Some tough, classy kids from Pine Ridge make it back-to-back Class A State tournaments.

At left, DJ Vitalis and Charles Schrader share a special moment holding that state qualifier plaque. At center the Pine Ridge bench, and crowd, are completely Engaged. At right, senior Joe O’Rourke has a million dollar smile on his face after the Thorpes defeated Bon Homme 71-44 in last night’s SoDak 16.

By Rich Winter

Wow, wanted to give a gigantic shout-out to Casey Means, the Pine Ridge Thorpes and the entire Thorpe family on such a tremendous year for these Pine Ridge boys. As it has been all season, tremendous balance of the Thorpes as Pine Ridge had four players score in double figures, with Charles Schrader leading the way with 16 points. Joe O'Rourke added 15, while Corey Brown added 14 and Jesse Jensen pitched in 10 points, nine rebounds in the 71-44 win over Bon Homme.

Really nice to see Jesse Jensen show up in the box score. This guy is a tremendous athlete, a big-time competitor and 10 and NINE and terrific defense, u bet!

Was reading the recap of the Pine Ridge and Bon Homme game recap in today’s Mitchell Daily Republic. Another guy that showed up big-time in the box score and rarely gets any love is Joe O’Rourke…Take a look at what coach Means said about his senior.

"Joe O'Rourke is one of the best defenders in the state, so we tried guarding (Slama) one-on-one, but he was getting into the paint," Pine Ridge head coach Casey Means said. "He knows how to use his body real good, so we put the double-team on him and tried to make someone else beat us."

And then, in addition to checking the South Dakota State University football recruit (MVP of the Class 9AA state champion Cavaliers) - Joey Slama, O’Rourke busted out a 15-point effort and made the Mitchell Daily Republic….So, Mr. O’Rourke’s smiles last night were well deserved.

Charles Schrader and DJ Vitalis:

Was really excited to see a photo of Schrader and Vitalis together. For one, the last time we saw Charles Schrader (in a SoDak 16) was that close loss to MVP, just missing a state tournament berth. An horrific leg injury the next year kept this guy away from the game that he so passionately loves…And so, getting past Bon Homme last night means the State of South Dakota will have the opportunity to watch Charles Schader play on the big stage. Last night it was 16 from Schrader that led the way…

Only a junior, this guy is going to explode in 2020.

DJ Vitalis:

Really proud of this young man…Several weeks ago, Vitalis briefly left the basketball team…A lot of people would have stayed away, but DJ is a competitor (Playing football at Minnesota West) and ultimately sucked it up and asked to be let back on the team. Really glad to see him in that picture as a state qualifier.

Corey Blacksmith - Much love to ur contributions

Jarren Crow - We saw that 25 point outburst at Todd County!

Thorpes representing at State Tournament


So excited the State of South Dakota gets to see the Thorpes up close and personal at the state Tournament.

Yes the announcers are going to struggle with the names but I hope South Dakota appreciates these Pine Ridge Thorpes.

At least four guys are going on to college to play sports. Tons of kids who pay attention to their academics and are tremendous role models to the youth in Pine Ridge

Good Luck Thorpe Family…C u SOON!


Shaniah Richard photography (courtesy)…That picture says it all…