By Rich Winter
When news came out last week that St. Francis Indian School senior, Leon Bad Hand had been named to the South Dakota Class A, All State, 3rd team for basketball, everyone at St. Francis Indian School and every resident of the town of Spring Creek stood just a little taller.
You see, these kinds of honors don’t come along very often.
The last time a St. Francis basketball player was named to an All-State basketball team was 1983. Thirty-two years ago, Leon Bad Hand’s uncle, Alphonso Bad Hand, received a similar honor.
“It was great watching Leon become the player that he has become this season, which of course was accomplished on his own, by playing as much basketball as possible (open gyms, tournaments,etc.) which would help anyone who does it,” Rich Crow Eagle, St. Francis Indian School coach said. “Can’t say enough about what Leon brought to the table being that leader in practice, the classroom etc. His work ethic has rubbed off on the program and we are grateful,” Crow Eagle said.
Leon Had Hand, a 6-foot-2 senior, was the leading rebounder in Class A this season with 12.5 rebounds per game. In addition, Bad Hand handled the scoring load for St. Francis Indian School, pouring in 21.5 points per game.
Crow Eagle points to a number of good players that Leon grew up playing with that helped paved the way for this award.
“We have had some good teams here in the past with kids that put up the numbers, so it’s really special for Leon to receive this honor,” Rich Crow Eagle, St. Francis coach said.
Some of those good basketball players coming through St. Francis included J.J. Arcoren, James Henry, one of the leading scorers in Class A in 2012/2013, and Charles Broken Leg, the leading rebounder in Class A in 2013/2014.
The All-Atate teams are chosen by the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association and the South Dakota Sportswriters Association.
Here are the Class A, All-State teams:
The first team consists of Ty Hoglund of Dell Rapids, Brayden McNeary of Aberdeen Roncalli, Tyson Jenkins of Clark/Willow Lake, Noah Vettrus of West Central, Jacob Hinker of Lennox and Brendan Harter of Winner.
Second team honors went to senior Nate Brown Bull of Little Wound, junior Collin Kramer of Sioux Valley, senior Zane Schumaker of Dell Rapids, junior Chad Barkema of Sioux Falls Christian, senior Creighton LeBeau of Cheyenne-Eagle Butte and senior Beau Keeter of Miller.
The third team consists of senior Cody Renken of Mt. Vernon/Plankinton, sophomore Seth Friesz of Chamberlain, senior E.J. Drake of Hamlin, senior Derek Soukup of Wagner, senior Leon Bad Hand of St. Francis and senior Will Gottlob of McCook Central/Montrose.
Plenty of familiar faces on the South Dakota, All-State teams.
Little Wound’s 7-foot-1 center Nate Brown Bull was named to the 2nd team, as was Cheyenne Eagle-Butte’s Creighton LeBeau.
Winner’s Brendan Harter was named to the first-team.
Crow Eagle points to a terrific year for area basketball teams, and in particular, basketball products that originated from Todd County.
“How good is the county of Todd having three guys representing two classes being on the all-state teams,” Crow Eagle said. Justin Prue, a 1st teamer, Justin folkers a 2nd teamer (both living in Mission) of class B White River, and Leon a 3rd teamer for class A (out of the community of Spring Creek),” Crow Eagle said.
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