Fliers Head to SD 16
HENRY – The Flandreau girls’ basketball team advanced to the Class A SoDak 16 on Monday night as the Fliers beat Florence/Henry 36-25 in the Region 2A Playoffs.
It’s the third straight season that the Fliers have advanced to the SoDak 16 and they will be the No. 12 seed this year and will take on No. 5 seeded St. Thomas More at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Pierre.
“The team is excited,” Flandreau head coach Megan Severtson said. “I think we came into the year with the mindset that we wanted to be in the mix with some of the best teams in the state by the end of the year and worked at it all season, so we’re excited that we get to showcase that at the SoDak 16. Through the highs and lows, the girls stuck with it and believed in our preparation,” Severtson said.
Flandreau won Monday night’s game the way the Fliers have won a lot of games this year and that’s with their defense as they held a Florence/Henry team who was averaging 51.5 points per game to 26 points. Severtson said she thought the beginning of the season was going to be tough, but the Fliers have hit their stride having now won 10 straight games.
“I mentioned early in the season that there was going to be a little bit of learning curve [with this team], just because there were young girls stepping into new positions and my older players were taking on bigger roles. However, I think that we as a group hang our hat on our defense. We played a really good Florence/Henry team tonight with many weapons and I thought holding them to 25 points when our offense wasn’t really clicking was incredible,” Severtson said.
Flandreau held a 10-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Falcons then outscored the Fliers 7-4 in the second quarter to make it 14-13 at halftime. The Fliers were able to increase their lead in the third quarter, but the Falcons wouldn’t go away and created the only tie of the game with a minute to play.
The Fliers had a huge third quarter ending three pointer from Sadie Iott. An under the basket in-bound Flier pass launched to Iott in three-point land and with :09 on the clock, she drained a three to retake the lead at quarter’s end.
It was then 24-21 heading into the fourth. The teams traded baskets to begin and then both went cold for nearly three and one-half minutes in the defensive battle. But when the Fliers got their offense going, they were able to pull away outscoring Florence/Henry 10-2 the rest of the way for the 36-25 win.
Severtson said she thought her team did a great job handling a tough environment on the road. The Falcons brought a large, vociferous crowd to their gym.
“The atmosphere at Florence/Henry was crazy. It was very, very loud and I thought that one of the things that led to us winning was how well our girls held their composure. Florence/Henry made a nice run at the end of the third quarter and we just found a way to fight through it. So, I think that was something that I am really proud of our team for. We talked a lot this week about keeping our composure and the girls did a really nice job of doing that,” Severtson said.
Sadie Iott led the Fliers with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Claire Sheppard had nine points and 10 rebounds. Lily Klein had six points and eight rebounds and Lizzie Pavlis had eight points.
Flandreau and St. Thomas More met on Jan. 14 in the Hanson Classic at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. The Cavaliers handled the Fliers, 54-34, but that was Flandreau’s last loss. After starting the season 1-3 the Fliers have won 17 of their past 18 games and Severtson said she felt like the first game against STM was a turning point in the season.
“St. Thomas More was a game that we left, and we knew we didn’t play our best,” she said. “Defensively, offensively, it was just a really bad night for us. So, I think we have to prepare for them [this time] with the mindset that it’s a brand-new game, that’s going to be important, and then just really recognize [that the first game] was a turning point in our season. Our defense got a lot better from that point on. We look at [Thursday’s game] as a challenge and a positive challenge and we want to enjoy that process.”
Flandreau does not have a senior on its roster but has players who have been in this spot before. Severtson said she thinks if the Fliers approach Thursday’s game like they did the game on Monday, they should have a shot against the Cavaliers.
“I think the biggest thing for us will be approaching the game with confidence that we prepared for the group and what we’ve prepared for all season. Everything we’ve done from the start of the season has prepared us for this moment. [We want to] be excited for it and not put any extra pressure on ourselves and just have fun,” Severtson said.
Community members are encouraged to show thier support to the Lady Fliers. There will be a spectator bus that will travel to Pierre on Thursday. The bus will depart from the William Janklow Community Center parking lot at 1:30pm on Thursday. The bus is estimated to return to the same spot at 11:30pm. Cost is $20 per adult and $10 per student, students 4th grade and below will need to be accompanied by an adult. Those interested should contact Bret Severtson at 605-864-1343 by NOON on WEDNESDAY to reserve a spot. Payment will be collected when boarding the bus.
Those not able to make it to the game can join the police escort and send off for the team bus. The send off is set to leave the school at 11:45am on Thursday.