Here is the first installment of the American Family Insurance ALL-USA South Dakota high school basketball players of the week.
The format with which we present the players of the week will probably be tinkered with as we move along, but the plan is to post each week’s selections on Wednesday.
Have someone you think should be nominated or know of a player who passed a major career milestone? Let us know! You can do so via Twitter (@Brian_Haenchen) or email (email@example.com)!
Athlete of the Week will make its glorious return Friday and we’ll have coverage of this weekend’s Pentagon Classic over the coming days, as well.
In the meantime, here is the first batch of players of the week.
PRESEASON | WK. 1
Jack Aesoph, Faulkton
Aesoph finished a steal shy of the triple-double Tuesday night against Sunshine Bible Academy. The 6-foot senior posted 17 points, 14 rebounds, nine steals and seven assists. He knocked down seven of 12 shots from the field.
Matt Cartwright, O’Gorman
Cartwright racked up a team-high 20 points on seven of 12 shooting in the Knights’ come-from-behind victory over Brandon Valley on Tuesday. He also had a steal for O’Gorman, which forced 10 Brandon Valley turnovers.
Ethan Freidel, Tea
Freidel has 54 points through two games. His performance Saturday against George-Little Rock was especially impressive. The senior guard knocked down eight of 16 3-pointers as part of a 30-point performance.
Shay Gibson, Garretson
Gibson used just three 3-pointers to put up 30 points Monday night in a 72-62 loss to Canton.
Jarett Jenson, Harding County
After dropping their opener to Lead Deadwood, the Ranchers bounced back with a 79-56 rout of Tiospaye Topa. Jenson led Harding County’s attack, pouring in 36 points and 17 rebounds.
Drew Jurgens, Brandon Valley
After managing just six points on an 0-for-6 shooting performance in Friday’s opener against Harrisburg, Jurgens dropped 12 points and 13 rebounds against Huron. He continued that upward trajectory against O’Gorman, logging a game-high 23 points, nine of which came in the first quarter.
Dylan Bakkedahl (Flandreau) poured in 20 points in an 80-73 win over Chester. That game also saw Devin Eppard (Chester) score a game-high 25 points. Eppard collected six steals in Tuesday’s 87-19 win over Howard. Austin Eppard (Chester) led all scorers with 24 points in that game… Jharett Bloomenrader (Highmore-Harrold) led his team with 25 points and 15 rebounds against Jones County… Jamus Brown (Oldham-Ramona/Rutland) did his damage on the defensive end against Freeman Academy, picking up six steals. He posted 11 points in a 59-40 win over Dell Rapids St. Mary… In his team’s opener against De Smet, Byron Bumann (Lake Preston) scored 18 points and added 10 rebounds… Against Sunshine Bible Academy on Tuesday (W, 66-35), Taylor Cramer (Faulkton) scored 15 points on one end of the floor and posted seven of her team’s 21 steals on the other… Dante Fischer (Mobridge-Pollock) scored 27 points to help the Tigers squeak past Britton-Hecla on Saturday… After opening the year with an 18-point, nine-assist, five-steal effort against Dakota Valley, Noah Freidel (Tea) picked up 27 points and 10 rebounds against George-Little Rock (Iowa) on Saturday… Seth Friesz (Chamberlain) reached the 1,000-point mark for his career in impressive fashion. He collected 22 points and 10 rebounds against Sully Buttes in the opener to move within striking distance, then passed the milestone with a 26-point effort against Gregory on Monday… Spencer Grage (Brandon Valley) led all scorers with 20 points in a 57-48 win over Harrisburg… Aaron Koupal (Elk Point-Jefferson) picked up the double-double against Madison on Dec. 10, logging 16 points, 10 rebounds… Dylan LeBrun (Flandreau) led his team with 23 points, helping Flandreau claim its season-opener against Chester last Friday. He breached the 20-point mark again Tuesday, posting an even in a win over Ellkton-Lake Benton… Mason Leighton (Madison) came up big defensively in the Bulldogs’ opener against Elk Point-Jefferson last Saturday, coming up with eight steals. He also had 15 points… AJ Pitzulweit (Vermillion) scored 23 points in a come-from-behind win over Lennox on Tuesday… Jacob Prouty (Clark-Willow Lake) had 28 points with four triples against Sioux Valley (L, 74-63) on Saturday… Johnny Roe (Hamlin) capped off a 20-point effort against Flandreau Indian on Monday with the game-winning putback bucket at the buzzer. He also pulled in 12 rebounds… Tayton Vincent (Sioux Valley) got the double-double, but he finished a block away from stuffing the statsheet against Clark-Willow Lake. He had 23 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and a pair of steals… Donnie Weber (Hanson) put together a nice performance against Ethan, logging 19 points, five blocks and six assists… Bennett White (Wolsey-Wessington) knocked down 10 field goals as part of a 25-point, 10-rebound, five-steal, five-assist effort.
Anna Brecht, Lincoln
Brecht nearly single-handedly out-scored Marshall over the weekend. The 6-foot senior scored a game-high 29 points, leading the Patriots to a 64-33 season-opening win. She hit eight of 16 shots from the field and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. Brecht also pulled in eight rebounds.
Michaela Jewett, Brookings
The outcome didn’t go her team’s way, but Jewett had herself a game in Brookings’ 72-67 loss to Pierre on Friday. The sophomore forward hit 12 of 23 field goals (3 of 5 from long range) and 6 of 10 free throws to end the night with a game-high 33 points. Just for good measure, she pulled in 10 rebounds to secure the double-double.
Karlee McKinney, Tea
As far as we can tell, McKinney’s 36-point effort against Parkston on Friday was the highest point total of the young season. Even if it’s not, it’s still super impressive.
Madysen Vlastuin, Lennox
Vlastuin is off to a strong start in 2016-17. Through three games she has 58 points, highlighted by a 21-point effort against Sioux Falls Christian on Friday. She picked up the double-double against West Central on Tuesday, scoring 19 points and adding 13 rebounds
Ady Dwight, Langford
Dwight played a crucial role in Langford’s one-point win over Edmunds Central on Saturday. She knocked down 11 field goals en route to a 28-point performance, and added 15 rebounds.
Kassidy Walth, Alcester-Hudson
Walth drilled a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left to force overtime against Dell Rapids St. Mary, then helped the Cubs secure the 43-38 win in the extra period. She ended the night with 20 points, nine rebounds and five steals.
Katlyn Briggs (Mt. Vernon/Plankinton) poured in 25 points and 10 rebounds in a 39-31 win over Chamberlain… Paiton Burckhard (Aberdeen Central) stuffed the statsheet in Tuesday’s 54-35 win over Mitchell, tallying 22 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal… Shaylee Debeer (Deubrook) led all scorers with 25 points Tuesday night against Deuel, leading her side to a 64-46 win… 15 of Carly Granium’s (Sioux Valley) first 24 points were on 3-pointers. She tacked on a couple more, ending the night with seven 3-pointers… Jessi Giles (Madison) scored 23 points and added a pair of steals to lift the Bulldogs over Tri-Valley on Tuesday… Morgan Koepsell (McCook Central/Montrose) did it all in MCM’s 20-point win over Dell Rapids. She knocked in eight of 13 shots for 21 points and pulled in 11 rebounds, 10 of which came on the defensive end. Koepsell also blocked a pair of shots… Trinity Law (Brandon Valley) led all scorers with 21 points to help the Lynx hold off Harrisburg in overtime Friday night… With ice running through her veins, Kalli Ortman (Canistota) stepped up to the line and drained a pair of free throws with zero seconds remaining to cap a 20-point performance and clinch a 44-43 win over Colman-Egan on Tuesday… Bailey Rudebusch (Howard) nearly had herself a triple-double against Chester on Tuesday, collecting 15 points, 11 rebounds and six steals… A South Dakota State commit, Myah Selland (Sanborn Central/Woonsocket) scored 22 points against Sunshine Bible Academy… Carlie Shatswell (Elk-Point Jefferson) led all scorers with 24 points, but Elsie Aslesen (Elk-Point Jefferson) posted the double-double in EPJ’s 68-30 rout of Canton on Friday, notching 20 points and 15 rebounds… Three triples and six layups added up to a 22-point game for Abbey Strait (Castlewood) against Elkton-Lake Benton… As the Chargers’ offense struggled to knock down shots against Lennox, Emily Strasser (Sioux Falls Christian) proved to be something of a bright spot on the defensive end, coming up with five steals… All five of Hanna VanDerWerff’s (Rapid City Stevens) field goals against Washington on Friday came from behind the arc. She added 11 free throws on 12 attempts to finish the night with a game-high 26 points… Racquel Wientjes (Sully Buttes) did most of her damage on 2-point buckets against Timber Lake, hitting eight of them as part of a 21-point showing… Lindsey Wilken (Sunshine Bible Academy) collected 17 points and six steals in a 38-31 loss to Faulkton on Tuesday.
Follow Brian Haenchen on Twitter at @Brian_Haenchen .