Here we are at September 2nd and still have an entire football season and fall months to go through before the high school basketball season tips-off. That said, PHD is thinking ahead. Who are the favorites to take home the Class A state crown? Who are the top contenders? It’s never too early to talk about it.
Minot. The defending champions lost some important pieces, no doubt. Replacing Dakota Halvorson, Nick Solstis, and Noah Bosh are large tasks. That said Braylon Lund and Ben Bolinkse are returning starters, KyJuan Johnson should have a huge season as long as he keeps progressing as expected, Justin Engg is ready for a bigger role, and Jesse Roberts and Wesley Borgen are experienced talent. That group of six players can play with just about anybody and will have the Magicians thinking repeat.
Century. A basket from taking state with only four seniors on the roster. Three starters return, outstanding youth is in the program, there is size, scoring, toughness, and just about everything needed to make a run at a title. More than anything Adam Geiger and Dalton Feeney compete with the toughness needed to wear opponents down. The debate is going on but this team is the favorite of many to bring home the gold.
Grand Forks Red River. The time is now for this team. They have the top prospect in the senior class in Braedan Hanson along with Carson Dennis and Tanner Soleim and a junior group that includes Austin Slaughter Cody Robertson and Mark Toe. Very few teams in this state can throw out a line-up that can match their kind of size and athletic ability.
Bismarck. The Demons have too many holes to fill to be in the top group but Connor Helleust returning along with a really strong sophomore class (as well as Seth Siverson and Brayden Thomas) keep us from sliding them down. There is a real lack of size up front at the moment so the Demons should bee good but outside the elite group.
West Fargo. Yes they lost seven of their top eight scorers. We get it. That’s a lot to make up for. That said. Creighton Pfau will handle the wing scoring, Simon Haboniman will be one of the better lead guards in the class, and there are solid replacements in that junior class.
West Fargo Sheyenne. The Mustangs, yes I said THE MUSTANGS, of course turn everything. Everybody. Everybody from a squad that put it together late in the year to win fie straight before hitting a March snag. Eric Ringdahl, Gavin Moeller, and Carter Bonnema are three names that we really think could push them to a higher level.
Devils Lake. Of the teams on the outside shot list this is the closest one to the next level. Jacob Mertens, Zach Dahlen, and Hunter Fee played big sophomore roles with Mertens being an underclassmen captain. Maybe it’s their time.
Fargo North. Went through some tough stretches last year but with a fantastic new coach in Tom Critchley coming over from Roseville (MN) and an NDSU commit in Siman Sem, good things are on the horizon.
Dickinson. We struggled to place them. They lost two-thirds of their rotation from an under. 500 club and most of the time that’s not the formula for success. However, Aanen Moody is a premier scorer in his class and Jordan Meidinger is a D-1 offered center. That is two huge pieces to work with for Coach Wilson.
Fargo Shanley. They lost all their top scorers from a year ago. Some decent workers and a couple solid freshman to keep them battling but so much was lost from an average team.
Jamestown. Love Noah Wanzek and Logan Anderson is solid too but there is not enough size or depth to expect them to bounce back from a 16 win season.
Turtle Mountain. PHD is big fans of Landyn Kelpin and there is another Azure in the sophomore class but the Braves lost way too many seniors for this team to contend.
Wahpeton. They are a bit of an unknown. This is a 20 win team from a year ago but outside of Carson Zarak there is so very little known about them. They will be way smaller than last year.
Williston. Four wins usually doesn’t get you on this list but De’Sean Allen-Eikens gets him on the list. They have to improve with a player like him.