The good news for South Dakota basketball fans is they haven’t seen the last of Clark-Willow Lake standout Skyler Flatten.
The 6-foot-5 senior is taking his talents to South Dakota State University after a stellar high school career that included 1,686 points and 436 rebounds in 90 games for the Cyclones.
Flatten was the leader of a Clark-Willow Lake team that was No. 1-rated much of the year and capped a 23-1 season by winning the consolation championship in the 2013 state Class A boys basketball tournament.
For his efforts, he earned repeat first-team honors on the Class A Boys All-State basketball team picked by the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association and the South Dakota Sportswriters Association.
“He’s such a pure athlete. Not many coaches get the chance to coach a kid like this,” said Clark-Willow Lake head coach Jerome Nesheim. “He’s going to Division I and he’s going to have success at that level. He’s only going to get better with better coaching and better competition around him.”
Flatten, who averaged 22.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game this past season, is joined on the All-State first team by fellow seniors Jordan Baker of Sioux Falls Christian, Bryce Koch of Dell Rapids, Lincoln Swenson of Deuel and Brock Zeller of Elk Point-Jefferson.
Flatten’s versatility would be a benefit to any team.
“We used him at every position that we needed to,” said Nesheim. “There were times he posted up, times he played the point and times he played the wing. It just kind of depended on what we needed.”
There’s plenty of talent surrounding Flatten on the honor squad.
Baker, a 6-6 senior center, was the leader of a Sioux Falls Christian team that enjoyed an unbeaten regular season just like Flatten’s Cyclones. The Northwestern College (Iowa) recruit averaged 16.5 points, 11 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game for the Chargers.
He was named the most valuable player in the Big Sioux Conference.
“Jordan was an outstanding leader for our team,” said Sioux Falls Christian head coach Mike Schouten. “He led by example, as he was one of the hardest-working players on the team, and also verbally, often times encouraging his teammates to work harder.”
Christian’s perfect season came to an end with a 67-63 loss in the District 6A champion to a Dell Rapids team that featured Koch, a 6-5 senior forward who averaged 12.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4 blocks per game. The Quarriers didn’t make it to state, falling to eventual state champion Madison in the Region 3A finals.
Koch finished his career with 903 points, 765 rebounds and 272 blocks (tops in school history) and shot 58 percent from the field.
“Bryce is a high energy player and he served as an emotional leader for our team this season,” said Dell Rapids head coach Jason Fersdahl. “In many games, he was able to dominate the paint by using his size and athleticism to control the rebounding battle and blocking or altering shots.”
Koch will take his talents to Morningside College (Iowa) and could have continued matchups against Baker. Both Northwestern and Morningside are members of the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
Speaking about spoiling perfect seasons, Swenson’s Deuel Cardinals almost accomplished the feat against Clark-Willow Lake in the Region 2A championship before falling 69-68 in double overtime. A three-year starter, the 6-2 senior guard averaged 17.5 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists per game for a Deuel team that went 19-4.
Swenson finished his career with 1,013 points.
“Lincoln is an all-around great student-athlete,” said Deuel head coach Mike Thyen. “With great teammates around him, Deuel won 49 games the last three years. It’s been a pleasure to coach Lincoln and he’s been a big part of the huge success of Deuel basketball.”
Another talented guard on the squad is Zeller, a four-year starter at Elk Point-Jefferson who was a second-team All-State selection as a junior. He averaged 17 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for the Huskies this season.
Zeller, who will play football at Morningside College (Iowa), set school records for career points (1,482), field-goal shooting percentage in a season (63) and assists in a game (12).
“Brock is a rare player who was a true pleasure to coach,” said Elk Point-Jefferson head coach Cole Knippling. “He was unique in the fact that he was a very polished scorer both on the perimeter and in the post. He also had impressive court vision and always seemed to find the open man.”
Koch’s Dell Rapids teammate Cole Langer is a member of the All-State second team that includes senior Connor Shaull of state runner-up Tea Area, senior Blake Van Ginkel of Dakota Valley, junior Jordan Cornelius of Sisseton and junior Cody Willett of Canton. Langer, a senior, was a first-team honoree in 2012.
Third-team selections are seniors Anthony Hopkins of Little Wound, Mitchel Foster of Flandreau, Brandon Kemp of Spearfish, Austin Krier of Vermillion and Kory Schwan of Aberdeen Roncalli.