The Aberdeen Central girls basketball team put together a truly historic season in 2015-16, capturing their first state championship by denying powerful Washington its bid for a three-peat in the Class AA title game.
The Eagles finished the season 24-1, suffering only a two-point road loss to Brandon Valley on their way to the title. Going into the state tournament, some felt the Eagles had built their record against a less than stellar schedule. There may have been truth to that statistically, but Aberdeen Central silenced the critics when it mattered, slicing through the top contenders in the ‘AA’ ranks before knocking off the Warriors with a convincing 75-64 win in the championship game.
Those accomplishments made Dawn Seiler a logical choice for Coach of the Year, sponsored by Sanford Health.
“Dawn understands the strengths and weakness of her team and those of the opponents, and her teams play to their strengths and against the weaknesses of the opposition,” said Aberdeen Central athletic director Gene Brownell. “She is able to take a complex game, break it down and make it simplistic for the players. She defines player roles extremely well. She slows the game down for the players and builds their confidence and abilities one step at a time. Her ability to put the pieces of the puzzle together is uncanny. This allows her to be in control of her team and how they play the game. She so often is able to dictate the pace of the game, the manner of play during the game, and implement the elements of the game that are going to give her team the best chance for victory.”
With 550 career wins in 33 seasons, Seiler is the winningest female basketball coach in South Dakota history, and is tied with the late Fred Tibbetts for second most wins in state girls basketball history.
“Great coaches master the duality of the process – practice and competition,” Brownell said. “Practice sessions under Coach Seiler are very focused. She uses her allotted time to develop individual and team skills that translate to game situations. She’s great at making adjustments as game situations change – she does not get stuck on bringing the players to the game, she brings the game to players. In both realms, practice and competition, she is outstanding.”