By Kristan Krogman
The White River Tigers have returned from the 2014 State B Boys Basketball Tournament, this year placing 7th in a field comprised of strong contenders from top to bottom. 2014 marked the Tigers ninth straight trip to the State Tournament and here we take a look at how that stacks up historically.
There are two teams that clearly outdistance the competition when it comes to consecutive State Tournament appearances.
Number one is Mitchell who put together an amazing run that spanned thirty years, 1983-2012. They qualified for the State A/AA (South Dakota went to a three class system in 1987) Tournament for nineteen straight years before missing the 2002 Tourney. They returned to State in 2003 and again every year after until 2013 when they did not qualify. Their thirty year run saw them qualifying for 29 of 30 State Tourneys.
Sioux Falls Washington is number two. They qualified for 14 of 15 State A Tournaments from 1940-1965, missing only in 1950.
Other schools with double digit runs, also both currently class AA schools, are Aberdeen (1952-’61 and 1987-’96) and Yankton (1928-’38).
Mitchell had a run of eight straight trips to the State Tourney in the 1920s, while SF Washington has a pair of runs spanning seven Tournaments (1920s, ‘40s) and string of eight in the ‘80s.
Schools with runs of six or greater and not already mentioned include: Brookings (6), Castlewood (6, 1998-’03, 2 titles during the run), Custer (6), Elkton (6, 1915-’20, 3 state titles), Huron (8, 9), Lead (6), Pine Ridge (6), Rapid City Central (6, 8, 8), Sturgis (7), Sully Buttes (8, 2005-’12, 1 state title), Watertown (6), and White River (9).
With the trip to this year’s State B, White River surpassed the class B record of eight, previously held by Sully Buttes, and now stands alone with the most consecutive trips to the State B Tourney. Sully Buttes won one state title in their run. White River, the only with an active streak from the list, has attained four titles during their run.
Among those listed earlier with Tournament appearance runs of six or more, Elkton (now Elkton-Lake Benton) and Castlewood are the only other teams, besides White River and Sully Buttes, currently listed in the Class B ranks.
Other notables looking back at Class B Tournaments of the past are Northwestern (Mellette) who went to five straight Tournaments from 1986-1992 (two state titles) and Viborg-Hurley who were Runners-Up in three straight Tourneys (2011-’13).
(Tournament appearance information was compiled and listed in the 2014 State Tournament Program.)