Throwback Thursday: Has there been a better multi-sport athlete in South Dakota than Chad Greenway

By Rich Winter

I think most sports fans in South Dakota know the prowess of former Vikings Linebacker Chad Greenway. A standout at Iowa and a ten year career in the NFL are proof that Greenway may be one of the best athletes to ever come out of South Dakota.

While Greenway has been inducted into a number of South Dakota Hall of Fames, did ya know he’s also in the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

This man was a load on the low blocks for Mt. Vernon…(Check out some of the stats for the 6-foot-4 forward.

  • Career points scored 1,450

  • Seniors year: 26 points, 11 rebounds - Named to Class B all-state team for the second time.

  • Junior year: 23 points, 13 rebounds per game.

  • Sophomore - 20 points per game.

Can you imagine the number of recruiting letters and phone calls that came to the Greenway house?

As a Mount Vernon High School senior Greenway was heavily recruited by college coaches who coveted his wide-ranging talents on the basketball court.

Known for his strength, speed and agility, Greenway was an adept perimeter shooter and a proven low-post scorer.
The athletic ability that helped Greenway excel in basketball was clearly evident during track season.

Every year I scour the state track meet program, and every year, Greenway’s name pops up next to the Class B state meet record int he triple jump.

47’1.5” - Can you imagine a future NFL linebacker rumbling down the runway and then hop, skip and jump his way farther than any Class B kid, EVER?

The athletic ability that helped Greenway excel in basketball was clearly evident during track season. He was a championship-level hurdler and set the State Class B Meet record of 47-1½ in the triple jump.

Oh yeah, Greenway played high-school football as well.

  • Greenway was a quarterback and safety who led the Stickney/Mount Vernon Knights to back-to-back Class 9AA state football championships during the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

  • He was an all-stater three years and the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior for Coach Myron Steffen.

  • The challenge of major-college football appealed to Greenway. So he turned down a number of basketball offers and accepted a scholarship from Coach Kirk Ferentz and the University of Iowa. With the Hawkeyes he was moved to linebacker and was an important part of teams that went 38-12 over four seasons. Greenway was all-Big Ten Conference three years and earned All-America recognition twice.

  • After being an Iowa captain during his senior season in 2005, he entered the NFL Draft and was selected 17th overall in the first round by Minnesota.

  • What followed was an illustrious 11-year career with the Vikings in which Greenway established himself as an unquestioned team leader. He ranks fourth in franchise history with 1,334 total tackles.

And, the man is respected for his civic involvement as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.

  • He was named the Vikings’ Community Man of the Year multiple times.

  • And in 2015 he was the Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year. A

  • After the 2016 season Greenway retired from the Vikings. In 2017 he was presented the Big Ten Conference Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award.

  • Greenway now spends time working with his charitable Lead the Way Foundation and as a speaker. His foundation has raised more than $2 million and assisted those in need in the Twin Cities area through a variety of outreach programs. He and his wife Jennifer live in Wayzata, Minn. Children are Maddyn, Beckett, Blakely and Carsyn.

Throwback Thursday: Remember when Sheldon St. John and the Crow Creek Chieftains played for a state title in 1982

By Rich Winter

State tournament appearances aren’t all that common in the community of Crow Creek. Not a ton of banners hanging in the rafters, but this morning, we look back a the FIRST-EVER boys state tournament BANNER, from all the way back in 1982.

Borrowing from Jesse Cole St. John Sr. this morning who shared a bit of the story of the “Original” High-Flyer, Sheldon St. John.

As many of you are aware, Crow Creek is a basketball town. 

Growing up here it was a priority to play basketball. U always hear names of players in the past as I would go from place to place from other natives from different reservations throughout my life. 
“Oh your from Crow Creek, I remember Butch Kirkie. I remember George Howe. I remember Gid Saul. I remember Joe Sazue Jr.” they would say. Just to name a few. 

For me, one name was always brought up because of my last name. My uncle Sheldon St John. A legend in his own right. He helped bring home our first ever State Banner. “Man could he fly” people would always tell me...

R.I.P to the Crow Creek legend Sheldon St John. Chieftains baby 🔴⚫️⚪️

In 1982, in their first-ever state tournament appearance, Crow Creek made it all the way to the SHIP. A tremendous run from the Chieftains ended with a 62-47 loss to eventual champion, Webster.

Dear Class of 2023, Welcome to an OPPORTUNITY of a LIFETIME

By Rich Winter

Wow, feels like you could feel a collective exhale from South Dakota as a bunch of kids just went back to school. Saw a few glum kids faces out there but that’s expected. We at Sacred Hoops wanted to take time to wish all of our STUDENT/Athletes success in the classroom.

For the incoming freshman in South Dakota class-rooms welcome to the next phase of your life. High school if fun, its a great time of life and it is also a proving ground for how successful you might be at the next level. If you are a freshman, we’d really like you to get down to business early and work on those grades.

Like to encourage this freshman class to make academics as strong a love and passion as you have for whatever sport is your favorite.

Sacred Hoops Co-Director Allan Bertram checked in on the subject


It is so important for students to get a good solid start to their academic studies in their 9th grade year.

So many students fall behind an entire grade level after their first school year due to attendance, failing to turn in school work, etc.

It is all about Effort and Attitude - Get To Class, Participate, and most importantly turn in your school work - If you do those things - You will be guaranteed to pass your classes

Don’t be afraid to ask questions


If you don’t understand something, raise your hand and ask a question…

As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that a lot of us learn differently. And that’s OK!

But, that also means that sometimes, some of us, need things explained in a way that makes-sense-to-us…

Asking for something to be explained is the brave and right choice in a classroom…Take heart that we can guarantee there is another young person in the class with the same question.

We realize that a lot of young athletes across South Dakota have collegiate dreams. That’s awesome, Dream Big, but while your Dreaming BIG make sure you academic achievements and contributions to your community are something a college wants to add to their family.

A respected coach’s perspective - Division 11 Ladies coach:

“I watch the game first, look at the brochure, then eliminate the kids that have less than a 3.0 because, usually, even the girl who has a 3.0 is including A’s in gym class.  A team’s brochures inflate grades sometimes.  For those reasons, I like to see 3.5 and higher,”  she asserted.

Grades – a link to athletic opportunities

Here’s what we know:  the higher a high school athlete’s GPA and test scores, the more college doors that will open.  And the more doors that open, the more opportunities there can potentially be for the athlete.

Our coach friend said, “We mix athletic with academic money, along with need-based dollars, grants, and loans to come up with financial packages for our recruits.  The better their core GPA and test scores, the more academic money we can throw their way,” she said.  “Our school is expensive, so while we try to reduce the amount families pay, the best way athletes can impact that is to maximize their grades and test scores,” she added.

South Dakota Coaches: A call for all South Dakota coaches to become members of the South Dakota High School Coaches Association

By Rich Winter

Each year, particularly during basketball post-season awards announcements, a lot of people are frustrated when a kid, their kid, or a kid that kicked ass didn’t make an all-state team. We’ve written about this before, but kinda feels like west river is under-represented with coaches that can vote for these awards. The biggest reason isn’t east river snubbing the west, it is that not all coaches are members of the South Dakota High School Coaches Association, and thus, are not able to vote.

Ok, so how does one/coach get registered…

First thing is whether you are a basketball, volleyball, track, cross-country, wrestling, cheer coach, other, you MUST first become a member of the South Dakota High School Coaches Association

Directions on how to get registered…online

Once you have clicked on the site home page, click on the link just below the logo…


Once into the registration area, you must create an account…

Spoke with SDHSCA Executive Secretary this morning…”The cost of registration is $50 bucks”

(Often times, schools will pay that for their coaches that are getting registered)



In addition to registering as a member of the SDHSCA, coaches must also register for the specific sport they are coaching….(Example…basketball coaches must also become members of the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association, same with all other sports - The cost of becoming a member of the Basketball Coaches Association is $20…)

Here are the 33 benefits to coaches becoming a member of the South Dakota High School Coaches Association…

  1. Select a Coach of the Year in all sports of boys’ athletics

  1. Select a Coach of the Year in all sports of girls’ athletics

  2. Select an Athletic Director of the Year

  3. Select an Assistant C.O.T.Y. in both boys’ and girls’ sports

  4. Select a C.O.T.Y. in Middle School/Junior High sports

  5. Provide Coach of the Year rings to all coaches and Athletic Directors being honored

  6. Select and honor a Sports Official of the Year

  7. Select a Distinguished Service Award recipient(s).

  8. Select the Bryan Brewer Spirit of Influence Award

  9. Select All Tourney basketball teams in boys’ and girls’ state tournaments

  10. Give awards to the top 25 cross country runners in all classes

  11. Select Outstanding Wrestlers in state tournaments

  12. Select Outstanding Football players in state playoffs

  13. Select Outstanding Track & Field boys' and girls' in state meets

  14. Select Outstanding Gymnasts in state tournaments

  15. Select Outstanding Volleyball, Golf and Tennis players in state meets

  16. 25 Year Coaches Award

  17. Award $1000 SDHSCA Scholarships

  18. Award a $1000 scholarship to a student trainer/manager.

  19. Contribute to South Dakota Special Olympics

  20. Hold an annual Awards Banquet

  21. Provide a free coaches clinic each summer

  22. Provide grants for coaches to attend national conferences

  23. Members of the SDHSCA are given the opportunity to nominate and to vote for all awards

  24. Membership in the SDHSCA entitles members to hold membership in the National High School Athletic Coaches Association

  25. Membership in the NHSACA entitles our Coaches of the Year to be nominated for district and national honors

  26. Provides free electronic copy of Coach & AD magazine

  27. SDHSCA membership cards admit members to most college athletic events

  28. Established the SDHSCA Hall of Fame displayed at Frost Arena at SDSU

  29. Provide rings for Hall of Fame inductees

  30. State is divided into regions, giving representation on the Board of Directors to all sports and areas

  31. Provide $2,000,000/$1,000,000 liability insurance as a benefit

  32. $5,000 Accidental Death Insurance Policy

Would like to see every coach in South Dakota registered for this. So many benefits including things like recognizing Distinguished Service Awards to Educators and coaches across South Dakota.

Let’s get this done…

Sunday Spotlight: A town threatening fire in 1939 spurned the name Hill City RANGERS

By Rich Winter

I always find it interesting how schools come up with their nicknames…Like, how in the heck did Monroe give themselves the nickname, “Wooden Shoed Canaries.’

A fella by the name of Brian Decker (cross-country contributor to the Sacred Hoops Sports Blog) shared some information about how the Hill City athletic programs became the Rangers!!


About noon on July 10, 1939, one of the worst forest fires in the history of the Black Hills started ten miles northwest of Hill City.

By the next morning it had burned six miles, jumped the Mystic Road, the C.B.& Q . Railway and was headed directly for Hill City.

The fire was within three miles of town at noon when the wind changed and carried it further North and East.

The weather was hot and very dry plus a high wind repeatedly "crowned" the fire. Fire fighting was very dangerous. All of the C.C.C. boys in the area were immediately put on the fire and forest rangers called for more help.


One of the first crews to respond was a group of 25 school boys from Hill City.

The crew included the entire basketball squad, one eighth grader, and several boys who had recently attended or graduated.

Their foreman was Charles Hare, President of the Board of Education.

The inferno continued throughout the second and into the third day.

Over four thousand firefighters labored to bring it under control. The crews became isolated and consequently many of the brave workers did not get food and water for a number of hours. Heat, smoke, and the danger of being trapped hampered the firefighters, but the blaze was brought under control the third day.

The people of Hill City had spent many anxious hours watching the smoke and direction of the fire. Many had packed their belongings and were ready to move, but the order to abandon the town was never given.
The school boys from Hill City were at the fire every day. They were later recognized by U.S. Forest Service officials as one of the best crews.

The name "Rangers" was given to them in honor of their good record. Because of the work of these school boys back in 1939, Hill City Schools became the ONLY school district in the United States to have the privilege of using "Smokey Bear" as its mascot.

The school colors are Green and Gold which also represent the National Forest Service Theme, and Hill City is the ONLY school with the honorable privilege of having their graduation ceremonies held at Mt. Rushmore. The staff, students and teams representing Hill City Schools hope to continue the traditions of the splendid group of men that our boys so ably assisted, The United States Forest Rangers.

(Information furnished from a print article written by Bob Burden and also taken from the 1940 "Rangers," the first yearbook published at Hill City Schools.)

Sacred Hoops Fall League: Testimonials from athletes that used the 2018 fall league as a springboard to success

By Rich Winter

Sacred Hoops launched the first of its kind, Fall League in 2018 with nearly 200 athletes across the state participating in the events. With the 2nd-annual Fall League set to start in September, here are some thoughts from athletes that sharpened their skills and got better just before the season started.

As was the case in 2018, Sacred Hoops will be hosting fall leagues in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Rapid City.

Alejandro Rama - Red Cloud (SDSM&T)


The fall leagues I personally thought were great. Being able to walk into a basketball gym full of the best players in the surrounding areas is something special. Participating in the fall league isn’t only surrounding you with other people that WANT to be there and WANT to get better but it also is a tool that you can use to sharpen every aspect of your game before the high school season starts.

Not only worth the money but also worth the time.

Bella Swedlund - Winner


I think it was really good for me to get some real live game action before heading into the high school season. You know like shooting and workouts are great and all but playing games here and there really can make a big difference, especially for me.

I would definitely do it over and over again bc it was a great experience and honestly told me like I need to work on this and that before the season starts or I need to shoot better here or get into better shape.

I really enjoy playing against kids in Sioux falls or east of the river bc it is a different style of playing then what you will see on our high school schedule.

But hey, I love the competition and different cultures because it makes it that much more fun and competitive!

Max Reede - Aberdeen Roncalli


Fall league kept me motivated!

Some of that fall workout stuff you tend to get a little tired of…the league helped me stay motivated and in that in-game kind of shape..

There were a lot of regional kids that played in the fall league…Some I hadn’t seen before and some I ended up playing against during the season. There were some kids I knew that got a lot better during the fall.

Jordan Heckert - Rapid City Central


This junior point-guard from Rapid City Central had a great summer and is looking forward to the Fall League to sharpen her skills before the season starts.

“The competition was really tough,” Heckert said. “Every week that I went I was pushed beyond what I expected.”

“It was interesting to play against some girls that I knew, but also, to see new and different competition,” Heckert said. “As a point-guard, I felt like the league sharpened my ball-handling and got my in-game mentality sharp before our regular season ever got started.”

Sam Palmer - Dell Rapid’s St. Mary’s


I chose to patriciate in 5 on 5 League last year to play against bigger and better competition to give me skills for the school season.

The league showed me the intensity I needed to be able to compete at the varsity level, as only one of a handful of Sophomores last year who got to play with the Juniors and Seniors, I realized the difference between JV and Varsity intensity.

The drill work the coaches put us trough every week before play was helpful in developing more skills to help with the fall as well. This year I will use 5 on 5 to improve my defensive intensity, improve my shot selection, and to get back into game mentality and physicality after spending two months in a cast this summer.

Trent Brokisieck - Brookings


It was really good...I felt the skill work playing 5-on-5 was helpful. We got up and down the court which helped me get in game shape and having live refs was huge.

The pre-game workouts helped with ball handling and getting fundamentals down.

There were so many good players in the Sioux Falls league last season and going up against college talented kids helped me get ready for the season.

The 2019 Fall-League starts in late September and runs through October. For More information, message us on the Sacred Hoops Facebook Page….More information about sign-up opportunities and Fall League dates will be coming out soon.

One to Watch: Harding County's Zack Anders is a multi-sport terror

Harding County WR, Zack Anders was a first-team all-state 9B football player a year ago…In basketball, he wasn’t an all stater but he averaged 20 points per game.

By Rich Winter

One of the games I’ll be watching via Livestream on Aug. 23 will be that of the Harding County Ranchers taking on the Wall Eagles, in Wall. For years, Harding County and Wall have been thee football powers out west in 9B football. But, Wall has moved up to 9A, and that Aug. 23 game will be a real litmus test for what both teams will be bringing to the table.

On that night, expect Harding County senior (WR) Zack Anders to get as many touches as he can handle.

Check out the numbers this young man had last season on his way to a 9B first-team All-State football selection.

Wide receiver: Zack Anders, Jr., Harding County (5-10, 155)

Anders set a school record with 60 receptions last season, gaining 970 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also had 73 carries for 359 yards and seven touchdowns.

"Zack was our go-to guy all season," Harding County coach Jay Wamman said. "We moved him all over the place. He had over 2,000 all purpose yards this year. He's not the biggest wide receiver but he is definitely one of the toughest players I have ever coached. He has cat-like quickness and always seems to gain separation and get open because of his great route running skills."

Mostly Region 4B teams on the schedule this season, but the Ranchers do have an out of region game at 9AA school Hill City on Sep. 20.

Okay, so when football season ends, look out for the Ranchers who finished last season with a 12-9 record.


Harding County lost ZERO seniors to graduation and they have some studs coming back for a potential run to the state tournament.

  • Zack Anders - 19.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 5.1 assists per game (DANG) and 2.5 steals per game.

  • Camden Hett - 17.7 ppg and 7.6 rpg.

  • Royal Elk Eagle - 10 ppg, 4 assists per game.

    Those are some healthy returners for a SQUAD that will be looking to do big things this season.