The classic is designed to pit Native American schools against non-Native American schools, with an emphasis in aid in scheduling and bridging the gap between teams from different cultural backgrounds. It’s also aimed at scheduling East River vs. West River teams against each other.
The nine-game event features boys and girls basketball teams and it starts at 9 a.m. and continues until 9 p.m. Here’s the complete schedule: Parkston vs. Kimball/White Lake (boys), 9 a.m.; Lower Brule vs. Freeman Academy/Marion (boys), 10:30 a.m.; Lower Brule vs. Kimball/White Lake (girls), noon; Madison vs. Custer (girls), 1:30 p.m.; Lakota Tech vs. Madison (boys), 3 p.m.; West Central vs. Custer (boys), 4:30 p.m.; West Central vs. White River (girls), 6 p.m.; Winner vs. Lennox (boys), 7:30 p.m.; Dell Rapids St. Mary vs. White River (boys), 9 p.m.
Here’s are three storylines to watch today:
All eyes will be on a pair of high-scoring guards when Dell Rapids St. Mary and No. 5 White River meet at 9 p.m. in the nightcap. Dell Rapids St. Mary is powered by all-state guard Connor Libis, who has more than 2,000 career points. The future Briar Cliff University guard is averaging 16.7 points per game this season.
Sam Palmer, Max Herber and Ashaun Roach-Valandra have also picked up the scoring load this season.
On the other side of the court, White River 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Joe Sayler is averaging 28 points per game. The South Dakota State University commit dazzled the Corn Palace with 38 points on Wednesday in a 77-75 loss against Howard at the Corn Palace Classic.
Colbe Scott added 18 points and four 3-pointers in the defeat. Dylan Marshall is averaging 18 points per game.
Two top-five teams — Class A No. 2 West Central and Class B No. 4 White River — will lock horns at 6 p.m. White River (4-0) is powered by all-state guard and multi-sport standout Caelyn Valandra-Prue. The future University of South Dakota track and field runner is closing in on 2,000 career points and has a 31-point outing on her résumé this season.
West Central (4-0) snapped Winner’s 49-game winning streak on Dec. 18. The Trojans also have wins over Huron (88-81, in overtime), Watertown (53-30) and Mount Vernon/Plankinton (57-45). University of Sioux Falls commit Cassidy Siemonsma paces the Trojans.
Winner all-state guard Brady Fritz has continued his torrid scoring pace from last season. Fritz, a 1,000-point scorer, was a second-team all-state selection as a junior. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 27.6 points and 6.8 rebounds last year.
Fritz, who helped Winner earn the Class 11B state championship in the fall, is averaging 20.5 points per game early this season. He’s logged games of 24 and 27 points this year, while he had multiple 30-point games a season ago. Fritz poured in 39 points against Stanley County late last season. Fritz and the Warriors (3-1) play Lennox (1-2) at 7:30 p.m.