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Tea Area senior Ethan Freidel scored 29 points as the Titans claimed the school's first ever state basketball title.

No way in hell Madison was ripping that state title from Ethan Freidel's hands
Mar 19, 2017

By Rich Winter

After leading the entire way during Saturday's Class A boys basketball state championship game, Tea Area suddenly found things tightening up considerably in their matchup with No. 1 ranked Madison.


The Bulldogs, trailing by double-digits most of the game, clawed their way back into the game, and trailed 60-58 with just over a minute remaining. (1:11 if memory serves)


That's when Tea Area senior, Ethan Freidel decided enough was enough. Freidel charged to the basket, delivered a tough-as-nails basket, got hammered, made the free-throw and gave Tea Area some breathing room. 


Truth be told, Freidel added a pair of free-throws immediately following his AND-1 conversion. Five consecutive points when his program needed him most. Freidel capped an amazing senior season with 29 points as Tea Area won their first state basketball title after finishing as runner-ups to Madison in the 11A football championship. 


Was a big night for the Freidel/Wollman family as Noah Freidel, the younger brother, added 16 points and nine rebounds in the 72-65 win for Tea Area.


Had an intersting telephone conversation with the Freidel boys father, Pat, yesterday. Guess somewhere in the midst of growing up idolozing the late 70's Armour Packers I misconstrued Pat's age. Found out he's an 85 graduate like myself and not long into our conversation, Freidel mentioned dropping the State B opener to Mobridge his senior year.


"Weren't they kind of pedestrian," I asked.


"Eleven and eleven," came the reply.


Oh yes, it all came flooding back. Freidel's Packers were having a magnificent season in 1985. Undefeated, 23-0, somehow the Burnell Glanzer group lost to an unheralded Mobridge team.


While Freidel went on to have a nice career at Augustana it's interesting how the flames of some of those TUFF defeats eat at us, a little, as we grow older.


At any rate, appreciated Mr. Freidel taking a minute to enlighten a blogger-guy from Mission South Dakota.


I asked him about the development of this years team, one that saw four losses on the season: Vermillion, Madison (56-48 in Tea on Jan. 6), Dell Rapids and a regular season-ending, head-scratching, 89-72 loss to Sioux Falls Christian. 


Well, Freidel was quick to point to his own kids with Ethan doing his thing pretty much every night and Noah's game expanding exponentially during the season, he also noted that the team kept getting better as everyone on the team just got better at their roles.


"A block here, a rebound there, a defensive close-out when it mattered, everyone on the team really stepped up," Freidel said. 


Sophomore, Kade Stearns contributed 12 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in the championship game.


Sophomore, Justin Hohn-Mack scored 9 points and grabbed 4 rebounds.


Senior, Payton Conrad contributed 2 points, 4 boards and an assist.


Sophomore Kaleb Joffer added 4 points, five boards.


Junior Seth Kocker didn't score but had 3 rebounds and an assist while holding his own agains the Big-ish Bulldogs. 


Asked Freidel if his kids knew any of the stories about the old Armour Packers. He said they did and had seen pictures and videos. Guessing they heard their dad talked about the one that slipped away (Lyman County beat Salem for the 85 state title) and when it got tight, there was no way this one was going south.


Congratulations to Tea Area for really having a successful season in athletics so far. Yes, we're aware of that super sprinter you have in girls track...Will be watching. 

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