BY MICHAEL HAMMOND | Yankton Press & Dakotan
March 7, 2017 | Dakota Valley 85, Sioux Valley 78 OT
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — “The 16-seed is not ever supposed to beat a 1-seed,” Dakota Valley coach Jason Kleis said. “Especially against a 1-seed like that.”
The Panthers did just that on Tuesday, beating top-seeded Sioux Valley 85-78 in overtime at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. The victory sends Dakota Valley to the South Dakota State Class A Boys’ Basketball Tournament, March 16-18 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls.
“I’ve been a part of some unbelievable games and that is at the top,” Kleis said. “Sioux Valley is an unbelievable team and I still don’t know how we pulled it off.
“It is just a huge credit to our kids and what gamers they are and their will to win.”
The will to win was clearly present in Panther senior Robert Rosenquist. He finished with 28 points—on 7-15 shooting and hitting 13-of-14 free throws—while scoring 10 in the fourth quarter and four in the overtime period. He also led the team with eight boards.
“The bigger the game, the bigger the situation, the bigger Bubba (Rosenquist) gets and he was phenomenal tonight,” Kleis said. “He shared the ball when he had to, he took charge when he had to, he always hits his free throws for us, and he got it done.”
Rosenquist and teammate, Jack McCabe each scored 10 points in the first half as Sioux Valley took a 42-36 lead into the locker room. The Cossacks led DV by as many as 14 points in the second quarter, but the Panther kept finding ways to stay in the game.
McCabe finished with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting with three three-pointers. His final three came in the third quarter to cut into an eight-point deficit.
Tanner Smith and Luke Schmitt hit back-to-back threes to start the fourth and tie the game at 61 after an even scoring third quarter. It was the last basket made for either player, the former finishing with five points and the latter scoring 13.
From there, Rosenquist started to heat up with 10 points down the stretch, including a go-ahead layup and a pair of free throws to put DV up 75-72.
With just over four seconds to play SV’s Tayton Vincent scored his final points of the game on a buzzer beater three in the right corner to force overtime. Vincent finished with 27 points, including eight threes.
“After he hit the three, I looked the guys in the eye and said ‘We aren’t losing this game, we have come too far this season to lose this game,’” Kleis said. “They responded, they came out with fire, and I was proud of them.”
That fire led to a 10-3 overtime period with Rosenquist and 6-foot-7 John Prochello each scoring four points.
“Our team just battles form start to finish,” Rosenquist said. “It was the best feeling I’ve ever felt in my life.”
The upset is not the first of the postseason for the Panthers, in the Region 4A tournament they were the 4-seed and knocked off 1-seed Vermillion on the road to reach Tuesday’s game.
Now Dakota Valley is headed to the state tournament where they will face another top seed in Madison.
“Madison is tough, they took it to us up there (in Madison),” Kleis said. “Right now we are not worried about that.
“For our boys to be under .500 coming in to the tournament and knock of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the state is unbelievable.”
DV finished with four players in double figures with Prochello scoring 11 points to join Rosenquist (28), McCabe (19), and Schmitt (13). Smith was tops with six assists. The Panthers won the turnover battle with just 10 turnover to Sioux Valley’s 13. As a team they shot 21-of-24 from the line.
Now the Panthers will look towards the Class A tournament and the Premier Center.
“I think if we play like we did today, we can beat anybody,” Kleis said. “We’ll worry about it starting tomorrow, but if we play like we did tonight we have a chance to beat anybody.”
For the Cossacks, their season comes to a close at 19-3. Behind Vincent, 6-foot-7 big man Trevor Hanson scored 17 points and slammed a pair of crowd electrifying dunks. Max Nielson, a freshman, scored 12 points with all of his shoots coming behind the three-point line.