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Lakota Country Times: Big Native basketball tournament opens in South Dakota






The Rapid City Police Department welcome Miss Oglala Lakota Nation LaVera Bad Wound, center left, and Lil' Miss Teca Wacipi Okolakiciye Shawntay Iron Horse to Rapid City, South Dakota, on December 13, 2016, for the Lakota Nation Invitational. Photo by RCPD

2016 Lakota Nation Invitational marks 40th anniversary
Winnebago boys, CEB girls #1 seeds for 40th LNI tourney
Civic center key to growth
By Tom Crash
Lakota Country Times Sports Correspondent
lakotacountrytimes.com

RAPID CITY – The 40th Annual Lakota Nation Invitational is set to be one of the biggest and best to date.

“We’ve gone from slipping in and out of town to this year, the 40th anniversary of the Lakota Nation Invitational," said Arlo Provost, the athletics director for Little Wound School and LNI board member for the past 16 years. "Our team buses are going to meet Tuesday at the truck stop at Elk Vale Road and with an escort, caravan into town, to the civic center where the chamber will feed everyone."

“It's nice to see Rapid City step up to the plate after all these years and roll out the red carpet," he said. [Facebook Live: Police Department Welcomes LNI]

The Lakota Nation Invitational gets underway Wednesday, December 14 and runs through Saturday, December 17 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.

“Wow, we’re still going after 40 years, what started as a basketball tournament has become so much more than a basketball tournament,” said Bryan Brewer, LNI executive director. "The civic center has been such a key to our growth, to have so many events under one roof, our success though really says a lot about all of the people who have helped make this super event happen every year.”

Basketball starts Wednesday, Dec. 14, with the girls in the Barnett Arena and the boys in the ice rink. Also on Wednesday the art show opens, there’s the elementary and junior high Lakota language bowl, the LNI business plan competition and the Teca Wacipi Okolakiciye from 11am to 7pm.

“This is remarkable, we’re still going strong. We continue to add events to the invitational and we’re in the black,” said Chuck Wilson, Todd County athletic director and chairman of the LNI board of directors. "We've added an open high school chess tournament. We have 70 participants for this first year -- it’ll be one day on Wednesday."

"We’re also doing a one act play competition as well," Wilson added. "Sure it’s about basketball but we have a lot of events for students not playing ball. We had over 2,500 students involved last year. We’ll be pushing 3,000 soon.”


The Rapid City Police Department escorted teams carrying basketball players to the Lakota Nation Invitational on December 13, 2016. Photo by RCPD

LNI events also include Lakota Language Bowl, Knowledge Bowl, archery competition, wrestling, business plan competition, art show, education component for players, Rapid City Conversation and community breakfast, student scholarships, public service awards, honoring of counselors, honoring veterans, cheerleading competition, Poetry Slam, Teca Wacipi Okolakiciye, Jr. ROTC competition and SD Distinguished Service awards.

The Winnebago (Nebraska) boys basketball team entered their first LNI in 2015, they blew through the tournament beating three teams by 30 plus points and Red Cloud by 12. Winnebago had won the State C-1 championship in 2015 and entered last year’s State tourney with a 29-0 record, losing in the semis. This year, Winnebago has four of their five starters back from last year including their 6’6 center David Wingett.

In October, coaches met at the civic center and seeded this year’s boy’s tournament: 1) Winnebago, 2) Little Wound, 3) Red Cloud, 4) White River, 5) Pine Ridge, 6) Todd Couny, 7) Crow Creek, 8) CEB, 9) Lower Brule, 10) St. Francis, 11) McLaughlin, 12) Custer, 13) Standing Rock, 14) Omaha Nation, 15) Crazy Horse, 16) Tiospa Zina.

With the exception of a few consolation basketball games scheduled for St. Thomas More and North Middle School, all of the many events of this years LNI will be at the civic center. A total of 16 boys and 16 girls high school basketball teams are competing in the tournament.


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This year’s event also includes an honoring of veterans on Friday at 4pm followed by a Wiping of Tears ceremony and the annual grand entry that fills the arena floor to capacity.

And the BEAR characters return for both halftime presentations and information sharing on a variety of issues including staying away from alcohol and drug abuse and suicide awareness.

Day one LNI schedule for boys (ice rink)
Winnebago vs Tiospa Zina 10am
Little Wound vs. Crazy Horse 11:30am
Red Cloud vs. Omaha Nation 1pm
White River vs. Standing Rock 2:30pm
Pine Ridge vs. Custer 4pm
Crow Creek vs. St. Francis 5:30pm
Todd County vs Custer 7pm
CEB vs Lower Brule 8:30pm

Day one for girls (Barnett Arena)
Little Wound vs. Crazy Horse 10am
White River vs. Omaha Nation 11:30am
CEB vs. Tiospa Zina 1pm
McLaughlin vs. Crow Creek 2:30pm
Todd County vs. Lower Brule 4pm
Custer vs. Winnebago 5:30pm
Red Cloud vs. St. Francis 7pm
Pine Ridge vs. Standing Rock 8:30pm

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