 - L to Dell Rapids, 76-44

In that loss to Dell Rapids, 8th-grader Shayla Bravo scored 22 in the Corn Palace…

Tuesday, Big Crow’s girls rallied with a 67-44 win @ St. Francis Indian. Duka Thompson has been the leader of this club all season, and after two tuff losses she responded with 19 @ St. Francis.

PR - Weston 7, Thompson 19, Langdeaux 7, Witt 5, Big Crow 14, Bravo 11, Richards 6. 

Winner’s top-4 scorers are flat-out legit.

Bella Swedlund 14.2, Gabriel Kocer 11.74, Keely Bertram 10.1, Morgan Hammerbeck 10

Winner’s only real test of the season was that 60-58 win over in Mission (Down by 4 with 16 seconds, Aaker’s crew found a way)…Maggie LeCompte - ICE

Some history here between these region HWT’s

Jan. 18, 2018 - Winner clobbered Pine Ridge, at Pine Ridge 72-58

Feb. 24, 2018 - Pine Ridge clobber Winner, in Pine ridge, 69-38….

And then…7-2 Winner hosts 7-2 and No. 5 ranked Pine Ridge…

Pine Ridge senior Corey Brown will tangle with Brandon Volmer, Shea Connot and a Winner crowd jazzed up to see if this team is for real.

Brett Gardner’s squad has two losses on the season…57-59 at Miller (early) and a 54-50 loss to Class B’s Timber Lake in Winner. In their last outing...the Road-Warriors dispatched a good Tri Valley squad 54-40…Keep in mind this squad is the only team to beat Sully Buttes so far this season.

Winner’s Big-Three, Joren Bruun, Brandon Volmer and Brady Fritz had been doing THEE heavy lifting.

Bruun 13.62 ppg, Fritz 13.44, Volmer 11.95

In that win over Tri-Valley, Shea Connot came off the bench…For the season he’s scoring at 8.43 ppg.

Couple things about Fritz and Connot that Pine Ridge folks might not know about…Fritz, a sophomore is one of the top sprinters/long jumpers in South Dakota. Connot was an all-state LB this year for Dan Aakers’ Winner football team.

The Thorpes coasted to two easy road wins after dropping a 68-65 decision to No. 4 Red Cloud.

W vs. Lower Brule 73-53

W vs. St. Francis Indian, 70-50.

Folks around the state suggest Pine Ridge is one of the best and deepest squads in all of Class A. Halin Bad Bear leads this group with 18 points per game….But Pine Ridge has so many weapons…Corey Crown, Scharles Schrader, Jesse Jensen, Corey Blacksmith, Joe O’Rourke and three-point specialist, Juwon Garnier…

And more…

Something Winner fans might not know about Pine Ridge…Picture below is Corey Brown who recently went over 1000 points….While he won’t get it tonight…He’s also closing in on 1000 rebounds…


Current Region 7A standings:

Red Cloud 44 .700 8-2

Pine Ridge 43.222 7-2

Little Wound 43.000 6-3

Winner 42.556 7-2

For folks not able to make the game…This event will be live streamed at …


Those games should start about 6 or 6:30 C.S.T.

Region 7Seed PointsW-LWinner44.6679-0Todd County44.1829-2Pine Ridge42.7509-3Red Cloud42.3646-5Little Wound42.0006-4St. Francis Indian39.1824-7Bennett County36.5001-9