A thrilling basketball season drew to a close last Tuesday night in the SoDak 16, when the Wessington Springs Spartans lost a hard-fought battle against an intense Canistota Hawks opponent at the Mitchell Corn Palace (43-34).
Throngs of hometown fans expressed their gratitude for an exciting season in person at the Corn Palace and through social media immediately after the game concluded.
“With everything going on today, you don’t see people coming together — but at these games, with these boys, you saw exactly that, you saw unity,” said Spartan Boys Basketball Head Coach Joey Mitchell. “More and more people started coming to the games even with Covid and everything else going on. I told them in the locker room before the game that the support they had behind them — they created that.”
Canistota (21-2) outlasted Wessington Springs (18-5) in a nail-biting SoDak 16 contest. With a 31-29 third quarter advantage, the Hawks managed to pull away and secure the win.
“We hung right in there the entire time,” said Mitchell. “We played great defense the entire time and were right there, had some good looks, post touches, layups. Maybe if we had a couple more free throws it might have been a different situation. The boys never really gave up. I’m definitely happy with what we did.”
For the Spartans, Mason Schelske had 14 points and 10 rebounds; Jacob Messmer had nine points and nine rebounds; Tyler Kole had five points and three assists; Cade Mohling had four points; Cooper Hainy had two points and two assists.
“They made this program a new program in a matter of two years. I said it would take five but they called me out. Now the standard is set,” Mitchell said. “I have big hopes for next year and we’re going to get in the gym this summer like last year. Failure kind of motivates you and they are a committed group.”
Moving on to the state tournament, the following Class B teams meet up next week, March 18-20 in Aberdeen at the Barnett Center.
No. 1 De Smet vs. No. 8 Lower Brule, noon
No. 2 Canistota vs. No. 7 Aberdeen Christian, 2:15 p.m.
No. 3 White River vs. No. 6 Dell Rapids St. Mary, 5 p.m.
No. 4 Viborg-Hurley vs. No. 5 Lyman, 7:45 p.m.