Faces in the crowd: Gus Gray and Jordan Derby catch the attention of the Sacred Hoops Sports Blog

Standing on the Red Cloud sideline during the Red Cloud @ Lower Brule game ten days ago, I heard the most unusual phrase uttered by one of the Red Cloud players. Riyen Carlow had just thrown a touchdown pass to Jayshaun Morrisette and as Morrisette headed to the sideline, #76 Gus Gray yelled….”That was EXQUISITE.” He repeated the phrase one more time…

So, I’ve stood on a lot of high-school football sidelines and can’t come close to remembering anyone using a word such as exquisite….Of course I had to ask..

“How did you pick up such a great vocabulary,” I asked.

“Comic Books,” Mr. Gray replied.

He rattled off a few more ‘BIG’ words and then used the word serendipity in a sentence.

“Spell It,” I challenged.


Turns out Gray wasn’t playing much football on that day, but, the sophomore loves comic books and one day hopes to use that passion for a career writing comic books.

Very Excited to see athletic progress from Jordan Derby. This young lady has been part of our Sacred Hoops program for the last two seasons. Last year she played on Kellan Herman’s All-Native 16-U squad. Wanted to show folks a highlight block from Derby during Tuesday’s 4-set win over Todd County. The Lady Crusaders started the season 0-6 but on Tuesday they got their first win.

Derby had multiple big-time blocks and was a real presence in the front row. While she wasn’t crushing the ball, ‘yet’ with kills she showed some improved mobility and some nice, soft hands around the net. Best part was seeing her come to the bench with an upbeat trot to her gait, welcomed in by teammates who are seeing some improvement.


Free-4-All Friday: Scrappy Kadoka girls undefeated in prep volleyball


The 2019 Kadoka Volleyball team photo: (Photo courtesy of Carrie Ann Photography)

By Rich Winter

Caught a bit of last night’s Kadoka @ Wall volleyball match and Barry Hutchinson’s squad ran into their first test of the season. Straight set wins over Philip and Little Wound set the table, but last night, Wall took the first set 23-25.

Hutchinson’s squad rallied and won the next three sets - (25-14) (25-22) (25-19)

Kadoka is one of the girls’ schools that I’ll be following this season. Girls have been close to state tournaments in volleyball and basketball the last few seasons….And they have a great core of seniors leading the way.

Augusta McMillin 5'6 OH 12

Lavin Bendt 5'9 MH 12

Eve Patterson 5'5 S 12

Kaylee O'daniel 5'8 OH 12

Kaycee O'daniel 5'4 L 12

Lotta uperclassmen on this roster:

Jade Hutchinson 5'6 OH 11

Sammi Stout 5'4 S 11 1

Abbi Roghair 5'6 OH 11

And a couple of BIG sophomores Becck Shuck (5-foot-10) and Lanie Blair (6-footer)

Girls play in the Philip tournament on Saturday. Next week some real challenges with New Underwood and Faith.

Sacred Hoops player Lavin Bendt part of some very successful teams in Kadkota

Speaking of scrappy: Good luck to coach Chad Eisenbraun as the 2-1 Kougars travel to Presho to face Lyman.


Caught some of the Kadoka (9B) vs. Jones County/White River (9AA) game two weeks ago. JC/WR is undefeated and plays two classes above the Kougars and Kadoka gave them everything they wanted, losing 34-26.

Squad is young but has a terrific running-back trio of Gavin Sudbeck (JR), Reeec Ohrtman (FR- 5-foot-10, 190 lbs) and Hudson Johnson (JR)

Believe that game will be webcast at: http://lymanraiderslive.com/index.php?page=football-game&id=7341

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…

Langford's Ady Dwight is one to watch in 2019/2020

By Rich Winter

In scrolling through Facebook land this week came across the stat-box (picture on the right) on Miller volleyball coach Linda DeBoer’s timeline. So, over the weekend, 50 of the top volleyball prospects in South Dakota showed up for a future-50 CAMP

Each member of the SoDak #Future50 camp was tested on their volleyball skills and given a composite rating.

Of the top-5 players graded, three of them were from Class AA.

Miller’s Kadye Fernholz, (Class A) who is attracting Division 1 offers all over the place was the No. 3 ranked player according to the test…

And, Langford senior, 6-foot middle-hitter Ady Dwight received the 2nd-highest grading of EVERYONE at the Future 50 camp. Look at the stats from this young lady who was a first-team all-stater last year

992 kills, 430 blocks, 142 aces - DANG!

Looking forward to keeping an eye on this young lady and her Langford squad this season. The Lions did not make the state tournament a year ago…That might be changing in 2019/2020

What a time to be part of the Kimball/White Lake WiLdKats Programs...

By Rich Winter

Wow, this week has sorta just flown by…Looked up a moment ago and noticed the 9A game has already started….Yep, it is that time…

Wow, what a week for Kimball/White Lake, well, what a fall actually.

Was reminded this week that Stephanie McCord’s girls cross country team was 5th at the Class B state meet just a few weeks ago!


So it was a pleasure to visit with football coach Dale Taylor last week and hear a little bit more about that SQUAD over there…and then they go out and knock off undefeated Garretson to reach the dome..That game with Bon Homme is gonna be fun….and TUFF…

Can’t wait to see the stable of backs get after it today, BUT, I gotta check out what road-grader Bo Donald does on both sides of the ball….6-foot-7 300 lbs….terror in the 9B trenches.


Wanted to give a special shout out to Sarah Deffenbaugh’s volleyball team that just punched their ticket to the Class B state tournament with a gut-wrenching 5-set Round-of-16 win over Kadoka.

We at Sacred Hoops are excited for the Kimball-White Lake Girls as we were able to get to know them well through all the work we do with them in our weekly summer basketball workouts. They are a great group who have such an outstanding work ethic. They are a perfect example of Good Things happening for Those who Work Hard - Allan Bertram


Wagner tops LOADED field at SESD tournament

By Rich Winter

Well, here we are creeping in on the end of the regular season for volleyball. After the Wagner Red Raiders won the SESD tournament this weekend, one thing is clear: U DO NOT WANT TO SEE Amy Tyler’s RED RAIDERS in the post-season.

All season long Wagner has been LURKING in SE South Dakota and while they’ve beaten all comers except No. 1 Class B31-2 Northwestern (TWICE), 22-7 Parker and a 5-set loss on Tuesday, Oct. 16 to Class A No. 3 Winner (25-17) (20-25) (15-25) (25-14) (10-15). For those keeping track at home, Wagner has won 14-of-15.

At the SESD tournament, Wagner broke some TUFF long winning streaks of Burke and Winner.

Vs. Burke - (19-25) (22-25) -Ended Burke’s 17-match winning streak

Vs. Winner - (17-25) (25-27) - Ended Winner’s 13-match winning streak

Volleyball EXPERT, Betsy Watzel covered the SESD tourney and had this to say about Wagner.

As of Monday, and assuming the top 16-teams make it to the Round-of-16 here are those projected matchups.

No. 1 Miller vs. No. 16 CEB

No. 2 McCook/Central/Montrose vs. Hamlin

No. 3 Sioux Falls Christian vs. Madison

No. 4 STM vs. Pine Ridge

No. 5 Winner vs. Beresford

No. 6 Wagner vs. Dell Rapids

No. 7 Elk Point/Jefferson vs. Hill City

No. 8 Aberdeen Roncalli vs. Groton.

Indahl’s Burke squad has been playing very well for OVER A MONTH


Boy, you look up and there is Burke again, 25-6.

Lost a tough 5-setter to Winner early in the year and then dropped 4-of-5 at the Arlington tourney….Beat Elkton/Lake Benton

Lost to Duebrook

Lost in 3-sets to Faulkton

Lost in 3-sets to No. 2 Warner

Lost in 3-sets to Arlington

And then, the Cougars rattled off 17 consecutive wins.

At the SESD tourney, Indahl’s squad lost to Wagner (19-25) (22-25) but beat Winner (16-25) (25-20) (25-22)

Here are the projected Round-of-16 matchups if the seeds hold into that round.

No. 1 Northwestern vs. No. 16 Timber Lake

No. 2 Warner vs. No. 15 Sully Buttes

No. 3 Faith vs. No. 15 Bridgewater/Emery

No. 4 Chester vs. No. 13 Canistota

No. 5 Kadoka vs. No. 12 Kimball/White Lake

No. 6 Ethan vs. No. 11 Duebrook

No. 7 Faulkton Area vs. No. 10 Burke

No. 8 Philip Area vs. No. 9 Arlington

Winner Area having a magnificent season at 23-3….Close with Platte-Geddes, will have no trouble advancing to the Round-of-16 and then we’ll check the matchup


Here is the Watzel interview in its entirety.

Faith, Philip and Kadoka are having MONSTER 9B VB seasons out west

By Rich Winter

As we get ready for the stretch run of the regular seasons of volleyball, wanted to give a little love to three Class B schools: Faith, Philip and Kadoka that are having tremendous volleyball seasons out west.

Mandy Lemmel’s Faith Longhorns are 21-1 on the season and ranked No. 5 in Class B

Barry Hutchinson’s Cougars are 20-3 on the season, Ranked #7 and

Ella Smith’s Scotties are 16-4 and ranked No. 9

Class B

  1. Northwestern (18)                25-2   90    1

  2. Warner                                 25-2   72    2

  3. Chester Area                        17-5   49    3

  4. Ethan                                   20-4   32    4

  5. Faith                                    22-1   14    5

Also Receiving Votes: Arlington (18-5) 7; Kadoka Area (20-3) 2; Burke (20-5) 2; Philip (14-3) 1

At any rate, rankings mean nothing, power points mean everything and the last few games of the regular season are important

The Class B Sweet-16 if all seeds held:

No. 1 Northwestern 25-2 vs. No. 16 Lemmon, 13-7

No. 2 Warner 26-2 vs. No. 15 Sully Buttes, 16-7

No. 3 Kadoka 20-3 vs. No. 14 Bridgewater/Emery 12-6 (Faith and Kadoka are tied in seeding points….both have (45.522))

No. 4 Faith 22-1 vs. No. 13, Kimball/ White Lake. 14-7

No. 5 Chester 18-5 vs. No. 12 Canistota, 19-4

No. 6 Arlington 19-5 vs. No. 11 Deubrook Area, 15-9

No. 7 Ethan 21-4 vs. No. 10. Burke (Indahl’s Bulldogs have won 16 straight)

No. 8 Faulkton 19-5 vs. No. 9 Philip.

Kadoka: These ladies have been knocking on the state tournament door for a while now. Some very good volleyball and basketball teams in Kadoka last year and a a senior driven core of Anna Stone, Kaylee Eisenbraun, Alyssa Cibitak and Savannah Solon.

Barry Hutchinson’s crew is 13-1 in their last fourteen….Only loss to Burke, in Kimball on Sep. 22


(Nor sure who to courtesy this photo to, it was taken from Kaylee Eisenbraun’s Facebook Page.

The Philip Scotties are always good in volleyball

Was looking for a team photo for the Philip girls this morning so I asked Mama Law…She provided the photo and also offered some thoughts on Kadoka and Philip.

“I've seen Philip and Kadoka play. Both have great athletes and seem to be well coached. Cylver Lurz with Philip is especially fun to watch.”


Philip took a tournament game from 23-5 St. Thomas More, dropped a TUFF, 4-setter to Faith, in Philip and most recently a 5-set gut wrencher to New Underwood.

Still, six games on the regular season including heading east for an event in Wolsey. A rematch with New Underwood on Oct. 22 in New Underwood concludes the regular season.

And then there are those pesky Lady Longhorns from Faith:

Faith qualified for both the Class B volleyball and basketball state tournaments in 2017/2018 so those athletes are used to the big stage and should be tough as nails down the stretch of the regular season.

Faith lost their only match of the year on Oct. 6 to a very good Faulkton team in the finals of the Potter County tournament.

Matches of note:

Sep. 13, beat Kadoka, in Faith (25-12) (16-25) (25-20) (25-13)

Oct. 4, beat Philip in PHILIP - (25-17) (24-26) (25-23) (25-18)

Four seniors on the roster: Jayden Shoemaker, Brooklyn Hanson, Mikenzy Miller and Shianna Price have all played on the big stage…Don’t expect this club to lose in their final four regular seasons game.

Bucket list No. 42 - Grab a wrap at Keffeler Kreations in Faith…


Good luck to all Class B volleyball teams headed down the stretch.

Canistota's Hannah Parry is Sacred Hoops' Athlete of the WEEK

By Rich Winter

Tuesday night in Menno, Region 5B leading Canistota (17-4) took on (6-10) Menno. It was supposed to be a walk in the park for the Hawks, but sometimes stats and records don’t matter and the big-time underdog, MENNO, handled Canistota in the first two sets: (18-25) (20-25).

Not exactly sure what coach Becky Smith said to the Hawks, but in game three Canistota won easily: (25-12).

Game 4: Canistota 25-12

Game 5: Canistota 15-12

At Sacred Hoops we love teams that never quit. Love teams that never look at the scoreboard and think can’t. For Canistota, 5-foot-8 junior setter, Hannah Parry never quit. Parry finished the night with 32 assists, 14 digs and four aces and directed Smith’s offense to perfection.

Canistota has won 8-of-9 with the lone loss coming at Burke

It is with those intangibles in mind that Canistota’s Hannah Parry is this week’s Sacred Hoops Athletes of the Week. Each Wednesday, Sacred Hoops will be naming a South Dakota athlete of the week. That athletes will receive some Sacred Hoops ‘Gear’ for their efforts.

Parry in action earlier this season against Colome:

Parry also plays basketball for James Strang’s Hawks. She will be part of a winter effort to improve on an 8-14 record from one year ago.