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Why Sioux Falls Basketball Teams Are Playing More Out-of-State Games

South Dakota Public Broadcasting
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Some teams in Sioux Falls have found themselves having to play upwards of 40% of their games against out-of-state schools. Why?

It has been common over the years for Sioux Falls public schools to play games against a team from Minnesota or Iowa. It isn’t out of the ordinary for teams to fill their schedule that way, but why has it increased this year?

Roosevelt’s girls will play eight of their 20 regular season games against out-of-state schools. Lincoln girls have seven games, while Washington is lined up against five.

The same can be said for the boys. Roosevelt and Washington will each play five games against teams outside of South Dakota. Lincoln is lined up against six.

Scheduling is different across the sports in the SDHSAA. Football is set by the state in a two year rotation. Basketball and Volleyball? Those sports are scheduled yearly and schools have the power to make their schedule.

Enter the Eastern South Dakota Conference.

The ESD has elected as a conference to play a round-robin home-and-home schedule. That eats up 16 of the possible 20 games that are played for those nine teams.

So what about the other four games? Just take a look at the boy’s side of the scheduling. Brookings, Watertown, Brandon Valley, and Yankton have elected to take games against the four Sioux Falls schools to get to 20 games. Harrisburg will play Washington and O’Gorman, but not Roosevelt and Lincoln. Pierre and Mitchell will both play against only O’Gorman. Huron and Aberdeen Central won’t play a Sioux Falls school during the regular season at all.

That alone has opened up spots needed to fill. Add in Rapid City Central electing to play more out-of-state teams from Wyoming, North Dakota, and Nebraska instead of Sioux Falls schools, and it’s easy to see how this has developed.

Now the question becomes why play out-of-state teams? The easy solution seems to be to find games against other teams that are from the area that might be outside of Class AA. The issue with that is Class AA teams are penalized with seed points for playing classes lower than the AA level. A game against a Class A school could be the difference between a #1 seed or a #2 seed at the State Tournament. No punishment is given against out-of-state schools.

It appears that this scheduling quirk may go on for the next few years. But that is why the Sioux Falls public schools have many more games against out-of-state teams lined up.

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