Teams set for Sacred Hoops Winter Classics

On Jan. 4, 2020 Native and non Native teams will gather in Mitchell for the Sacred Hoops Classic

By Rich Winter

I teased Sacred Hoops Co-Director Allan Bertram the other day…Told him he had to stop organizing these amazing events that are ‘forcing’ me to drive to South Dakota on a fairly regular basis.

He laughed….

But, we have some big news this morning as the teams for the Jan. 4 Sacred Hoops Classic, to be played at the Mitchell Corn Palace have been finalized. A late addition on the girls side was the announcement the Vermillion Tanagers will make an appearance.

The Jan. 4 Classic will pit Native American teams against Non-Native teams in and event that is the first of its kind in the history of South Dakota basketball.

"We are bringing programs from the reservation and looking to pair them up against teams and programs from outside of the reservation,” Sacred Hoops Director Allan Bertram told the Mitchell Daily Republic recently. “To try to bring not just the level of understanding culturally, but more importantly to try to break some stereotypes and hopefully building some relationships between those programs.”

The classic will pit teams -- Native American and non-Native American -- from across the state that normally wouldn’t play each during the regular season. Bertram envisions it bridging the gap between schools from different cultural backgrounds, while also aiding with scheduling in the future.

“It’s almost impossible if you are from Pine Ridge and Red Cloud to get a Madison or a Lennox or somebody over east to come out and play you at your location,” Bertram said. “A lot of the coaches and AD’s at those places that I talked to, they struggle scheduling-wise because they can’t get teams to go play them.”

While the teams have been announced, the matchups will depend on the first month of the high-school basketball season as organizers hope to pit teams of similar ability against each other.

Boys Teams: Pine Ridge, Red Cloud, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Winner, Dell St. Mary, Madison, West Central, Kimball-White Lake.

Girls Teams: Pine Ridge, Red Cloud, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Kimball-White Lake, Madison, West Central, Vermillion

26 teams confirmed for (Crow Creek/Lower Brule) Sacred Hoops Classic

Like we did last year, in early February, teams from multiple states will be attending the Sacred Hoops winter Classic. That event has 26 teams, 13 games of boys and girls basketball, all going down in one day.