Ronda Nehl of Timber Lake made it to the tournament as a player for McIntosh, then served as an assistant coach on the squad, and now is watching her daughter, Makense, play for Timber Lake.
"As a player, you get that excited feeling and adrenaline is rushing," Nehl said. "Sitting here as a mom, you're so helpless. I've been here as a player, as a coach and as a mom, and I think the most exciting part is the mom part."
Playing as Ronda Makens, she was a member of the 1986 McIntosh team coached by current Aberdeen Central coach Dawn Seiler, that made it all the way to the championship game of the state tournament at the Aberdeen Civic Arena. That game will always be remembered for one thing.
"That night we were in the locker room preparing for the championship game," Nehl recalled, "and Dawn comes in and says, 'Guess what ladies? Somebody stole our uniforms.' So we had to borrow White River's uniforms for the championship game."
Nehl later served as an assistant under Seiler and still keeps tabs on how her teams are faring.
"We don't talk much anymore, but I keep track of her teams and have followed her through the years," Nehl said.
Not only that, but she still tries to impart the wisdom she learned from Seiler when it comes to dealing with her own children.
"I just try to teach them the same lessons," Nehl said, "not only about on the court, but off the court. She taught us so much about life in general."
Sports writer Dave Vilhauer
Finally at state
Pine Ridge’s Jolonna Sazue has been talked about for much of her career for the amount of points she has scored.
Not too many people in the state have gotten the chance to watch her play. That changed this weekend during the State A girls’ basketball tournament in Watertown.
Sazue and the Thorpes are competing at the tourney. The Thorpes advanced to the state basketball tournament last season, but Sazue was playing for Crow Creek. She transferred to Pine Ridge during the off-season and finally gets to showcase her talents in front of a statewide audience this weekend.
“It feels so good,” Sazue said about playing in the state tourney. “We had a good game (Thursday night) and we all worked together. Our freshmen came off the bench strong. It is really fun.”
After a slow start against Chamberlain on Thursday, the Thorpes pulled away in the second half and defeated the Cubs 55-34 to advance to the semifinals. Sazue, who has scored over 2,000 career points and once scored 54 points in a single game, started slow as well on Thursday. She was held scoreless in the first half and finished with 10 points for the balanced Thorpes.
“I always get the jitters,” Sazue said. “It kind of takes awhile for us to get rolling. We started out slow, but as long as we pick it up and keep going.”
Sports writer Ryan Deal