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Tea Area High School Basketball: Titan girls & boys ready to embark on 23-24 season

Titan girls look to build on 13-10 record

Excitement is building in Tea as the Tea Area High School girls’ basketball team, led by Head Coach Adam Schorzmann, prepares to hit the court for what promises to be an action-packed season.

Heading into his sixth year as the head coach at Tea Area High School, Schorzmann brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record. A Graduate Assistant Coach for the DWU Women’s Basketball Team from 2012-2014, Schorzmann later served as the Harrisburg High School Boy’s Basketball Assistant Coach from 2014-2018. Since 2018, Schorzmann has been at the helm of the Tea Area High School girls’ basketball program.

Assisting Schorzmann this season will be Scott Binde, Sarah Vanlaecken, and volunteer assistant Bethany Vasecka.

Last year the Titans finished with a 13-10 record, making it to the SoDak16. Shorzmann and his squad are determined to build on those successes and push the boundaries even further in the upcoming season.

Despite bidding farewell to graduates Kendra McKinney and Stella Peterson, the team boasts a roster filled with talent. With returning key starters, including Katie Vasecka, Mara Grant, Haidyn West, and Miah Weber, the team is poised for a strong showing.

“We look to be very athletic this year and have a good core of senior leadership. I think we can match up well with a lot of teams,” said Schorzmann. However, he acknowledges that the bench play will be crucial to the team’s success this season.

Ellie Clayberg, who played a significant role off the bench last year, is expected to contribute significantly again this season.

The DakXII Conference is known for its competitiveness, with Vermillion emerging as the victor last year. Schorzmann anticipates strong challenges from teams like Lennox, Sioux Falls Christian, Elk Point-Jefferson, and Canton.

Schorzmann has set the bar high for the upcoming season, emphasizing the team’s experience and depth.

“This year is one with high expectations. We have a lot of girls that have played quite a few varsity games and minutes for us. The biggest thing is keeping the team concept of working hard together, for each other, and reminding them of that mission throughout the long basketball season,” added Schorzmann.

The roster is packed with returning athletes, Katie Vasecka, Mara Grant, Haidyn West, Miah Weber, Reese Hammerquist, Kya Haynes, Sienna Mork, Ellie Clayberg, Natalie Gass, Jaycie Babb, Anna Binde, Ava Opland, Tatym Slykhuis, Preslie Benning, Kiley Pendergast, Bree Umbeit, and upcoming talent included Sophie McNaughton, Addison Brech, Miah Thorstenson, Abuol Deng, and Martha Deng. Manager this season will be Addison Kamps.

The Titans will tip-off the 23-24 season on Friday, Dec. 8 when they travel to Dakota Valley. Varsity is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. On Dec. 14 the team will be on the road again, taking on Tri-Valley. They will travel to Dell Rapids on Dec. 15 before hosting their home opener on Dec. 19 against Brookings. The Titans will be home again on Dec. 21 when they host Brandon Valley. On Dec. 30 they travel to to the Corn Palace in Mitchell to compete in the Hoop City Classic. Their opponent will be Rapid City Christian.

On Jan. 2 the team travels to Vermillion to face off against the Tanagers in double header action with the TAHS boys. They then host West Central on Jan. 4 and Canton on Jan. 8 before taking to the road again on Jan. 11 to face off against Sioux Falls Jefferson. On Jan. 13 they host Aberdeen Central and play host to Watertown on Jan. 16. On Jan. 23 they compete in the Throwback Classic at the Sanford Petnagon, facing off against Sioux Falls Christian. On Jan. 25 they host Madison and on Jan. 30 they travel to Sioux Falls O’Gorman. The DakXII/NEC Girls’ clash is scheduled for Feb. 3 in Madison. On Feb. 6 they host Harrisburg and on Feb. 9 they host Lennox. They end the regular season with back-to-back road games, traveling to Yankton on Feb. 15 and to Elk Point Jefferson on Feb. 16.

Titan boys return number of key players

The anticipation is palpable as the Tea Area High School boys’ basketball team, under the seasoned leadership of Head Coach Drew Weber, embarks on a new season. With an impressive coaching staff, a mix of returning veterans, and promising new faces, the Titans are poised to make waves in the upcoming 2023-24 campaign.

Heading into his fifth year with the Titans and 11th year overall, Weber brings a wealth of experience, boasting a career record of 147-72. Assisting him this season are Clay Robinson, in his third year, Kade Stearns, a Tea alum entering his first year, and Taylor Becker, also in his debut season.

The Titans’ 2022-23 season concluded with a respectable 14-7 record, though the Titans faced a setback, falling to Dakota Valley in Regions.

However, the team looks to build on last year’s success with a returning number of key players. The team’s backbone consists of seasoned players, including Sam Almas, a senior guard and 3-time letter-winner, who led in scoring last season and is considered one of the best perimeter players in the area.

Jessen Wiebenga, a senior forward, returns as a starter. Wiebenga is versatile player that Weber is looking forward to a breakout season from. Garrett Wiebenga, a senior forward, showcased his prowess as the sixth man last season and is considered one of the best shooters on the team. Boston Willemssen, a senior center, whose long and athletic build adds a crucial defensive edge for the Titans. Marshall Smythe, a junior guard, is anticipated to lead the backcourt after recovering from a torn labrum. Keeton Newborg, a senior guard, is viewed as a do-it-all type perimeter player and senior guard Jack Qualseth and sophomore guard Brenner Konrad look to help the Titans find success this season as well. Weber says Qualseth stretches the floor well and Konrad, he views, as one of the best athletes in the program and is ready to play any position on the floor.

Weber acknowledges the team’s relative inexperience compared to past year’s but emphasizes the talent at their disposal. The focus will be on defense, with an understanding that offensive prowess may take time to develop. The team’s mental toughness is expected to shine through challenges and growing pains.

“We understand and accept that the goal is to be playing our best basketball in March,” said Weber.

The team will have to navigate an extremely difficult schedule this season, facing some of the top Class A schools and filling their schedule with several Class AA match-ups.

The top five teams in the class include SF Christian, Dakota Valley, Hamlin, Lennox, and Dell Rapids in Weber’s opinion. The Titans open the season with a road match-up against Dakota Valley. They face Dells on Dec. 15, Sioux Falls Christian on Jan. 23 and Lennox on Jan. 9. The Titans first home match-up will be Dec. 11 when they host Tri-Valley.

The Titans are ready for the grueling schedule with team strengths in defense, rebounding, depth, and mental toughness. Weber noted having one of the top perimeter players in Class A in Almas is also a huge strength for the team. However, scoring depth, quickness, and experience stand out as areas for improvement.

As the Tea Titans embark on a season filled with promise and challenges, the community eagerly anticipates the growth and success of these young athletes under the guidance of Weber and his dedicated coaching staff. As the journey begins,the Titan fans are ready to cheer their team to victory.


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