With a win, the Black Hills State University women's basketball team will host a first-round game of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout.
Black Hills State is currently in third place in the RMAC overall standings, with the top four teams hosting first-round games. The Jackets can clinch that home game with a win over arch rival South Dakota School of Mines tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena.
As if there was nothing to play for. It’s Black Hills State versus South Dakota School of Mines.
The Black Hills State women are already in the conference playoffs — the top eight teams qualify. The difference will be playing in the friendly confines in the first round in the Donald E. Young Center or in … well, Colorado.
The Jackets, 16-5 and 19-6 overall, would prefer one game at home but head coach Mark Nore knows it isn’t the end of the world if they have to hit the road. They’ve done it before and fared well, moving all of the way to the title game two seasons ago.
Playing at home, however, is a bonus for not only the players and coaches, but for the fans.
BHSU didn’t help its cause much last weekend when in a three-way tie for first place dropped a pair of games on the road at Colorado Colorado Springs and MSU-Denver. Playing their arch rivals won’t be any easier.
As they say, throw the records out. The Lady Hardrockers, under head coach Ryan Larsen, would like nothing better than to end the season on a high note with a win over Black Hills State.
Mines has had somewhat of an up and down season, its first in the RMAC, at 7-14 in league and 10-15 overall. But the Hardrockers are a young team with promise.
BHSU won the first game in Spearfish 58-53.
The men’s game will follow at about 7:30 p.m. and if the first game between the two teams and just last week’s outcomes are any indication, it will be a typical Mines-BHSU battle.
The Jackets’ postseason hopes are hanging on by a bit of a thread, but they still have a shot with a win and some help. Black Hills State, 10-11 in league play, is tied for ninth in the conference (with Colorado Christian), one game behind CSU-Pueblo. A BH win and Pueblo and Christian losses would put the Jackets in eighth place via its win over the ThunderWolves earlier in the season. If Christian beats 21-6 Colorado Mines on Friday, it would get the nod over BH (if Pueblo loses) with the win over the Jackets earlier in the season.
I think, anyway.
CSU-Pueblo closes the regular season at home Friday against Western State Colorado, coached by former BHSU head coach Bradd Schafer. Western, however, is just 6-21 on the season.
Regardless, a win would put the Jackets at .500 in league play and 13-13 for the season, a nice improvement over head coach Jeff Trumbauer’s first season of 8-14 and 10-19.
The Hardrockers, 7-14 and 9-16 under Jason Henry, have struggled at times but have come up with a couple big RMAC wins this season, including last Saturday with an 83-70 win over the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. The Jackets beat UCCS 86-70.
And in the first meeting between the two teams, the ‘Rockers beat the Jackets 78-73 in Spearfish.