Get ready Aberdeen, a sea of Orange (Jones County) ready to RUMBLE at State B tournament

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All photos taken by Barb Hockenbary

By Rich Winter

One of the really great feel-good stories in Class B boys basketball has been the resurgence of the Jones County Coyotes. Neil Krogman’s squad sailed through the regular season at 16-2 with the only losses coming to White River (first game of the season) and Colome. A 71-31 win over Wall and a 59-43 win over Lower Brule propelled the Coyotes into the SoDak 16. And then, with their first state tournament appearance on the line the Coyotes went out and took it to Corsica-Stickney, earning a 63-45 win and kicking the door down on a 30-year drought of going to the state tournament.

Wow, those Jones County teams in the 80’s were certainly special. In 1984, Del Brost, Zane Huffman (Big guy, red-head, can’t remember his name) came out of a RUGGED, 3-rivers conference, slipping by Lyman County and into the state tournament. The last time the guys went was 1989…

As u can well imagine, the town of Murdo, and surrounding areas has been waiting for this moment and cherishing every step of the way. Packed gyms all season long and a community and team spirit the Coyotes haven’t felt in a while.

There is a whole lotta love from the community for these Jones County Coyotes…(maybe 2 much…JK)

So, just kinda following Barb Hockenbary’s recent social media posts, and I gotta comment, how could the Coyotes not be loose after watching and hearing the ‘Mom’s Skit’ put on during the pep-rally before the game…

Check some of these out…

The skits looked hilarious…but that’s the thing about high school basketball…When a team is winning and going to state it makes everyone in town stand just a little taller, and sometimes causes grown men to do things they would never consider doing. And that’s freaking awesome…

While all the community support has been special, Krogman has done a superb job melding these guys into a Class B contender…..You look at the state tournament bracket and Jones County is the No. 4 seed…The No. 4 OVERALL seed in a loaded B tournament is impressive.

All season long, this has been a big, balanced team that is fundamentally sound, rebounds the heck out of the basketball and hits the long ball regularly enough (34 percent as a team) that the opposition has to pay attention to the deep threats.

Box score from SoDak 16 game with Corsica-Stickney.

Jones County (19-2): Riley Rankin 3-5 1-2 9, Austin Olson 3-6 1-2 8, Wyatt Olson 3-6 1-2 8, Morgan Feddersen 3-8 2-2 8, Alec Whitney 8-13 4-8 22, Kade Brost 3-7 0-0 8, Jake Dowling 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-45 9-18 63.

Whitney had the big game (22) against C/S and he’s been the team’s leading scorer at 15.3 ppg. Right behind him is Austin Olson at 14.9 ppg. Six-foot-5 senior, Morgan Fedderson chips in with 10.1 ppg…The big three combine for 21 rebounds per game. Olson, 6-foot-3 has become a terrific distributor of the ball, leading the team with 5.4 dimes per contest.

Sophomore Wyatt Olson is steady and solid: 7 ppg, 4.3 rpg

Senior Kade Brost: 5.9 ppg but second on the team in 3-pointers made with 26 made, 3-pointers

Junior Riley Rankin: 5.9 ppg and does a little bit of everything for the Coyotes.

This squad is not just good, they are really good…Late in the year an impressive, 57-49 win over an 18-3 Sully Buttes squad (Plays Lemmon tonight with the winner heading to the state B’s.)

So now, with next week’s state tournament schedule, I can only imaging that some really proud folks from a small town in South Dakota are going to venture out and cheer on their BOYS…as they take on DeSmet (No. 5 seed)

Congrats to Jones County, Murdo and all the people that had a hand in these boys finding their way to the big dance…It has been quite a ride!