By Rich Winter
Coming into last weekend’s Dakota Oyate Challenge, Brian LaRoche’s Lower Brule squad was struggling. After playing Pine Ridge to a near draw, L 66-63 on Jan. 5 the Sioux beat Sunshine Bible Academy (3-10), lost to Fergus Minnesota, 68-31 and lost badly to St. Francis Indian in St. Francis, 71-49.
Injuries and other, and a schedule that features 13, Class A teams left the Lady Sioux at 5-5 heading into the DOC. Three wins in three days (Takini, Tiospa Zina and 57-31 over Flandreau Indian) have the Lady Sioux sitting at 8-5 with a bounce in their step heading into the heart of the schedule.
“The girls that we do have left are where I need them to be at this time of the season. We have a lot of tough games coming up and just hope it helps us prepare for the post season,” Brian LaRoche, Lower Brule coach said. “Our schedule has 13 class A teams on it so I tell my girls not to let our record and our region seeding get them down so they all know and they’re not worried about it which is good. They’re worried about getting better as a team and preparing for the post season play. “
In the 60-38 win over Tiospa Zina in the DOC semis, Arianna Traversie led all scorers with 24 points while Maleighya Estes recorded 12 and sharp-shooting, outside threat Molly Jandreau had 11.
The 57-31 win over a 6-5 Flandreau Indian squad came a bit easier that LaRoche expected thanks to a stifling defense and a well balanced scoring attack. Estes had 14, Traversie 13, Jandreau 9 and Bariah LaRoche 8.
“I was hoping for a good game vs FIS, but our defense has really picked up and that goes for our players coming off the bench too. Our reserve players got a lot of playing time in DOC which will also help us in the long run,” LaRoche said.
With the championship in hand the DOC honors came fast and furious for the Lady Sioux.
Molly Jandreau was awarded Miss Defense, Maleighya Estes & Bariah LaRoche were awarded All Tourney and Maleighya won the free throw contest. Arianna Traversie was awarded MVP.
“I’m proud of every player on the team, everyone played up to their potential and they all played their part,” LaRoche said.
As noted earlier some tough games coming up for Lower Brule…
Feb. 1 - Hosting Flandreau Indian
Feb. 4 vs. Miller, AT Miller.
Feb. 7 host White River in Lower Brule.
Current Region 7B standings:
New Underwood - 44.0003 13-2
White River 43.26711, 11-4
Wall 43.07711, 11-2
Kadoka Area 42.80011, 11-4
Lower Brule 42.3088, 8-5
Philip 40.6926, 6-7