Boys Basketball Preview 2022-23

Page 1

Setyourgoalshigh,anddon’tstoptill yougetthere. Wishingallareateamsthebestofluckthisseason! Playhardandhavefun! WWW.CHRISTIANSONCPA.COM Willmar •320.235.5937 |Litchfield •320.373.1040 |Paynesville •320.235.5937 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 COMPREHENSIVE LOOK AT WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA TEAMS BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23

Things are looking up for Cardinals

Willmar returns six seniors, including all-conference forward Schoolmeester, for Holtkamp's second season as coach

WILLMAR — The Willmar Cardinals started slowly and ended strong in 2021-22 under the direction of new head coach Jeff Holtkamp. Holtkamp, a long-time assistant, is back for his second season hoping that his squad picks up where they left off.

“We finished the previous year playing our best basketball at the end of the season,” Holtkamp said. “We hope that will carry over to the beginning of the season.”

There are plenty of reasons it could happen. Willmar returns six seniors who all played key minutes last season from a squad that went 7-20,

including 4-12 in the Central Lakes Conference. The Cards closed winning four of their last six games, including three of their last four, before falling 46-45 at Sauk Rapids in the first round of the Section 8AAA playoffs.

“We have multiple players (who) can play inside and out,” Holtkamp said.

CARDINALS: Page 3

West Central Tribune file photo Willmar junior Blake Schoolmeester (23) celebrates with the Cardinals’ bench during the Cardinals’ late comeback run in the first half against NLS on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, in Willmar.

2 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23 www.waltscarwash.com Supporting the Community and Area Athletes! Best of luck to all the 2022 Winter Sports Teams! ~Locally Owned~
Willmar Cardinals ................. 2-4 NLS Wildcats ........................ 5-6 ACGC Falcons ........................... 7 BBE Jaguars ............................ 8 Benson Braves ......................... 9 BOLD Warriors ...................... 10 CMCS Bluejays ....................... 11 CCS Eagles ............................. 12 DB Blackjacks ........................ 13 KMS Fighting Saints .............. 14 LQPV Eagles .......................... 15 Litchfield Dragons ................. 16 MACCRAY Wolverines ............ 17 Minnewaska Lakers ............... 18 Montevideo Thunder Hawks .. 19 Paynesville Bulldogs .............. 20 RCW Jaguars .................... 21-22 YME Sting ............................. 23 INDEX
Corner of 1st St & Willmar Ave. Credits The West Central Tribune’s Boys Basketball Preview 2022-23 was written, edited and photographed by sports writers Michael Lyne and Joe Brown, sports editor Tom Elliott and photographer Macy Moore. File photos by Matthew Curry.

The six seniors back are Jacob Streed, Simon Radermacher, Nathan Marthaler, Tyler Kowalczyk, Khalid Muhumed, Samuel Raitz, Schoolmeester and Max Mobley.

Streed is a 5-foot-10 senior guard with “good court vision,” said Holtkamp, who added he “gets teammates involved. (He) will be the floor leader.”

Rademacher is a 5-11 guard who is a good outside shooter. Marthaler is a 5-9 guard whom Holtkamp said will “give the team solid minutes and make good decisions.”

Kowalczyk is a 6-1 forward who is a hard worker. Muhumed is a 6-3 guard/forward who Holtkamp said can play anywhere on the court. “He’s really improved as a shooter,” the coach said. “He runs the floor well and will score in transition.”

Raitz is a 6-3 guard whom Holtkamp describes as an “athletic wing (who) can play inside or outside.” Raitz averaged 8 points per game last season, shooting 53% from the field and 41% on three-pointers. He’s been on the varsity since ninth grader.

Schoolmeester is a 6-6 forward who is the Cardinals’ leading returning scorer and rebounder at 10.9 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He also earned All-Central Lakes Conference honors and is in his fourth year on the varsity.

Mobley is a 6-5 guard with a big wingspan. He’s a defensive stopper who can play all five positions.

Holtkamp’s concerns are rebounding, taking care of the ball and staying healthy.

“Our schedule will be tough,” Holtkamp said. “The Central Lakes Conference has many quality teams and our nonconference schedule includes a lot of strong opponents.” ◀

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players
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West Central Tribune file photo Willmar junior Khalid Muhumed goes up for a midrange jumper on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, in Willmar.
“They
have worked extremely hard at
practice and we have good team chemistry.”
From Page 2
CARDNIALS
West Central Tribune file photo Willmar junior Samuel Raitz attempts to box out Alexander 6-foot-8 sophomore Grayson Grove on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Willmar. West Central Tribune file photo Willmar junior Blake Schoolmees shoots over Marshall defender Bryant Paulson on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, in Willmar.

Willmar Cardinals Varsity Boys Winter Sports

Thursday, Dec 8, 2022

Wrestling: Varsity Triangular 5:00 PM

Multiple Schools Willmar High School

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Morris/Benson Storm Willmar Civic Center

Saturday, Dec 9, 2022

Wrestling: Varsity Triangular TBD Away vs. Multiple Schools Marshall High School Wrestling: Varsity Game 5:00 PM Away vs. Marshall Marshall Middle School Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Brainerd Willmar High School

Saturday, Dec 10, 2022

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 1:00 PM Prairie Centre Willmar Civic Center

Tuesday, Dec 13, 2022

Wrestling: Varsity Triangular 5:00 PM Multiple Schools Willmar High School

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Away vs. Alexandria Area HS......Alexandria Area HS Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM St. Cloud Crush ........... Willmar - Civic Center

Thursday, Dec 15, 2022

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Away vs. Fergus Falls..FF Roosevelt - Hockey Arena Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:30 PM Sartell .......................... Willmar High School

Friday, Dec 16, 2022

Wrestling: Varsity Invitational TBD Away vs. TBD Rochester Mayo Civic Center

Saturday, Dec 17, 2022

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game TBD Away vs. Little Falls ..... Little Falls High School

Wrestling: Varsity Invitational TBD Away vs. TBD Rochester Mayo Civic Center

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 3:30 PM Redwood Valley Willmar Civic Center

Tuesday, Dec 20, 2022

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Away vs. Becker Becker High School

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:30 PM Marshall Willmar Civic Center

Thursday, Dec 29, 2022

Basketball: Boys Varsity Invitational TBD Redwood Valley Willmar High School Friday, Dec 30, 2022

Basketball: Boys Varsity Invitational TBD New London-Spicer Willmar High School

Tuesday, Jan 3, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:00 PM Away vs. Hutchinson Hutchinson High School

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM

Becker Willmar Civic Center

Thursday, Jan 5, 2023

Wrestling: Varsity Match 5:00 PM

Away vs. Multiple Schools...Melrose Area High School

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Rocori - River Lakes Willmar - Civic Center

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Friday, Jan 6, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM

St. Cloud Tech Willmar High School

Saturday, Jan 7, 2023

Wrestling: Varsity Invitational 9:00 AM

Away vs. Multiple Schools..Eden Prairie High School Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 1:30 PM Away vs. Detroit Lakes...Detroit Lakes High School

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2023

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Sartell Willmar - Civic Center

Thursday, Jan 12, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Away vs. St. Cloud Apollo...St. Cloud Apollo H.S.

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:30 PM

Sauk Rapids-Rice Willmar - Civic Center

Saturday, Jan 14, 2023

Wrestling: Varsity Invitational 9:00 AM

Away vs. Multiple Schools St. Cloud Tech High School

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 1:30 PM

Jordan Willmar High School

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 5:00 PM Away vs. Litchfield Litchfield Civic Arena Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Rocori Willmar High School

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Away vs. Benson ........ Benson Civic Center Thursday, Jan 19, 2023

Wrestling: Varsity Triangular 5:00 PM Away vs. Multiple Schools...Rocori H.S. Friday, Jan 20, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Away vs. Fergus Falls.. Fergus Falls High School Saturday, Jan 21, 2023

Wrestling: Varsity Invitational 10:00 AM Away vs. Multiple Schools...Hutchinson High School Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023

Wrestling: Varsity Triangular 5:00 PM Away vs. Multiple Schools...Little Falls High School Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 5:30 PM Away vs. Alexandria Area HS...Alexandria - Runestone Community Center

Thursday, Jan 26, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Sauk Rapids-Rice Willmar High School Friday, Jan 27, 2023

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 5:00 PM Away vs. Sauk Centre...Sauk Centre Ice Arena Saturday, Jan 28, 2023

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game TBD Away vs. Moose Lake

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Away vs. Brainerd Brainerd H.S.

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Thursday, Feb 2, 2023

Wrestling: Varsity Triangular 5:00 PM

Away vs. Multiple Schools St. Cloud Tech H.S.

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:30 PM

Becker Willmar High School

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:30 PM Fergus Falls Willmar - Civic Center

Friday, Feb 3, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Alexandria Area HS Willmar High School

Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:00 PM

Away vs. Redwood Valley Redwood Valley High School

Monday, Feb 6, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM

Monticello - MN Willmar High School

Tuesday, Feb 7, 2023

Wrestling: Varsity Triangular 5:00 PM

Multiple Schools Willmar High School

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM

Away vs. Brainerd Brainerd Sports Center

Thursday, Feb 9, 2023

Wrestling: Varsity Triangular 5:00 PM

Multiple Schools Willmar High School

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Away vs. Sartell Sartell High School

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Away vs. Rocori - River Lakes....Richmond - Arena

Saturday, Feb 11, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 2:45 PM

Little Falls Willmar High School

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 3:45 PM

Northern Lakes .................. Willmar - Civic Center

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2023

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:00 PM Away vs. Wadena-Deer Creek...Wadena Ice Arena

Thursday, Feb 16, 2023

Hockey: Boys Varsity Game 7:00 PM Away vs. Park Rapids Area...Park Rapids H.S.

Friday, Feb 17, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Away vs. St. Cloud Tech St. Cloud Tech H.S. - Gym

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM St. Cloud Apollo Willmar High School

Thursday, Feb 23, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Away vs. Rocori Rocori High School

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Fergus Falls ........................ Willmar High School

Friday, Mar 3, 2023

Basketball: Boys Varsity Game 7:15 PM Away vs. Sauk Rapids-Rice Sauk Rapids-Rice H.S.

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4 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23

NLS Wildcats get a late start because of football

With eight of 15 players in the Prep Bowl, New London-Spicer hasn't had more than half its varsity team taking part in early season practices

NEW LONDON — On paper, this should be a really good season for the New London-Spicer boys basketball team.

Reality, however, is that the Wildcats may be headed to a slower start in hoops than most.

“Eight of our 15 players are playing in the Prep Bowl and are missing the first two weeks of practice,” head coach Skip Wright said. “We are excited for our football team and looking forward to getting our whole team back on the court following the Prep Bowl.”

Four starters return from a team that went 6-8 in the Wright County Conference West Division and 14-13 overall. The Wildcats opened Section 3AA play by beating Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 81-36 and then losing to West Central Area 54-44. A key loss from that squad was Peyton Coahran, an all-conference guard who started for three seasons and is now playing golf at Division II Winona State.

Returning are Aeden Andresen, Mason Delzer, Grant Paffrath and Brycen Christensen.

WILDCATS: Page 6

NLS WILDCATS

2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule

Dec. 1 at Morris/Chokio-Alberta

Dec. 9 at Paynesville

Dec. 13 at Minnewaska Dec. 15 at Melrose

Dec. 20 vs. ATWATER-COSMOS-GROVE CITY

Dec. 22 at Eden Valley-Watkins

Dec. 29 vs. Lac qui Parle Valley at Willmar

Dec. 30 at Willmar

Jan. 5 at Montevideo

Jan. 9 vs. BELGRADE-BROOTEN-ELROSA

Jan. 10 vs. LITCHFIELD

Jan. 13 at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted

Jan. 17 at Annandale

Jan. 19 vs. DASSEL-COKATO

Jan. 20 at Redwood Valley

Jan. 24 at Glencoe-Silver Lake

Jan. 31 vs. WATERTOWN-MAYER

Feb. 3 at Rockford

Feb. 7 vs. HOWARD LAKE-WAVERLY-WINSTED

Feb. 10 vs. ANNANDALE

Feb. 14 at Dassel-Cokato

Feb. 16 at Sauk Centre

Feb. 17 vs. GLENCOE-SILVER LAKE

Feb. 21 at Litchfield Feb. 24 at Watertown-Mayer

Feb. 28 vs. ROCKFORD

Check the schools website for an updated events list

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Joe Brown / West Central Tribune NLS junior Aedan Andresen (right) tries to drive around Montevideo’s Andrew Van Binsbergen during a non-conference game Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at New London.

Andresen is a 6-foot-1 senior guard. Delzer is a 6-2 junior guard and the starting running back on the football team.

Paffrath is a 6-3 junior forward who earned honorable-mention allconference honors last season.

Christensen is a 6-4 senior forward who made the West Central Tribune All-Area basketball team and was all-conference.

Players to watch this season include Gabe Rohman, a 6-2 senior forward who was the Wildcats’ sixth man last season. Wright calls him an “outstanding defensive

player.”

Paul Meier, a 6-6 senior center, Nixon Harrier, a 6-1 senior guard, and Konnor Rohloff, a 6-2 senior guard, are also expected to contribute.

“Our strengths include experience, athleticism and great team chemistry,” Wright said. “With good senior leadership, hard work and a little luck we hope to make some noise this season.”

That is, as soon as most of the Wildcats get back on the basketball court after a wildly successful football season. ◀

WRIGHT

NLS sophomore Grant Paffrath moments before scoring his lone two points on a mid-range jumper against LQPV in the Bremer Bank Classic on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, in Willmar

New London-Spicer junior Aeden Andresen goes up for a shot against LQPV forward Eli Hegland on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, in Willmar.

6 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23
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West Central Tribune file photo West Central Tribune file photo
With good senior leadership, hard work and a little luck we hope to make some noise this season. SKIP

Three starters should give ACGC a good start

GROVE CITY — Coming off a 9-17 overall record in its 2021-22 campaign, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City returns three starters to its lineup for 2022-23.

Those three Falcons’ returning starters are two seniors in wing Thor Goerish and guard Sam Rouser, and one junior in guard Kyler Pickle.

Standing at 6-feet-2, Goerish leads the pack of returners as he “will be counted on to contribute even more this season,” said ACGC head coach Terry Miller.

watch as the season gets underway.

Pickle averaged 8.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists per game in his sophomore season.

“(Kyler’s a) great allaround athlete. (He) can shoot the ball, as well as get to the basket,” said Miller, who’s at the helm of the Falcons program for his 21st season.

The last player to watch mentioned by Miller is sophomore Marcus Forsythe. He is a post player listed at 6-5. He’s another player ACGC will look to count on this season.

Kokenge, a 2022 grad, was an all-conference member and the Falcons’ most valuable player. He averaged 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in 2021-22.

Other key losses for the Falcons heading into the 2022-23 season include: Brock Denton, Landon Blom and Hunter Powers. ◀

West Central Tribune file photo ACGC sophomore Kyler Pickle looks for an open teammate after getting the ball at the top of the key against YME on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, in Granite Falls.

Goerish was named to the All-Central Minnesota Conference team in 202122, recording 333 points, 114 rebounds, 32 assists, 21 steals and 14 blocks.

Alongside Goerish, Miller mentioned that Pickle is also a player to

“(Marcus) will be counted on to pick up some of the slack we lost with the graduation of Alex Kokenge,” Miller said. “(Marcus has) good touch around the basket and runs the floor well for a big man.”

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ACGC FALCONS

2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule

Dec. 2 at Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg

Dec. 6 vs. Redwood Valley

Dec. 8 vs. Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart

Dec. 13 vs. Yellow Medicine East

Dec. 16 vs. Paynesville

Dec. 19 at Upsala

Dec. 20 at New London-Spicer

Jan. 3 at Dassel-Cokato

Jan. 5 at Holdingford

Jan. 10 vs. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa

Jan. 13 at Royalton

Jan. 17 vs. Montevideo

Jan. 19 at Kimball

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Litchfield Location 511 Polydome Dr. Litchfield, MN 55355 320.693.6014

Jan. 24 at Eden Valley-Watkins

Jan. 27 vs. Maple Lake

Feb. 2 at Paynesville

Feb. 4 at Benson

Feb. 7 vs. Holdingford

Feb. 10 at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa

Feb. 13 at Maccray

Feb. 16 vs. Royalton

Feb. 21 vs. Kimball

Feb. 23 vs. Central Minnesota Christian

Feb. 24 vs. Eden Valley-Watkins

Feb. 28 at Maple Lake

Check the schools website for an updated events list

Schedule sponsored by:

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BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 7
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BBE is back for more this season

Jaguars return Pieper, Dingmann from a state Class A runner-up team

BELGRADE — After being on the cusp of a championship last season, Belgrade-BrootenElrosa is hoping for a return to form in 2022-23.

Sure, the path to another Class A state championship berth will be tough after losing Ashton Dingmann, Will VanBeck, Gavin Kampsen and Gannon Walsh to graduation. But the Jaguars are preparing to be one of the best small-school teams in Minnesota.

“We are looking forward to who will step up and fill those gaps,” BBE head coach Chris Anderson said about filling in for his quartet of outgoing players.

He continued, “Our team had a great summer filled with skill work, weight lifting and tournaments. We have a challenging nonconference and conference schedule that we hope will prepare us for the playoffs.”

Two vital cogs to last season’s state run are back for the Jaguars.

Kaden Pieper is back after being named the 2022 Central Minnesota Conference Player of the Year and an All-Tournament showing in the Class A tournament. In ‘21-’22, Pieper averaged a team-high 19.3 points on 49.6% shooting. He also hauled in 6.1 rebounds per game and had a team-high 69 steals.

Then there’s junior Luke Dingmann. A 6-foot3 guard/forward, Dingmann was named AllTournament as well as a CMC first-teamer. He averaged 11.2 points along with a team-best 7.4 rebounds per game and 25 blocks.

A player Anderson looks to make a leap in ‘22’23 is 6-2 senior forward Tanner Shelton.

“(Tanner) brings a ton of energy on both sides of the floor,” Anderson said. “He provides great leadership to our team and is a very unselfish player. He does the little things that not many players are willing to do but make a huge impact in the game.”

The Jaguars open the season ranked second in Class A. They are behind defending state champion Hayfield, which beat BBE 51-49 in the state championship last season.

“With many new faces playing different roles, it might take us some time to find our identity,” said Anderson, who is heading into year nine with the Jaguars.

“We have a great group of players who are fun to coach and most importantly, great student-athletes.

As a coaching staff, we are extremely excited for the start of our season and the journey ahead.”

JAQUARS

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8 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23 Sponsored by: Belgrade Brooten Elrosa School www.bbejaguars.org 320-254-8211 DEC. 6 .................................. AT OSAKIS DEC. 15 ................................. AT ASHBY DEC. 16 .................... AT HOLDINGFORD DEC. 22 VS. MINNEWASKA DEC. 29 VS. MOUNTAIN IRON-BUHL AT ST. CLOUD TECH DEC. 30 ............... VS. CASS LAKE-BENA AT ST. CLOUD APOLLO JAN. 5 ........ VS. EDEN VALLEY-WATKINS JAN. 6 AT UPSALA JAN. 9 AT NEW LONDON-SPICER JAN. 10... AT ATWATER-COSMOS-GROVE CITY JAN. 19............................ AT ROYALTON JAN. 24 ...................... AT PAYNESVILLE JAN. 26 .............................VS. KIMBALL JAN. 27 .................... VS. SAUK CENTRE FEB. 2 ...................... VS. HOLDINGFORD FEB. 4 ....................... VS. BROWERVILLE FEB. 7 AT EDEN VALLEY-WATKINS FEB. 10 ... VS. ATWATER-COSMOS-GROVE CITY FEB. 16 VS. MAPLE LAKE FEB.17 ... AT KERKHOVEN-MURDOCK-SUNBURG
21 ........................... VS.
ROYALTON
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BRANDON-EVANSVILLE
24 ..................... VS.
PAYNESVILLE
28 AT
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Athletes! Make this your best season ever!
KIMBALL MAR.
HANCOCK 2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule
Go BBE JAGUAR
West Central Tribune file photo BBE sophomore Luke Dingmann charges to the bucket against Osakis on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Brooten. West Central Tribune file photo BBE junior Kaden Pieper passes to an open teammate against Osakis on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Brooten.

Braves will lean on their guards

BENSON — Benson enters its 2022-23 campaign with a load of youthfulness and a pair of returning starters that will look to build on the Braves’ 2021-22 season that ended with a 4-24 overall record.

“We graduated a lot of seniors last year,” said Benson head coach Michael Felt, whose team graduated five seniors. “We will be a very young team, but with a lot of potential.

“These young players will be led by two returning starters, who put up good

numbers and playing time for us last year.”

Felt will look toward his two returning starters, senior shooting guard Juan Espinoza and junior combo guard Blake Brehmer, to lead the Braves.

Espinoza is coming off a junior season where he was honored as an All-West Central Conference member. He led Benson in scoring, averaging 14.1 points and 33 minutes per contest.

Brehmer is fresh off his sophomore campaign, where he was named a West Central Conference honorable mention after averaging 7.8 points and 2.2 assists

per game.

Felt mentioned Espinoza and Brehmer are Benson’s players to watch.

Felt is in his second season leading the Braves. He’s a former West Central Tribune All-Area Team player from Redwood Valley who played four seasons at Division I North Dakota State. One of his assistants is former Benson head coach Adam Jensen, who is Felt’s brother-in-law.

The Braves opened their season Dec. 1 against Border West and were scheduled to open conference play Dec. 9 at Montevideo. ◀

2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule

at Morris/ChokioAlberta Jan. 10

at Lac qui Parle Valley Jan. 31

vs� ATWATERCOSMOS-GROVE CITY Feb. 7

Dec. 17, 2021,

BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 9 Benson Public Schools Best of Luck to the 2022 Braves Basketball Team! 1400 Montana Ave. Benson, MN 56215 • www.benson.k12.mn.us • 320-843-2710
Benson Braves
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Check the school’s website for an updated events list Schedule sponsored by: BENSON PUBLIC SCHOOLS www.benson.k12.mn.us | 320-843-2710
Dec. 1
vs, BORDER WEST Dec. 9
at Montevideo Dec. 13
at Ortonville Dec. 16
vs� ROTHSAY Dec. 22
vs� DAWSON-BOYD Jan. 3
BOLD Jan. 6
vs� WEST CENTRAL Jan. 12
at Melrose Jan. 20
at Minnewaska Jan. 24
vs� SAUK CENTRE Jan. 26
vs� MELROSE Jan. 27
at BOLD Feb. 3
vs� MONTEVIDEO Feb. 4
vs� MINNEWASKA Feb. 9
at Sauk Centre Feb. 13
vs� SWANVILLE Feb. 14
at Upsala Feb. 17
vs� MORRIS/CHOKIOALBERTA Feb. 21
at West Central Feb. 23
at Yellow Medicine East Feb. 28
vs� ASHBY
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune Benson sophomore Blake Brehmer dribbles the ball inside the arc during a first-round game of the Case IH Tournament against Clinton-GracevilleBeardsley on Friday, at Benson.

BOLD is young, but looking good

Two key starters return from a team that went 20-9 last season

OLIVIA — BOLD enters its 202223 campaign with youthfulness and two key returners that will look to help the Warriors build on their 20-9 overall record and 7-5 West Central Conference mark from the 2021-22 season.

“We will be a young team this year with a few guys getting their first shot at big varsity minutes,” BOLD head coach Jake Brustuen said. “But we bring back our leading scorer and rebounder as well as our starting point guard from last season.”

The two key returners to lead the way are senior forward Ryan King and sophomore guard Jack Gross. Both are listed at 6-feet-3.

King is fresh off a ‘21-22 season as an All-West Central Conference member. He averaged 18 points and 7 rebounds per game in his junior season. Gross is coming off an AllWest Central honorable mention. He averaged 8 points, 4 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.2 steals per game.

At the helm for his sixth season

at BOLD, Brustuen also mentioned sophomore forward Will Penkert, junior forward Andrew Meyers and senior forward Braden Gass as players to watch.

“We have four players (who) saw varsity action last season back in the rotation and looking to take the next step in the program,” Brustuen said. 2021-22 season. Before that, however, BOLD went 27-2 in ‘201920, 22-4 in 2018-19 and 22-7 in 2017-18. This season holds a similar promise. ◀

BOLD WARRIORS

2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule

Dec. 2 vs. CENTRAL MINNESOTA CHRISTIAN Dec. 9 at Melrose Dec. 15 vs. MONTEVIDEO

Dec. 16 vs. RENVILLE COUNTY WEST Dec. 19 at Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart

Dec. 22 vs. SPRINGFIELD

Dec. 23 vs. YELLOW MEDICINE EAST Dec. 29 vs. Nevis at St. Cloud Tech Dec. 30 vs. Northwoods at Sartell

Jan. 26 at Minnewaska

Jan. 27 at Minneota

Jan. 31 vs. BENSON

Feb. 3 vs. MELROSE

Feb. 6 vs. GIBBON-FAIRFAX-WINTHROP Feb. 9 at Montevideo

Feb. 11 vs. NEW ULM CATHEDRAL

Feb. 14 vs. SAUK CENTRE

Feb. 21 at Morris/Chokio-Alberta Feb. 24 at West Central SOLUTIONS, SERVICE & SUPPORT EST. 1948

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Jan. 3 at Benson Jan. 6 at Sauk Centre

Jan. 10 vs. MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA

Jan. 12 vs. MINNEWASKA

Jan. 13 at Cedar Mountain Jan. 20 vs. WEST CENTRAL Jan. 23 at Mayer Lutheran

10 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23
West Central Tribune www.wctrib.com To Subscribe call 320-235-1154 Check the schools website for a updated events list Schedule sponsored by:
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune BOLD junior Ryan King (5) goes up for a layup attempt while Morris/CA’s Jackson Loge (22) goes for a block during the first half of a West Central Conference game Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, at Bird Island.

Bluejays hope to fill a void with returning talent

With three key seniors gone, CMCS will be led by Bulthuis and Marcus

PRINSBURG — Fresh off a 2021-22 season with a 25-4 overall record, the Central Minnesota Christian Bluejays will look toward their returning players to step up after losing three key starters.

“With graduating 70 percent of last year’s scoring, there will be a lot of opportunity for returning players to fill new roles,” said CMCS head coach Ted Taatjes, who’s at the helm of the Bluejays program for a 14th season.

Key roster losses include Case Mulder, Ben Van Eps and Caleb Vander Beek. The trio helped lead CMCS to a section championship appearance last season and a state tournament berth in 2021.

As Taatjes and CMCS turn to a new chapter, they will look toward their two returning starters to help fill the void of lost scoring.

Those two returners are AllCamden Conference member and senior shooting guard Ethan Bulthuis and senior guard Brayden Marcus.

Bulthuis notched 421 points and averaged 14.5 points per game in 29 contests in 2021-22. He also tallied 154 rebounds, 38 steals, 18 assists and 13 blocks. Marcus had 78 points, adding 75 rebounds, 27 assists, 12 steals and one block in 29 games.

Alongside Bulthuis, sophomore point guard Drew Duininck and junior center Ryan Harrington are players to watch, per Taatjes.

“Ethan finished last season playing at a very high level,” Taatjes said. “Drew and Ryan both put a lot of time in the gym this summer. They will both be relied upon to carry more responsibility on both ends of the court.” ◀

CMCS BLUEJAYS 2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule

Dec. 2 at BOLD

Dec. 3 vs. BUFFALO LAKEHECTOR-STEWART

Dec. 6 vs. LAC QUI PARLE VALLEY

Dec. 9 at MACCRAY Dec. 15 at Kerkhoven-MurdockSunburg

Dec. 16 vs. MONTEVIDEO Dec. 20 at Dawson-Boyd Jan. 3 vs. RENVILLE COUNTY WEST

Jan. 6 at Russell-Tyler-Ruthton

Jan. 10 vs. MINNEOTA

Jan. 13 at Yellow Medicine East

Jan. 19 vs. CANBY Jan. 23 at Lakeview

Jan. 26 vs. TRACY-MILROYBALATON

Jan. 28 at Southwest Minnesota Christian

Jan. 31 vs. MACCRAY

Feb. 3 at Lac qui Parle Valley

Feb. 4 vs. ORTONVILLE

Feb. 7 vs. KERKHOVENMURDOCK-SUNBURG

Feb. 9 vs. DAWSON-BOYD

Feb. 14 at Renville County West

Feb. 16 vs. WABASSO

Feb. 17 at Ortonville

Feb. 23 at Atwater-CosmosGrove City

BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 11
Central Minnesota Christian School www.cmcschool.org • 320-978-8700
Schedule sponsored by:
Take it to the HOOP!
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune CMCS junior Ethan Bulthuis, right, makes a jump pass to teammate Ben Van Eps (24) against Barnesville during the Bremer Bank Holiday Classic Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, at Willmar.

CCS hopes that experience counts

With

five

seniors, Eagles aim to win CAL championship

WILLMAR — Boasting its largest senior class in program history, the Community Christian School Eagles will look to take home the Christian Athletic League Conference championship.

“Our goal is to win the conference this year,” Eagles head coach Aaron Reid said. “Having five seniors on the team with a school our size, that should put us in a good position as long as we execute well and play together as a team.”

The Eagles are coming off a 202122 season where they took third place at the CAL tournament and finished with a 14-8 record.

CCS has already played one game in its 2022-23 season, winning 65-44 over Victory Christian on Nov. 18. A team without any juniors, the CCS senior class will look to blend with four sophomores and five freshmen in hopes of carrying over their success from 2021-22.

“It’s really exciting to be a part of this group,” Reid said. “They’ve meant a lot to the school. They mean a lot to the classes coming up behind them. They’ve been a part of the program — for a lot of them — since they were in fourth grade.”

Four of CCS’ seniors — point guard Will Chapin, forward/center Jonny Reid, guard Mark Arnold and Ben Reinertson — return to the team’s starting lineup.

Reid and Chapin are players to watch. Both are chasing 1,000 career points. Reid needs 216 more points and Chapin needs 388.

Standing at 6-feet-6, Reid paced the Eagles’ offense with 373 points and led the team with 213 rebounds. He averaged 17 points, 9.7 assists and 2.8 assists per game before earning all-conference and all-tournament team honors.

Chapin is coming off an allconference junior season where he ranked second on the Eagles in scoring with 244 points on 35.5% shooting from the field. He averaged 10.6 points, 4.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game, leading the team with 106 assists and 60 steals.

“Both of those guys are coming into this season hungry,” Reid said. “They want to go out on a high note. They both have goals of trying to hit 1,000 points this season. They want to win our conference and get some postseason opportunities, so they’re excited about this year.” ◀

CCS Eagles senior Will Chapin passes the ball during a game against the Victory Christian Knights on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at Community Christian School.

CCS EAGLES

2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule

Nov. 18 vs. VICTORY CHRISTIAN Nov. 29 at Fourth Baptist Christian Dec. 2 at Coulee Christian tournament Dec. 3 at Coulee Christian tournament Dec. 5 at Faith Christian Dec. 13 at Lake Region Christian Dec. 16 at Cambridge Christian

Dec. 19 vs. NORTH METRO BLAZERS Dec. 31 vs. Immanuel Lutheran at Target Center

Jan. 3 vs. IMMANUEL LUTHERAN Jan. 10 at Maplewood Academy

Jan. 13 vs. South Metro at Free Lutheran Bible College Jan. 20 at St. Cloud Christian Jan. 23 at Valley Christian Jan. 26 vs. CAMBRIDGE CHRISTIAN Jan. 30 vs. North Metro Blazers at Free Lutheran Bible College Feb. 3 vs. VALLEY CHRISTIAN Feb. 7 at Immanuel Lutheran Feb. 10 vs. SOUTH METRO Feb. 13 vs. LAKE REGION CHRISTIAN Feb. 14 vs. FOURTH BAPTIST CHRISTIAN Feb. 21 vs. ST. CLOUD CHRISTIAN

Schedule sponsored by:

12 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23
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Check the school’s website for a updated events list www.willmarccs.com Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune CCS Eagles senior Jonny Reid passes the ball to senior teammate Mark Arnold during a game against the Victory Christian Knights on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at Community Christian School. Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Experienced Blackjacks hope to make a long run

DAWSON — Behind four returning starters, including a pair of top-tier talents in the Camden Conference, Dawson-Boyd has its sights set high in 2022-23.

Back in the mix for the Blackjacks is head coach Cory Larson, who has a record of 287-149 in 17 seasons at his alma mater.

“(This is an) experienced group returning that will work hard consistently and keep their focus on getting better,” Larson said. “We need to defend with consistency and be efficient offensively if we want to compete with the top teams in our conference/section.”

D-B was 18-9 last season, including 10-6 in the Camden Conference North Division. The Blackjacks’ season ended against eventual section champion Russell-Tyler-Ruthton in the second round of the Section 3A-North tournament.

In the backcourt, senior Keegon Wicht is back to orchestrate D-B’s offense. Standing at 6-foot, Wicht was second team All-Area after averaging 18.8 points and 4.5 assists per game.

Two other seniors — 6-1 forward Aiden Swenson and 6-1 guard Levi

Olson — are also back in the starting five. Swenson averaged 7.1 points and 5.0 rebounds last season. Olson had 8.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest.

The Blackjacks also have a towering presence at guard with 6-foot-6 sophomore Brayson Boike. As a freshman, Boike averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

Senior Carter Bowen and sophomore Drew Hjelmeland are also returning letterwinners that’ll add depth to D-B’s lineup. Four newcomers also look to break the Blackjacks’ lineup in senior Gavin Stulz, sophomores Kade Solem and Beau Johnson, and freshman Gunner Liebl. ◀

DAWSON BOYD BLACKJACKS 2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule

Dec. 1 at Ortonville Dec. 5 vs. Pipestone Dec. 9 at KerkhovenMurdock-Sunburg

Dawson-Boyd junior Keegon Wicht, right, gets by YME’s Owen Torvik for a layup attempt during a Camden Conference game Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, at Granite Falls.

Dec. 13 vs. Renville County West Dec. 15 at Lac Qui Parle Valley Dec. 20 vs. Central Minnesota Christian Dec. 22 at Benson Jan. 3 at Maccray Jan. 6 at Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Jan. 7 at Southwest Minnesota Christian Jan. 10 vs. RussellTyler-Ruthton Jan. 13 at Minneota Jan. 20 vs. Yellow Medicine East Jan. 23 at Canby Jan. 24 vs. Ortonville Jan. 26 vs. Lakeview Jan. 31 vs. KerkhovenMurdock-Sunburg

Feb. 3 at Renville County West Feb. 7 vs. Lac Qui Parle Valley Feb. 9 at Central Minnesota Christian Feb. 13 vs Wabasso Feb. 14 vs Maccray Feb. 16 vs. Montevideo

Check the schools website for a updated events list

Schedule sponsored by:

BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 13
WEST CENTRAL TRIBUNE WCTRIB.COM/SPORTS
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune Dawson-Boyd freshman Brayson Boike (5) drives the lane for a dunk attempt while YME’s Bryce Sneller goes up to defend during a Camden Conference game Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, at Granite Falls. Boike was fouled on the play. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

KMS has lots of potential

Despite losing four starters, Fighting Saints plan to improve upon last season's 17-10 record

KERKHOVEN — While light on starting experience, there is plenty of physical potential in the Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg lineup this season.

Three standouts are gone from last season’s Fighting Saints:AllArea first teamer Alex Call along with Gage Thorson and Drew Johnson. And, KMS was thrown a curveball during the football season when a projected starter, junior Jared Cortez, was lost due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Still, the excitement hasn’t been deterred for the Saints.

“We are excited to get started,” said head coach Matt Fragodt, who enters year 10 on the bench. “We do not return a lot of starters from last year but do return a lot of players with lots of varsity experience.”

In 2021-22, KMS went 17-10, including 10-6 in the Camden Conference North Division. They lost to eventual state finalist Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the second round of

the Section 6A-South tournament.

Senior Isaac Rudningen is back as a starter. A 6-foot-2 guard, Rudningen was KMS’ defensive MVP in ‘21-’22. He averaged 7.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.1 steals per game.

“Isaac is a very good defender, and offensively, he is great at passing the ball to open shooters,” Fragodt said. “He also is very good at getting to the basket and finishing. We expect him to have a good year on both sides of the ball.”

Two junior forwards look to add a strong presence for the Saints.

At 6-4 and 190 pounds, Hunter Kallstrom returns after putting up averages of 6.7 points and 6.7 rebounds.

“Hunter has a knack of knowing where the ball is going to go,” Fragodt said. “He is a very good rebounder and can finish underneath the basket. He is a very hard worker and that helps him on defense. He is also very strong so he is hard to stop.”

Adding a scoring touch is fellow junior Deandre Holloway. A 6-7, 180-pound forward, Holloway averaged 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks last season.

“Deandre is a true scorer; he can score from inside and outside,” Fragodt said. “His length helps him defensively. He can be used defensively outside on smaller guards but can also guard the basket. We will look for him to be a major offensive weapon.” ◀

Boys Basketball Schedule

KMS FIGHTING SAINTS 2022-23

December 2 vs. ATWATER-COSMOS-GROVE CITY

December 8 vs. ORTONVILLE

December 9 vs. DAWSON-BOYD

December 12 at MACCRAY

December 15 vs. CENTRAL MINNESOTA CHRISTIAN

December 20 at Renville County West

January 3 vs. LAC QUI PARLE VALLEY

January 5 vs. HILLCREST LUTHERAN

January 6 at Lakeview

January 10 vs. TRACY-MILROY-BALATON

January 13 at Russell-Tyler-Ruthton

January 19 vs. MINNEOTA

January 21 at Border West January 23 at Yellow Medicine East

January 27 vs. CANBY January 31 at Dawson-Boyd

February 3 vs. MACCRAY

February 7 at Central Minnesota Christian February 9 vs. RENVILLE COUNTY WEST

February 14 at Lac qui Parle Valley

February 17 vs BELGRADE-BROOTEN-ELROSA

February 23 at Ortonville

February 28 at Brandon-Evansville

Check the school’s website for an updated events list www.kms.k12.mn.us/

Schedule sponsored by:

14 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23
West Central Tribune www.wctrib.com • To Subscribe call 320-235-1154
West Central Tribune file photo KMS junior Isaac Rudningen, right, attempts to push into the paint against CMCS senior Ben Van Eps on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in Prinsburg. West Central Tribune file photo KMS sophomore DeAndre Holloway puts up a jumper against CMCS on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in Prinsburg.

New/old coach leads young LQPV

Rademacher returns to coach an Eagles squad with no returning starters

MADISON — After a 12-year hiatus, Robyn Rademacher is back at the helm for the Lac qui Parle Valley boys basketball team.

Rademacher previously coached the Eagles from 2001-08. He fills in for Barry Besonen.

He’ll also head a LQPV squad that will try to replace all five starters from 2021-22. The Eagles were 12-14 a season ago.

“We will be a young team that will be competing in a loaded Camden Conference this year,” Rademacher said. “The goal is to compete each night and give ourselves an opportunity to win in the last four minutes.”

LQPV

Gone are Landon Schirm, Kaiden Allpress, Hunter Conn, Blake Wollschlager and Will Giese. Allpress and Schirm were All-Camden picks a season ago, with Allpress scoring 16.3 points and Schirm 12.6 points.

In the front court, the Eagles will offer plenty of size. There’s 6-foot6 junior TJ Mitchell, 6-5 junior Eli Hegland and 6-foot-4 junior Kaden Molden. Then there’s 6-0 junior Peyton Rademacher, 5-11 sophomore Davis Patzer and 5-10 sophomore Matthew Arndt. A host of other sophomores will vie for playing time, according to Robyn Rademacher.

LQPV was 8-8 in the Camden last season and made the second round of the Section 3A-North playoffs. The Eagles’ season ended with a loss to sub-section champion Central Minnesota Christian.

“With a new nucleus to the varsity game, we will be feeling out the strength and speed early in the season,” Rademacher said. “We hope to be one of those teams as playoffs roll around that you don’t want to play against.” ◀

LQPV Eagles

2022-2023 Boys Basketball Schedule

Dec. 3 at Morris/Chokio-Alberta

Dec. 6 at Central Minnesota Christian

Dec. 9 at Renville County West

Dec. 15 vs. DAWSON-BOYD

Dec. 16 at Ortonville

Dec. 20 vs. MACCRAY

Jan. 3 at Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg

Jan. 6 at Canby

Jan. 9 vs. LAKEVIEW

Jan. 13 at Tracy-Milroy-Balaton

Jan. 19 vs. RUSSELL-TYLER-RUTHTON

Jan. 20 vs. ORTONVILLE

Jan. 23 at Minneota

Jan. 26 vs. YELLOW MEDICINE EAST

Jan. 27 vs. BENSON

Check the school’s website for an updated events list www.lqpv.org

Jan. 31 vs. RENVILLE COUNTY WEST

Feb. 3 vs. CENTRAL MINNESOTA CHRISTIAN

Feb. 7 at Dawson-Boyd

Feb. 9 at MACCRAY

Feb. 10 at Montevideo

Feb. 14 vs KERKHOVEN-MURDOCKSUNBURG

Feb. 16 vs. BORDER WEST Feb. 23 vs. HANCOCK

Schedule sponsored by:

BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 15
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West Central Tribune file photo LQPV sophomore TJ Mitchell attempts a block on a shot attempt by Dassel-Cokato’s Eli Gillman in the Bremer Bank Classic on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, in Willmar. West Central Tribune file photo sophomore T.J. Mitchell is at the free-throw line against NLS in the Bremer Bank Classic on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, in Willmar.

Litchfield has some size and experience to lead the way

Conference

LITCHFIELD — The Litchfield boys basketball team will once again be strong on the fundamentals, team-oriented and a strong man-to-man defensive team.

That’s been a formula that has worked well over the years and the Dragons hope that it will them to success in 2022-23.

Two starters return from a team that went 12-16, including 5-9 in the Wright County Conference West Division. They are Alex Draeger, head coach Matt Draeger’s son, and Blake Aller.

Alex Draeger is a 5-foot-11 senior guard who averaged a team-best

10.5 points per game in 202122. He’s a fine outside shooter who made 41% of his three-point attempts, going 80-for-198 from long distance.

Aller is a 6.2 junior guard who averaged 3.8 points per game.

Players to watch include: Jack McCann, Tyler Pennertz, Tucker Liestman, Garrison Jackman, Jacob Dietel and Gray Nelson.

McCann is a 5-11 junior guard. “Jack will play at the point and will provide some quickness and the ability to get to the basketball,” the coach said. “We look to him to run our offense.”

Pennertz is a 6-3 senior forward. “Tyler is very athletic,” Draeger said. “He will provide some help on

the glass and on the defensive end.”

Liestman is a 6-5 junior forward. “Tucker will provide some scoring punch for us,” Draeger said. “He should be a major contributor by the end of the year.”

Jackman is a 6-1 junior guard. “Garrison can play multiple positions,” Draeger said. “He has a high basketball IQ and will be a key component to our team.”

Dietel is a 6-1 junior forward. “Jacob will give us some post minutes,” Draeger said. “He’s a strong kid who can play real physical.”

Nelson is a 6-5 senior forward. “Gray should give us some rebounding off the bench,” Draeger said. ◀

LITCHFIELD DRAGONS

2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule

Dec. 1 at Paynesville

Dec. 8 at Eden Valley-Watkins

Dec. 10 vs. ROCORI Dec. 13 vs. MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA

Dec. 22 vs. ZUMBROTA-MAZEPPA

Dec. 28 vs. Spectrum at St. Cloud Cathedral Dec. 29 vs. Moose Lake-Willow River at St. Cloud Cathedral

Dec. 30 vs. Concordia Academy at St. Cloud Cathedral

Jan. 3 vs. MINNEWASKA

Jan. 6 at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Jan. 10 at New London-Spicer

Jan. 12 vs. ANNANDALE

Jan. 17 at Dassel-Cokato

Jan. 20 at Glencoe-Silver Lake

Jan. 24 at Watertown-Mayer

Jan. 26 vs. NORWOOD-YOUNG AMERICA

Jan. 31 vs. ROCKFORD

Feb. 2 vs. HOWARD LAKEWAVERLY-WINSTED

Feb. 7 at Annandale

Feb. 9 vs. DASSEL-COKATO

Feb. 14 vs. GLENCOE-SILVER LAKE

Feb. 17 vs. WATERTOWN-MAYER

Feb. 18 vs. HUTCHINSON

Feb. 21 vs. NEW LONDON-SPICER

Feb. 24 at Rockford

Feb. 28 at Melrose

Sponsored by CHRISTIANSON PLLP

www.christiansoncpa.com 194 S Litchfield Ave, Litchfield

DOOLEY’S PETROLEUM, INC. www.dooleypetro.com 1-800-520-2466

16 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23
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Check the schools website
West Central Tribune file photo Litchfield sophomore Blake Aller goes up for a contested short jumper over Annandale senior Robert Olson on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Litchfield. West Central Tribune file photo Litchfield junior Alex Draeger fires a 3-point jumper over Annandale senior Hawkin Miller on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Litchfield.
With two starters back, Dragons prepare for rigors of Wright County

MACCRAY hopes to build around Post

CLARA CITY — Bringing back its top scorer from a season ago, the MACCRAY Wolverines are hoping to climb up the Camden Conference North Division standings.

In 2021-22, MACCRAY went 10-17 overall and 5-11 in the Camden. The Wolverines were also 1-1 in the playoffs, opening with a win over Yellow Medicine East before bowing out versus Lakeview in the Section 3A-North bracket.

“We are returning nine letterwinners from last season’s team,” said Wolverines head coach Lucas Post, who is 48-51 going into his fifth season. “We will not have a senior on the roster this year. But we should have a decent amount of experience from our returning letterwinners and some promising additions that missed much of the season with injury last year.”

MACCRAY lost four players from last season’s roster, including doubledigit scorers Gavin Husman (12.7) and Brooks Asche (11.2). Back in the mix is the team’s top

offensive weapon, Isaac Post. A 6-foot junior, Post was an All-Camden Conference pick and second team AllArea after averaging 18.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game.

Jordan Warne will be paired with Isaac to add some front-line size for the Wolverines. Standing 6-6, Warne had averages of 8.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

Lucas Post envisions both Isaac and Warne as pillars to the Wolverines’ success this season.

“These two young men started every game they played in and will have a big impact on the game on both ends of the floor this season as they did last season,” Lucas Post said. “We expect them to elevate their game for their junior years and lead our teams.” ◀

MACCRAY WOLVERINES

Dec. 5 at Ortonville

Dec. 9 vs. CENTRAL MINNESOTA CHRISTIAN

Dec. 12 vs. KERKHOVENMURDOCK-SUNBURG

Dec. 15 at Renville County West

Dec. 20 at Lac qui Parle Valley

Jan. 3 vs. DAWSON-BOYD

Jan. 6 at Yellow Medicine East

Jan. 10 vs. CANBY

Jan. 13 at Lakeview

Jan. 19 vs. TRACY-MILROYBALATON

Jan. 24 at Russell-Tyler-Ruthton

Jan. 26 vs. MINNEOTA

Jan. 31 at Central Minnesota Christian

Feb. 3 at Kerkhoven-MurdockSunburg

Feb. 7 vs. RENVILLE COUNTY WEST

Feb. 9 vs. LAC QUI PARLE VALLEY

Feb. 13 vs. ATWATER-COSMOSGROVE CITY

Feb. 14 at Dawson-Boyd

Feb. 21 vs. BUFFALO LAKEHECTOR-STEWART

Feb. 28 vs. ORTONVILLE

Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

MACCRAY sophomore Jordan Warne (25) puts up a shot in the post against Dassel-Cokato during the Bremer Bank Holiday Classic Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, at Willmar.

Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

MACCRAY sophomore Isaac Post (2) drives by Hancock’s Sebastian Felix during the first half of a first-round game in the Case IH Tournament Friday, Dec. 17, 2021, at Benson.

BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 17
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2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule MACCRAY PUBLIC SCHOOLS www.maccray.k12.mn.us/ 711 Wolverine Drive, Clara City • 320-847-2154 Check the schools website
updated events list Schedule sponsored by:

Minnewaska looks for a bounce-back season

Lakers see a large senior class as an opportunity for improvement

GLENWOOD — After a 4-23 showing in 2021-22, some fresh faces hope to lead Minnewaska in a bounceback season.

The Lakers lost four starters from last season: Hunter Kostelecky, Damon Uhde, Tate Reichmann and Ethan Quelle.

The lone returning starter is senior PJ Johnson. He is a 6-foot forward.

A pair of seniors look to jump into the fray for Minnewaska and secondyear head coach Hunter Salathe.

The first is Hunter Kloos, a 6-2 forward.

“(Hunter) had a great summer and really thrived as an inside/outside scoring threat,” Salathe said.

Another senior looking for a bounceback season is 5-foot-9 guard Blake Andreas.

“(Blake) missed all of last season due to injury,” Salathe said. “But he is back to help push our offense in transition.”

The youngest player on the varsity is also looking for a standout season. Sophomore Tenzin Dahl is a 6-2 forward who’ll be relied upon to stretch opposing defenses.

“(Tenzin) got some minutes last year as a freshman,” Salathe said. “We’re hoping to expand his role this season and get him into great scoring

opportunities. He is a three-level scoring threat.”

Five seniors are slated to play on varsity in 2022-23: Andreas; Johnson; Kloos; 6-0 forward James Ward and 6-0 forward Noah Palmer. There are three juniors in the mix in 5-10 guard Alex Panitzke, 5-11 forward Ryland Martin and 5-10 guard Dylan Alexander.

Last season, the Lakers were 3-9 in the West Central Conference, with two wins over Benson and a double-overtime victory against Montevideo. The season came to an end in the opening round of the Section 3AA-North tournament against eventual section champion Morris/ Chokio-Alberta. ◀

MINNEWASKA LAKERS

2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule

Dec. 3 at Redwood Valley

Dec. 6 vs. MONTEVIDEO

Dec. 9 at Sauk Centre

Dec. 13 vs. NEW LONDON-SPICER

Dec. 15 vs. MORRIS/CHOKIOALBERTA

Dec. 20 at Paynesville

Dec. 22 at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Dec. 28 vs. Hope Academy at Howard Lake

Jan. 3 at Litchfield

Jan. 6 at West Central

Jan. 7 vs. PIPESTONE

Jan. 10 at Melrose

Jan. 12 at BOLD

Jan. 19 vs. BARNESVILLE

Jan. 20 vs. BENSON

Jan. 26 vs. BOLD

Jan. 31 at Montevideo

Feb. 3 vs. SAUK CENTRE

Feb. 7 at Benson

Feb. 9 at Morris/Chokio-Alberta

Feb. 13 at Eden Valley-Watkins

Feb. 14 vs. BRECKENRIDGE

Feb. 17 vs. WEST CENTRAL

Feb. 21 vs. MELROSE

Feb. 28 vs. OSAKIS

4,

18 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23
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Forum Communications file photo First-year Minnewaska head coach Hunter Salathe encourages his team after a defensive stop against Redwood Valley during the Lakers’ season opener on Saturday, Dec. 2021.

Young Thunder Hawks are optimistic

Montevideo returns inexperienced talent after 11-12 season

MONTEVIDEO — Down three starters from a season ago, most teams would expect a lapse in success.

Montevideo head boys basketball coach Derek Webb doesn’t see the Thunder Hawks taking that kind of dip. After going 11-12 in 202122, Webb expects his group to be a challenge for any opposing team.

“A lot of times when programs graduate a class like we did, people expect a rebuilding year,” said Webb, who’s going into his sixth season at the helm. “That’s not the case for the Thunder Hawks this year. Our team has a stable of outside shooters and really nice athletes and I think we are going to be a surprise to a lot of folks.

“This team is hungry and I think you are going to see that every single night from Montevideo.”

Gone from last season are standouts Landon Stock, Kaden Boike and Andrew VanBinsbergen. Stock was an All-West Central Conference pick last season after averaging 12.6 points on 52% shooting along with 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Boike averaged 10.7 points, and VanBinsbergen was good for 11.3 ppg. Hoping to pick up the scoring slack are a trio of players.

Mason Jerve, a 6-foot-2 senior

forward, was the sixth man on last season’s squad.

“We look for Mason to really lead us as our lone senior both on and off the court,” Webb said.

Cooper Dack is a 5-11 junior guard. After working his way into the rotation last year, he earned a reputation on the team as a defensive disruptor.

“His outside shot has really developed nicely,” Webb said. “We look for Cooper to provide a punch on both ends of the court.”

Devin Ashling is a 6-2 guard/ forward that looks to offer Montevideo some versatility.

“Devin played sparingly last year on varsity but when he did, he was fearless,” Webb said. “Devin is the definition of becoming a great shooter because of putting in the work. We look for Devin to play a variety of positions for us offensively and be one of our elite shooters.”◀

MONTEVIDEO THUNDER HAWKS 2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule

Dec. 1 vs. REDWOOD VALLEY

Dec. 6 at Minnewaska

Dec. 9 vs. BENSON Dec. 15 at BOLD

Dec. 16 at Central Minnesota Christian Dec. 20 vs. EDEN VALLEY-WATKINS

Dec. 30 vs. Pipestone at Southwest Minnesota State

Dec. 31 vs. Jackson County Central at Southwest Minnesota State

Jan. 5 vs. NEW LONDON-SPICER

Jan. 6 vs. MELROSE

Jan. 7 at Luverne

Jan. 10 vs. SAUK CENTRE

Jan. 12 vs. WEST CENTRAL

Jan. 17 at Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City

Check the school’s website for a updated events list www.montevideoschools.org/o/mhs

Jan. 20 at Morris/Chokio-Alberta

Jan. 24 vs. YELLOW MEDICINE EAST

Jan. 26 at West Central

Jan. 31 vs. MINNEWASKA

Feb. 3 at Benson

Feb. 9 vs. BOLD

Feb. 10 vs. LAC QUI PARLE VALLEY

Feb. 16 at Dawson-Boyd

Feb. 17 at Melrose

Feb. 21 at Sauk Centre

Feb. 23 vs. LAKEVIEW

Feb. 28 vs. MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA

BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 19
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Schedule sponsored by:
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune Montevideo’s Mason Jerve (33) defends a shot during the 2021-22 season for the Thunder Hawks. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune Montevideo boys basketball coach Derek Webb is optimistic about the Thunder Hawks’ chances in 2022-23.

Turning up the ‘D’ key for Bulldogs

PAYNESVILLE — At the helm for his fifth season at Paynesville, Rick Hendrickson’s squad enters 2022-23 with three returning starters from a 16-11 team.

“The Bulldogs return a good amount of varsity experience and our firstyear players will provide solid depth for us,” Hendrickson said. “If we can improve our defense and take care of the basketball, we think that we can be competitive throughout the season.”

Looking to lead Paynesville are returning starters in senior guards Eli Nelson, Max Athmann and Grayson Fuchs. The trio will need to help make up for the key roster losses of Chase Bayer (12.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game), Bennett Evans (4.9 ppg and 5.5 rpg) and Tafadzwa Juma (1.3 ppg).

Nelson led the Bulldogs in scoring in 2021-22. He recorded a team-high 337 points with 135 rebounds, 71 assists, 70 steals and one block in 27 games. That’s 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game.

Athmann and Fuchs also helped pave the way for the Bulldogs in 2021-22.

Athmann tallied 182 points, 67 rebounds, 46 steals, 39 assists and four blocks, averages of 7.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.7 assists per game. Fuchs notched 168 points, 94 rebounds, 39 assists, 36 steals and four blocks, which is 6.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Fuchs has accepted a baseball scholarship from Division II St. Cloud State.

“We have a balanced and wellconnected team and players who have stepped up in senior leadership roles,” Hendrickson said. “We want to continue to improve each and every day, so that we are most prepared come tournament time.” ◀

PAYNESVILLE BULLDOGS 2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule

Check

Dec. 1 vs. LITCHFIELD

Dec. 2 vs. PINE CITY

Dec. 8 at Osakis

Dec. 9 vs. NEW LONDON-SPICER

Dec. 12 vs. DASSEL-COKATO

Dec. 16 at Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Dec. 20 vs. MINNEWASKA

Dec. 22 at Morris/Chokio-Alberta

Dec. 27 at Perham

Jan. 5 at Royalton

Jan. 10 vs. KIMBALL

Jan. 13 at Eden Valley-Watkins

Jan. 16 vs. MELROSE

Jan. 17 at Yellow Medicine East

Jan. 19 at Maple Lake

Jan. 24 vs. BELGRADE-BROOTENELROSA

Jan. 26 at Holdingford

Feb. 2 vs. ATWATER-COSMOS-GROVE CITY

Feb. 7 vs. ROYALTON

Feb. 9 at Redwood Valley

Feb. 10 at Kimball

Feb. 16 vs. EDEN VALLEY-WATKINS

Feb. 21 vs. MAPLE LAKE

Feb. 24 at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa

Feb. 28 vs. HOLDINGFORD

20 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23
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Joe Brown / West Central Tribune Paynesville junior Eli Nelson races upcourt during the first half of a non-conference game against YME Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, at Paynesville.

RCW plans to change its style

RENVILLE — Renville County West enters the 2022-23 season without a size advantage that it has been accustomed to over the years.

As a result of the smaller Jaguars roster, RCW head coach Matt Huhnerkoch plans to run his lineup by utilizing five guards on the court.

“For the first time in a long while

RCW will have to play basketball without a size advantage in the middle. This year’s squad will almost always be the smaller team on the court,” said Huhnerkoch, who’s in his 12th season at the helm of the program. “We graduated all of our size and most of our points scored last year, so we will have to find new scorers and a new style of play to be successful.”

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Dec. 6 vs. HERON LAKE-OKABENA/FULDA

Dec. 9 vs. LAC QUI PARLE VALLEY

Dec. 13 at Dawson-Boyd

Dec. 15 vs. MACCRAY

Dec. 16 at BOLD

Dec. 20 vs. KERKHOVEN-MURDOCKSUNBURG

Dec. 30 vs. Murray County Central at Marshall

Dec. 31 vs. Canby at Southwest Minnesota State

Jan. 3 at Central Minnesota Christian

Jan. 6 at Minneota

Jan. 10 vs. YELLOW MEDICINE EAST

Jan. 12 at Ortonville

Jan. 13 at Canby Jan. 19 vs. LAKEVIEW

Jan. 23 at Tracy-Milroy-Balaton

Jan. 24 at Red Rock Central

Jan. 26 vs. RUSSELL-TYLER-RUTHTON

Jan. 31 at Lac qui Parle Valley Feb. 3 vs. DAWSON-BOYD

Feb. 7 at MACCRAY

Feb. 9 at Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg

Feb. 10 vs. SLEEPY EYE

Feb. 14 vs. CENTRAL MINNESOTA CHRISTIAN

Feb. 16 at Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart Feb. 21 vs. ORTONVILLE Feb. 24 vs. WABASSO Check the schools website for an updated events list

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BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 21
RCW JAGUARS 2022-23 BOYS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
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JAGUARS: Page 22 With a smaller team than past seasons, Jaguars will adjust with returning starters Schrupp and Miller

A pair of key losses are Tyler Froland and Jaden Serbus. Froland averaged 17 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in 2012-22. Serbus notched 9.3 points and 12 rebounds per game.

“With only two starters returning and one of those — forward Jaise Miller — coming off an ACL injury from the summer, experience is lacking and younger players will be asked to step up,” Huhnerkoch said.

RCW’s two returning starters are seniors in guard Adam Schrupp and Miller. They will need to elevate their games to help the Jaguars build on last year’s 10-17 record.

Another name mentioned by Huhnerkoch to look for is sophomore guard Ryan Schrupp, who averaged 6.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

“Ryan is a young player who knows how to impact the game in every facet,” Huhnerkoch said. “He can score in multiple ways and is also a very impactful defensive player.” ◀

22 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23 FEEL THE ROAR!!! Renville County West Public Schools | 301 NE 3rd St. Renville, MN | (320) 329-8368 | www.rcw.k12.com
JAGUARS From Page 21
West Central Tribune file photo RCW junior Adam Schrupp attempts to pass CMCS junior Brayden Marcus on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, in Renville.
For the first time in a long while RCW will have to play basketball without a size advantage.
MATT HUHNERKOCH

Veteran group leads YME Sting boys

GRANITE FALLS — Yellow Medicine East returns a veteran group with some new faces that aims to improve upon last season’s 4-20 record.

“This year we have a good mix of veterans (who) have been around our varsity for a long time and young new faces,” said Logan DeBlieck, who enters his second season as head coach. “We think our junior class meshes really well with our large senior class.”

Leading YME’s mix are returning senior starters center Bryce Sneller, guard Cody Dahlager and forward Archie LaRose.

Sneller was honored as an AllCamden Conference member and was voted as the Sting’s most valuable player. LaRose was named YME’s rookie of the year.

The Sting are without two key players from 2021-22 in Isaac Jimenez and Nikson Knapper. But, DeBlieck is optimistic that three players — senior Owen Torvik and juniors DJ Whitebuffalo and Drew Almich — will step up and make an impact.

Torvik returns as a center who came off the bench. He averaged 8.0

points and 4.0 rebounds per game and DeBlieck expects “big things from him this year with some increased minutes.”

Whitebuffalo is a guard who has grown roughly four inches since the 2021-22 season and presents upside. He averaged about 10 points per game on the Sting’s junior varsity team and DeBlieck is hopeful to see “more of the same at the varsity level.”

Almich, listed at 6-foot-3, returns as a sharpshooting, long, athletic guard. Alongside Whitebuffalo, he averaged roughly 10 points per game on YME’s junior varsity team in 2021-22.

“He is going to cause lots of matchup problems,” DeBlieck said. ◀

YME Sting 2022-23 Boys Basketball Schedule

Dec. 2 at Westbrook-Walnut Grove

Dec. 6 vs RED ROCK CENTRAL

Dec. 9 at Canby

Dec. 13 at Atwater-CosmosGrove City

Dec. 15 vs. RUSSELL-TYLERRUTHTON

Dec. 20 at Tracy-Milroy-Balaton

Dec. 23 at BOLD

Dec. 29 vs. BUFFALO LAKEHECTOR-STEWART

Jan. 5 at Ortonville

Jan. 6 vs. MACCRAY

Jan. 10 at Renville County West

Jan. 13 vs. CENTRAL MINNESOTA CHRISTIAN

Jan. 17 vs. PAYNESVILLE

Jan. 20 at Dawson-Boyd

Jan. 23 vs. KERKHOVENMURDOCK-SUNBURG

Jan. 24 at Montevideo

Jan. 26 at Lac qui Parle Valley

Jan. 31 vs. CANBY

Feb. 3 at Minneota

Feb. 7 at Russell-Tyler-Ruthton

Feb. 9 vs. TRACY-MILROYBALATON

Feb. 14 vs. LAKEVIEW

Feb. 20 at Lakeview

Feb. 21 vs. MINNEOTA

Feb. 23 vs. BENSON

BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 23
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Joe Brown / West Central Tribune YME junior Cody Dahlager (5) hoists up a fall-away jump shot over Dawson-Boyd’s Levi Olson during a Camden Conference game Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, in Granite Falls.
Sting will be led by seniors Sneller, Dahlager and LaRose
24 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2022-23
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