‘Mental Health Matters’: Ethan’s students host JV All-Star Game to benefit local mental health charity – Mitchell Republic

ETHAN — What started as a shared goal among high school classmates to shine a light on who they saw as South Dakota’s “undervalued” basketball players turned into something much bigger than they hadn’t foreseen it.

Brody Riggs and Wyatt Sinkie, juniors and teammates of the Ethan Rustlers junior varsity team, had seen enough of the best varsity players in the spotlight. With all the talented players playing junior college basketball across the state, they thought of ways to honor the best of the best at the JV level.

“What about the players who make (the best players) who they are?” said Riggs. “You always have the star games with the big names, but what about the guys coming in and coming in?”

Wyatt Sinkie (left) and Brody Riggs (right) explain the upcoming Mental Health Matters Promising All-Star Game event on Saturday, April 2 at Ethan High School.

Dylan Jespersen/Mitchell Republic

This idea sparked a process that culminated in Saturday’s first-ever Mental Health Matters, Up and Coming All-Star Game at Ethan High School on Saturday, April 2, an event that raised $1,600 to benefit Health Services. sanity in the area while providing a stage for top boys JV basketball players in SD

Using coach and player nominations from area high schools, the boys put together two JV rosters of Ethan, White River, Wagner, Winner and Viborg-Hurley to compete in a 3-point competition, a skills competition and the star game. .

Admission for spectators costs four dollars, and all proceeds are expected to be donated to a local mental health charity to be decided.

“Mental health is something we prioritize, so we thought we could give this game more meaning that way,” Riggs said.

Riggs and Sinkie admitted their brainchild was nowhere near as big as what happened on Saturday. What they originally saw was a small event with local JV players having fun for a few hours in an empty gym.

However, after the two won gold for their Mental Health Matters project at the FCCLA regional meeting, they approached their teacher Katrina Hoster in hopes of linking the event to a mental health charity. , and the ball started.


The crowd erupts after a 4-point shot during the Mental Health Matters Up-and-Coming All-Star Game on Saturday, April 2 at Ethan High School.

Dylan Jespersen/Mitchell Republic

“We can’t thank her enough for what she did to make this happen,” Hinkie said.

With Mrs. Hoster’s support, the boys were able to start making the event a reality. And with local businesses Sun Gold Sports helping to design “Mental Health Matters” shirts, Hibbett’s Sports agreeing to sponsor the event, and the National Guard providing the team jerseys and free concessions, the Up and Coming All-Star Game really got real.


The back of the t-shirt jersey provided by the National Guard for the Mental Health Matters Up-and-coming All-Star Game on Saturday, April 2 at Ethan High School.

Dylan Jespersen/Mitchell Republic

Riggs and Hinkie said once things got rolling, the outpouring of support from surrounding communities amazed them.

“It’s not like we were doing all of this ourselves, it was a community-wide effort,” Riggs said. “It was pretty amazing to me that we all came together for what really matters, and that is sanity.”

While both are proud of the results, they both wanted to ensure the event remained focused on mental health awareness.

“This is an All-Star game for sanity, this part matters,” Hinkie said.

The 3-point competition began, with three separate penalty kicks deciding which three entrants would advance to the final round.

White River’s Ramsey Tucker led the group, scoring eight points in the first round before claiming victory with four points in the final round.


3-point contest winner Ramsey Tucker (center) poses with his trophy during the Mental Health Matters All-Star Game on Saturday, April 2, at Ethan High School.

Dylan Jespersen/Mitchell Republic

In the skills competition, players ran dribbling between cones and attempted a lay-up before securing the rebound, running on the floor and attempting to make a 3-point shot before their competitor. After three rounds, Wagner’s Preston McFayden broke through the final shot and won the competition.


Skills Competition winner Preston McFayden poses with Hinkie and Riggs during the Mental Health Matters Promising All-Star Game on Saturday, April 2 at Ethan High School.

Dylan Jespersen/Mitchell Republic

The last event, the All-Star Game, brought some twists. An extra line made of duct tape gave the game a “4-point line”, and players weren’t afraid to let it fly in an attempt to advance the 4-point pointer.

‘The Dark Team’ was ultimately victorious, with McFayden being named the game’s most valuable player for his outstanding performance.

The match result, however, was not as important as the overall goal. The event raised a lot of money for mental health purposes, and Riggs and Hinkie were very proud of it.

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