At right, De Smet’s Kristen Poppen, sporting two knee braces will be going for a Class B state championship….For Ethan, Karley Gustafson closes a brilliant prep career and aims for her first state championship when her Rustlers tangle with De Smet.
By Rich Winter
A terrific matchup tonight for the South Dakota Class B girls state championships as 23-1 De Smet tangles with 24-0 Ethan. The South Dakota state basketball championship are always such a special part of spring (cough-cough) in our state. These greatest of tourneys also breaks out some terrific stories about the amazing youth that make up the sport of basketball.
Kristin Poppen 6-foot senior De Smet:
In last night’s 64-62 semifinal win over Corsica-Stickney, Poppen led her team with 22 points and had to wait out the final seconds of that thrilling victory for the BullDogs as she fouled out with just six seconds remaining.
While De Smet has been dang good for the last few years, it is amazing that Poppen is even on the court!
In last season’s SoDak 16 game, De Smet lost 47-44 to eventual champion Castlewood. Poppen didn’t play that game as she tore an ACL just before the 2018 SoDak 16. So, after spending all spring and summer, then fall rehabbing, on the second day of practice this season, Poppen tore her other ACL.
Not sure what to do, Poppen weighed her options, rehabbed her knee, put it all on the line and now she finds herself in a state championship game.
On Monday, per Abi Seymour Van Regenmorther Poppen will find herself in an operating room to repair the badly torn ACL she’s playing through…THAT’s INCREDIBLE.
On the other side of this thing, don’t expect Tom Young and the Ethan Rustlers to feel any kind of sympathy for Poppen, and or De Smet. Karley Gustafson, the 6-foot forward that is as dominant a player as you will find in any Class for South Dakota will be looking for a SHIP.
Through all of the Gustafson accomplishment, a state title has never been in the cards during her high 9-12 seasons…she did win a state title in 2015 as an 8th-grader.
2016 Freshman season: Ethan lost to Sully Buttes in the Ship, finishing 2nd.
2017 sophomore season: Ethan lost to Sully Buttes in the semis, finished 3rd
2018 junior season: Ethan lost to Hanson in the semis, finished 4th…
You can see that game on SDPB: http://www.sdpb.org/basketball/2018-2019/girlsb/