Aberdeen Central head coach Dawn Seiler and her staff appreciate the Golden Eagles' efforts both on and off the court.
This edition of the Central girls' basketball team at the 2012 State AA tourney in Brookings this weekend contains good students. The team also won an award from the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce for its community work.
"They've done everything we've asked them to do," said Seiler. "They're a good bunch of kids. They are an extremely smart bunch of kids. This is a group that excels at everything. It's not just on the basketball floor. They are good students and very involved in community kinds of things. I'm very proud of them."
Sports writer Deb Smith
State B parallels
Between them, they have set the standard for Class B girls' basketball in South Dakota for the past decade.
When Summit and Sully Buttes participate in the state tournament in Huron this weekend, the two schools will add to already impressive resumes.
Summit is making its seventh straight state tourney appearance, while Sully Buttes is playing in the event for the seventh time in the last nine years. The two have divided four of the last five state championships and finished runner-up in the other one. They both have defensive-minded coaches who are among the most respected in the state in Mark Amdahl at Summit and Mark Senfter at Sully Buttes.
"I have the utmost respect for Mark Senftner and learned a lot from him being at state tournaments when he was winning them," Amdahl said. "He's been a good mentor."
Senftner pointed out that he and Amdahl are cut from the same cloth.
"I'm a good friend with Mark," Senftner said. "I know that he stresses defense and I certainly do."
The two teams used to play each other at classics during the regular season, but have not done so recently. Both coaches would like to see a resumption of their series in the future.
"Anytime you play one of Mark's teams, it's going to be a battle," Senftner said. "It's like a postseason game almost."
The two teams did hook up in a postseason game that turned out to be one for the ages.
It occurred during the semifinals of the 2008 state tournament in Huron in a game that Sully Buttes eventually won on its way to the state championship.
"That goes down as one of the best," Senftner recalled of the contest. "They were undefeated. They just wouldn't quit."
Among the players on the floor that night included Alexis Yackley, Elizabeth Lamb and Kylee Lamb of Sully Buttes, and Becky Christofferson, Brittany Hills and Alex Kneeland of Summit, all six of whom went on to play college basketball or volleyball.
"I say that was a star-studded event," Amdahl said. "It basically came down to the other coach had a little more experience than I did and got his team a victory that night."
Interestingly enough, Amdahl said that contest, which he once called, "The most intense game I've coached in," helped Summit to reach the heights that it has.
"It did take losing a couple of times to kind of right the ship," Amdahl said of the learning process. "That's basically how we found out how to do it was (because of) Sully Buttes."