Girls softball opens on April 13

Dan Bechtold/Winner Advocate Photo
Playing for the Winner Area softball team are in front from left Jaelyn Assman, Emma Vandenbark, Kalene Preslicka, Katie Pederson, Tila Harter, Shannon Rank and Alexis Bennett. In back from left are Reagan Vaughn, Madelyn Danford, LaShanna Connot, Maree Pravecek, Melanie Brozik, Aleya Miller, Ellison Kaiser, Sophie Hofeldt and Brindy Bolander. Not pictured are Shayne Day, Tianna Evans and Emily Sachtjen.

History will be made when the first pitch is thrown in the Winner Area softball game on April 13.

Winner Area will host Wagner at 5 p.m. at Jaycee Field.

This is the inaugural season of girls softball in South Dakota.

Cheyenne Dougherty is the head coach with Shawna Kaiser as the assistant coach.

Dougherty is a 2020 graduate of Colome High School and she grew up playing softball and having a love of the sport.

She is excited for the season to start.

There are 19 girls on the team which are made up of Winner and Colome girls in high school and middle school. Dougherty says five of the members of the team are from Colome.

Playing on the team are: Jaelyn Assman, Alexis Bennett, Brindy Bolander, Melanie Brozik, Lashanna Connot, Madelyn Danford, Shayne Day, Tienna Evans, Tila Harter, Sophie Hofeldt, Ellison Kaiser, Aleya Miller, Maree Pravecek, Katie Pederson, Karlene Preslicka, Shannon Rank, Emily Sachtjen, Emma Vandenbark and Reagan Vaughn.

The seniors on the team are: Brindy Bolander, Melanie Brozik, Aleya Miller, Shayne Day, Sophie Hofeldt.

Dougherty said the girls have had two outdoor practices with the rest inside at the Armory.

“We are trying to get our hands on the ball and get some conditioning going,” said the coach.

In addition to afternoon practices, there have been some early morning sessions.

When asked what she is looking forward to, Dougherty said “I am hoping we can have fun and learn about softball. Wins and losses don’t matter to me as long as we are having fun and learning softball,” she said.

Dougherty explained Shawna Kaiser had reached out to her to see if she had the time to be the head coach. Dougherty was also contacted by Brett Gardner, Winner High School activities director.

Dougherty says she enjoys the role of a coach.

There are six games scheduled with the April 13 game the only one in Winner. There will be a Sweet 16 game where teams will qualify for the state tournament which will be held in Aberdeen the first three days of June.

A game planned for April 1 in Mobridge was postponed due to the weather.

The board of directors of the South Dakota High School Activities Association sanctioned high school softball in November of 2021 with spring of 2023 being slated as the inaugural season.

The schedule includes:

April 13—Wagner in Winner

April 17—at Hanson

April 22—at Marion High School

May 6—Watchdog classic

May 8—In Wagner playing in a triangular

Olson named assistant coach of the year

Trent Olson, Winner boys basketball assistant coach, has been named the Region 8 assistant boys basketball coach of the year.

The South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association recently named the coaches of the year.

Olson has been the assistant boys coach for over 20 years.

As the assistant coach Olson has coached the junior varsity and C teams over the years. His teams have shown success

AAU wrestlers place at state

Several Winner AAU wrestlers placed in the state tournament in Aberdeen this weekend.

Legend Benedict and Apollo Willuweit were both crowned champions in the schoolboy division.

Benedict won first place with a 12-6 decision over Caleb Cuka of Bon Homme.

Willuweit won first place with a pin over Will Norman of Sioux Falls O’Gorman in 3:25.

Also placing were:

Lawson Helkenn, 4th; Lucchese Helkenn. 6th; Rhogan Robbins, 2nd; Bridger Stirling, 3rd; Bentley Moser, 8th; Talon Labahn, 2nd; JadeLynn McCall, 8th; Jaelyn Assman, 4th; Blayden Stirling, 8th; Cooper Craven, 2nd; Roukyn Robbins, 2nd; Max Fiesterman, 8th; Evan Littau, 6th

Basketball team sets records

Winner boys basketball team set several records or came close to a new record  this season.

The 21 wins in a season is the fourth best.

The 91 percent  winning percentage and 15 wins in a row is the second best.

The 41. 7 points allowed per game is the best ever.

The 70 percent from the free throw line is the second best ever and the 224 turnovers was the second fewest.

Blake Volmer had three records. He had the third most career points with 1,275, 755 rebounds—the most ever and 296 career assists—6th most ever.

Hot Springs knocks off Winner

Dan Bechtold/Winner Advocate Photo
Silas Chasing Hawk goes after a loose ball in the SoDak 16 game.

Winner suffered its second loss of the season when they fell to Hot Springs 47-43 in the SoDak 16 game in Chamberlain on March 7.

The Warriors (21-2) entered the game riding a 15 game win streak. They won two Region 7A games to make it to the SoDak 16. Winner was looking to make back to back state tournament appearances.

The Bison earned their first trip to the Class A state tournament since 2019 when they also took down Winner. This will be Hot Springs second trip to the state since 1945.

Hot Springs knocked down eight 3-pointers in Chamberlain with six coming in the second half and two back to back with under a minute to play.

The 3-point looks were the result of the Bison setting a screen and popping out to the three point line after setting the screen rather than rolling to the basket according to Winner coach Brett Gardner.

Also, Winner could not come back from four big free throws by the Bison at the end of the game.

The game was tied at the half 20-20. A free throw by Blake Volmer in the third quarter tied the score again at 23-23.

A shot by Silas Chasing Hawk gave Winner a 33-31 lead.

Winner had the lead going into the fourth quarter, 36-34. A big basket by Volmer gave the Warriors the lead.

Volmer led the scoring for Winner with 24 points. Aiden Barfuss and Silas Chasing Hawk both added 6 points.

Winner shot 37 percent from the field and made 9 of 11 free throws for 81 percent from the free throw line.

The Warriors made 4 of 17 three point shots.

Volmer and Shawn Hammerbeck each had 7 rebounds with 5 for Ethan Bartels and 3 for Barfuss.

Barfuss had 6 assists, Hammerbeck, 3 and Bartels, 2.

Bartels had 2 steals.

“Hats off to Hot Springs as they really played physically and made every possession difficult,” said Gardner.

“We were able to battle back and take the lead going into the 4th quarter but they made a couple more plays than we did. It was a great game and one that we just came up short in. This game does not take away anything that we accomplished this year. We are so proud of our young men,” said the coach.

Official scorekeeper retires after 30 years

Dan Bechtold/Winner Advocate Photo
Johnyne Horstman, left, retired as official basketball scorekeeper after doing this job for 30 years. She is pictured with fellow scorers table workers Jo Striefel, center and Lisa Jankauskas. Horstman was honored at the basketball game on Friday.

By Dan Bechtold


For 30 years, Johnyne Horstman has been the official scorekeeper for Winner High School home boys and girls basketball  games.

Friday, March 3 at the second round of the Region 7A boys game was her last night in her official capacity.

It is bittersweet for Horstman, a Winner 6th grade teacher, who has a love for the game and had two children play basketball.

“It is just time to quit,” she said.

Playing into this mix of emotions is the death of both of her parents, Carroll and Janet Bruun, within the past year.

“I can’t see my mom sitting in the same spot at every game and I do not get to hear my dad call after every game asking who were the high scorers,” she said.

Janet Bruun never missed a Winner home game and always sat in the “nosebleed” section of the Armory. As Horstman was keeping the book she could always see her mother sitting in that same spot.

In 1993, Harvey Naasz, who was then athletic director, asked Horstman to take over keeping book.

She was teaching fourth grade at the time and the classroom was in the Armory.

Prior to being the official scorekeeper, Horstman was taking tickets at football and basketball games.

Horstman is part of trio of women who keep things running efficiently at the scorers table. Jo Striefel runs the scoreboard and Lisa Jankauskas runs the shot clock.

Horstman said when her kids were playing it kept her focused.

When asked if she ever missed a game she said when Zach was playing at SDSU should would attend the college game and Glen Carlson would fill in with the scorebook at Winner home games.  

“It is different when you don’t have kids playing. Maybe I want to spent time with Zach’s daughter, Murphy. This way I don’t have to be so scheduled and it gives me more freedom,” she explained.

When her kids were playing basketball she did both home and away games. I would keep the away game book for Jim Drake and Larry Aaker,” she said.

Asked if there was any one game that stood out and she said the game with Platte where Zach had 11 3 pointers.

She said it has been fun working with the crew at the scorers table. Over the years, she has gotten to know the referees. “When the referee blows the whistle I better have the jump ball right and the jump ball arrow turned on.”

Horstman said she and Jo along with Lisa make a good team.

Horstman says it has been fun keeping the official book.

She got to keep book for the SoDak 16 girls game between Red Cloud and Garretson on Thursday.

“It was great doing this all these years,” she said.

Friday night when Winner boys played Lakota Tech it was her last time to make an official entry in the scorebook.