Sunday spotlight: Cook, Quick Bear, Pankratz and Geraets doing great things

From left to right: Lander Wyoming’s Peja Cook, Todd County senior Haylee Quick Bear, Freeman Academy/Marion’s Oddy Pankratz and Amanda and Weston Geraets from Dell Rapids St. Mary’s

By Rich Winter

As we head towards a new week I wanted to look back at some of the interesting Sacred Hoops things that stood out this week. Some amazing track and field performances from the eastern part of South Dakota that have Sacred Hoops connections. An expansion into Lander Wyoming as the Sacred Hoops West-River rosters expand their geographical reach, and a signing of a Lady Falcon that made a lotta people tear up…

Welcome to the party Peja Cook, Lander Wyoming:


Lander Wyoming sophomore, Peja Cook, pictured with his parents, Rosalee and Dana Cook will be playing this summer on Jordan Long’s West River 16-u squad.

Terrance Eastman

School: RC Central

Position: 6'1" GuardJack GreenSchool: STM

Position: 5'11" GuardRyan HohenbergerSchool: Faith

Position: 6'1" GuardMicah SwallowSchool: RC Central

Position: 5'11" GuardJulian SwallowSchool: RC Central

Position: 5'10" GuardAyden PrudichSchool: RC Central

Position: 6'4" ForwardKohl MeismanSchool: RC Central

Position: 5'11" GuardCaden WhippleSchool: White River

Position: 5'9 GuardPeja CookSchool: Lander WY

Just a little background here: Dana and Rosalee Cook used to live in Mission, South Dakota as Dana worked for the BIA Fire Department. Over the years, the Cooks have always maintained contact with people and especially the youth from the area as Dana Cook was famous for hauling kids around to tournaments.

Peja ran a 2:18 800 meters in a 4x800 relay carry yesterday and doubled back with a 2:19 in the afternoon open 800. Wasn’t feeling well, had a buddy that barely beat him…we’ll be seeing 2:10 in a second.

Cook is a terrific cross country runner and was a team member of the State Champion Lander Basketball Team.

  • Marie Five and Julianna Takes Horse from Hardin Montana will play with Sacred Hoops this summer.

  • DeNaira HiWalker from Wyoming Indian will play on Megan Mahoney’s West River 17-U squad (Believe Wyoming Indian Boys and girls both won 2A state in Wyoming this year)

Haylee Quick Bear signs with Bacone University: Moment of the Week!


Bacone College, formerly Bacone Indian University, is a private four-year liberal arts college in Muskogee, Oklahoma, United States. Founded in 1880 as the Indian University by Almon C. Bacone, Bacone College is the oldest continuously operated institution of higher education in Oklahoma.

I don’t know if folks from across South Dakota and within our Sacred Hoops family understand just what a big deal this signing is for the communities of St. Francis and Todd County on the Rosebud Indian Reservation.

Raven Cournoyer (Makes signing announcement Wednesday) and Kelsie Herman (2nd-team all-state) got a lot of attention this season for Bob Boyd’s 23-3 Lady Falcons. Todd County had great pieces all over the place but one of the key cogs in the rotation was Haylee Quick bear.

Listed at 5-feet-7, Quick Bear was the tallest Lady Falcon in the regular rotation. She often had the assignment of guarding the other teams tallest player. Often times Boyd unleashed Quick Bear on the other team’s best player. For the first time in her career, Quick Bear played down low and she muscled her way to 8.3 rebounds per game.

Haylee Quick Bear stats: 8 ppg, 8.3 ppg, 2.2 assists per game, 2.2 steals per game. She shot 45 percent from the field and 33 from beyond the arc.

Don’t let the EIGHT points per game fool ya! Quick Bear did a lot of dirty work for this team but she also showed herself more than capable on the offensive end with a 24-point (5-10 from deep), 6 rebound, 2 assist, 4 steals game in the 73-62 SoDak 16 win over Miller.

Reached out to Falcon girls coach Bob Boyd who has this to say about Quick Bear deciding to continue her education and athletic career at Bacone!

I am so proud of Haylee.

She's had multiple colleges recruiting her, but I think Bacone is the perfect place for her. The thing about Haylee is that she's getting better. She's improved so much in the two years in my program. Bacone is going to get a great kid, for one. She has a very positive and vibrant personality and she has great character. She's going to work hard and improve her game even more. I think Haylee needed self-confidence. When I first got her, she just wanted to fit in because she didn't know how good she could be. As this season went on, I wanted her to be a force offensively and on the boards and she responded. If Bacone works with her, her upside is even bigger. I wished I had two more years with her, because it's no telling how good of a ball player she can become. She is good at everything and her length is an asset.

Bacone is lucky to get such a great kid - TCHS coach Bob Boyd.

Some terrific young people on the Rosebud:

Haylee Quick Bear is from the tiny community of Spring Creek. One of most beautiful drives in the state takes you through the Timber Reserve, on the road through Grass Mountain and then to the little burg of Spring Creek…About 15 miles South west of St. Francis….Beautiful.

The thing I personally find so satisfying about this signing is there are now young people on the Rosebud Reservation looking up to these brilliant Role-Models that are showing you can come from anywhere and do great things….So excited for Haylee!

Oddy Pankratz is jumping out of this world:


One of my favorite things about working with Sacred Hoops is seeing some of the family connections out there….Gavin Pankratz returns this summer and the 6-foot-7 Bearcat is playing for Coach Bruening’s East River, 17-U squad.

Keep seeing Jennifer Pankratz posting track photos and videos of her daughter, Freeman Academy/Marion sophomore Oddy Pankratz tearing it up. Pankratz has long jumped 16’3” and high jumped 5-feet-1. Both are state qualifiers.

Here is some video I cobbled together:

Dell Rapid’s St. Mary’s senior Weston Geraets breaks triple jump standard: 40’4”


Joining Pankratz on Bruening’s 17-U Sacred Hoops squad will be Dell Rapid’s St. Mary’s junior Weston Geraets:

Logan Ellingson

School: Dell Rapids

Position: 6'3 SFTyler TappeSchool: Madison

Position: 6'7 PFGavin PankratzSchool: Marion

Position: 6'3 PFWeston GeraetsSchool: Dell Rapids St. Mary

Position: 6'2 SFKade StarrSchool: Platte

Position: 6'3" ForwardBradon BrueningSchool: Parkston

Position: 5'11 FNate SciezinskiSchool: Bon Homme

Position: 5'11 GNoah Van StademSchool: Sioux Falls Christian

Bennett County girls headed to Sacred Hoops practice: A lot of parents and athletes heading to various sites around South Dakota with the opportunity to get better. Molly Risse sent me this photo of her fired up crew heading to PRACTICE!

Have a great Sunday everyone!