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DWU/Hanson Classic

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DWU combines with Hanson Classic for ‘must-see’ basketball event MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s and women’s basketball teams will be a big part of a unique, exciting event Saturday when the Tigers join forces with the Hanson Boys’ Basketball Classic to offer an unprecedented experience to area basketball fans at the World’s Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D. The Hanson Classic, which draws thousands of basketball fans to Mitchell each January, was originally scheduled for last Saturday, Jan. 23. However, the winter storm that swept through the area forced the event to be postponed, and that’s where DWU comes in. The Tigers have been slated to host Dana College in a Great Plains Athletic Conference doubleheader Saturday at the Palace, so Dakota Wesleyan and the Hanson Classic decided to combine the two events to offer area basketball fans the chance to see both high school and college games in one action-packed day. “The Hanson Classic is the premier event in South Dakota, and now when you combine it with our college games, nothing compares,” said Dakota Wesleyan athletic director Curt Hart. “If you’re a basketball fan in South Dakota, this is a unique and special day. It’s a must-see event.” Hart praised Hanson Classic tournament organizers Jim Bridge, Josh Oltmanns and Kim Derouchey for the job they do year-in and year-out with their event, and he said it has been great working with them throughout this unique situation. He said it’s a testament to the Hanson Classic that almost all the teams were willing to reschedule it a week later, and adding the Dakota Wesleyan games will only enhance the atmosphere. “The Hanson Classic always gives its teams a state tournament-like atmosphere,” Hart said. “When you add in two great college games it’s going to make for a great atmosphere and experience for the athletes. In addition to the great high school games, the fans will get to see the nationally-ranked Tiger men’s team in action with two All-Americans and the reigning two-time GPAC Player-of-the-Week, and a great GPAC women’s matchup from the best women’s basketball conference in the NAIA.” It helps that there is plenty at stake for both Dakota Wesleyan teams. The 17th-ranked Tiger men (18-5, 10-2) are on a seven-game winning streak and are coming off one of their biggest wins of the season – a 77-58 road upset at eighth-ranked Briar Cliff University on Wednesday night. With GPAC-leading Concordia University (16-6, 11-2) playing outside the conference this weekend, the Tiger men can pull into a first-place tie with the Bulldogs with a win over the Vikings (7-14, 3-8).  DWU is trying to complete a perfect month of January, as it hasn’t lost since Dec. 29, thanks largely to the play of two-time GPAC Player-of-the-Week Darrin Dorsey, who is averaging 21.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 3.2 steals over the past six games. One other cool twist about the classic is the Tigers’ two All-American forwards, Preston Broughton (15.2 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and Brady Wiebe (18.9 ppg, 10.0 rpg), will share the Corn Palace court with their respective high schools on Saturday. Broughton’s Corsica/Stickney team and Wiebe’s alma mater, Madison, will both be in action in the classic. In the women’s game, the Tigers (7-17, 3-9) will attempt to snap a six-game skid against a Dana (2-18, 0-11) team that is still searching for its first win in conference play. During DWU’s recent slide, three of the six losses came against the third, fourth and 18th-ranked teams in the country. The battle between the Tigers and Vikings will definitely have seeding implications for the conference tournament. The DWU women’s team also features several area players, including Allison and Ashley Johnson (Mount Vernon), Angela Noteboom (Corsica) and Maggie Malloy (Parkston). In addition to the basketball, there will plenty of events and activities off the court to add to Saturday’s atmosphere. The DWU cheerleaders will hold their annual Little Tiger Cheerleading Camp from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Sherman Center on the Dakota Wesleyan campus, and the campers will perform at halftime of both Tiger games. DWU will also hold the TeamMaker Pop-a-Shot contest at halftime of both college games, and the South Dakota National Guard will be on-hand with games and contests throughout the day. Players, parents and fans will be able to purchase photo collages from that day’s action in the lobby of the Corn Palace, and the Tiger basketball teams will be selling DWU basketball T-shirts during the college games in the lobby as well. The shirts are white, so all Tiger fans will want to pick one up this weekend so they’re ready for DWU’s annual “White Out” game, which will be Wednesday, Feb. 3, against the University of Sioux Falls. The Tiger women’s game will still be played Saturday at approximately 2 p.m., but the men’s game was moved from 4 p.m. to noon to accommodate the scheduling of the Hanson Classic games.  The day opens with Chester vs. Platte-Geddes at 9 a.m. and Hanson, the host school, will take on James Valley Christian at 10:30 a.m. before the Tiger men take the court at noon and the women follow at 2 p.m. Mc Cook Central/Montrose will face Madison at 3:30 p.m., Mitchell Christian takes on Sully Buttes at 5 p.m., Corsica/Stickney plays Langford at 6:30 p.m., St. Thomas More will meet Ellsworth (Minn.) at 8 p.m. and Red Cloud will face Sioux Falls Christian at 9:30 p.m.
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