Dakota Valley boys look to extend winning streak with another State A title
Panthers look to make it 2 straight unbeaten seasons and 53 consecutive wins
N. SIOUX CITY, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The only unbeaten boys basketball team left in any of the state boys basketball tournament is certainly no stranger to a perfect season.
After all, with 50 straight wins under their belts the Dakota Valley Panthers are three wins away from completing their second consecutive unbeaten season.
Zach Borg has more.
Every team remembers their final loss of the season. “Sioux Valley, two years ago in the semifinals.” Dakota Valley Senior Isaac Bruns remembers.
And every returning player swears it won’t happen again. “To see the look on the seniors eyes, it hurt me and it wasn’t even my last game.” Dakota Valley Senior Randy Rosenquist says.
At Dakota Valley they’ve made good on that promise 50 straight times. “Sometimes I just think about it and I just think how crazy it is! But it feels good!” Rosenquist says. “To get 50 wins in a row, I don’t think anybody is ever going to take that from them.” Dakota Valley Head Coach Jason Kleis says.
The streak actually began the day after their semifinal loss in 2021 when the Panthers won the third place game. Featuring four juniors the following season in their starting lineup, Dakota Valley ran the table at 26-0, avenging their loss to Sioux Valley bring home the program’s first state title. “We know how to finish games and how to play big teams like we did all that state tournament last year.” Rosenquist says.
Returning virtually the entire team has given the Panthers a level of depth most in the state cannot match. “Our guys are willing to share the ball, move it, find the open guy and share the ball at different times. That’s been the secret sauce. We’ve seen every junk defense and none of them have worked so far to slow us down enough.” Kleis says.
They’ve proven it against one of the state’s most challenging schedules which included games against top competition for Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, The Panthers are averaging 77 points a game while allowing just 53. 18 of their 23 wins have been by double figures. “You know we don’t have a ton of pressure on us. We just go out there and play and try to take the game to the other team. Having that experience and team leaders like that can keep our mind on the one game at a time instead of the big picture.” Bruns says.
Another perfect season can come full circle this weekend as Dakota Valley returns to the site of their last loss, the Denny Sanford Premier Center, for the state tournament. “We’re all thinking about it. No one has really said anything about it yet but we all know we got to bring it!” Rosenquist says.
Not that they’ve ever needed extra motivation.
Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.
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