Posted On: 09/5/17 5:01 PM
Our first try at the preseason Class A North Dakota rankings followed with a paragraph preview of each.
Bismarck Century (1). The state runner-up is going nowhere. In fact with five of their nine guys back from last year’s rotation and a respected coaching staff leading the way this seems like the right preseason favorite. U of Mary committed Josh Sipes and Kade Amundson lead the way. Third leading scorer Kade Lynch, wing weapon Kade Lynch, and Tyler Hauglie also return.
Fargo Davies (2). It may not seem like it because the senior contributions were huge but Davies brings back five guys from their nine man rotation and some of these players are on the verge of big seasons. Juniors Jaden Klabo and Mitch Larson are about to be a strong scoring pair for two years but we also love the work ethic and fight of Parker Stenseth and Shane Anderson. Watch for Braeton Motschenbacher to have a good year too. There will only be a drop of 3-4 games from last year’s best in class 25-2 record.
West Fargo (3). Joe Pistorius will shoot the lights out, Abdi Sufi supports him in the backcourt, and Luke Lennon rebounds everything. The Packers always move some pieces in that step up but they need a ball handler to adequately take over for Simon. If that happens some big things could happen.
Minot (4). This is a difficult group to predict. They are the champs but this team will be more about balance than leaning on a star. The senior class is solid with Peyton Lamoureaux, Chandler Albertson, and Lofton Klabunde plus Alex Schmike should play a huge role. But can they replace the huge numbers from KeJuan and Engg? Tough to know. Role players (great shooters too) have to become playmakers as well.
Bismarck (5). The Demons lost their big but they bring their other pieces in Ian Schafer, Joe Jahner, and Tanner Davis. We think highly of Ian at point and believe Jahner is on the verge of a big year so that 14-12 mark could be near the 20 win mark. This team had some bad losses late in the year that really have weighed on their minds and motivated them. We think they are ready for a jump.
Fargo Shanley (6). The time is now for this squad that returns maybe the most underappreciated senior in the class in Jake Kava. Cam Saville, Kalen Christmann, and a Jake McKeever round out the big names from a senior class that could win 20.
Bismarck Legacy (7). Legacy was two games under .500 last year but this is the season they have been building for. Jason Hoekstra, Devin Beck, and Austin Wolf are the three best players and all return. Should be exciting winter nights following this team.
Mandan (8). We get that they went 10-13 a year ago but we just don’t see them at anything less than 16 wins at the very least. Not with Trae Steckler, Camren Steckler, and Trey Weist returning for the team. One key step would be to beat Bismarck and Legacy who they were 0-4 against last season and both those teams return their guys. Can’t move them past them until they can do that once.
St. Mary’s (9). The Saints will get over .500 but how far? Cole Gendreau, John Nordberg, and Luke Kambeitz are all back after strong junior years. Can they make the jumper over Mandan, Legacy, and Bismarck? They went 1-6 against that group last year and need to surpass a couple of them to have the season they are dreaming of.
WF Sheyenne (10). There is so much to replace from last year the first issue will be getting guys varsity experience. Christian Kuntz will lead the way and Kemal Hajric will fight up front. Zach Westphal is back and should be good to go which is key. What steps up around them in new roles is huge. Only Kuntz returns from last year’s rotation.
Fargo South (11). Things came together late in the year when the Bruins won seven and nine and from that team South brings back four of their top six games. Kaleb Johnson and Siadu Conteh will handle, Sam O’Keeffe is the top returning scorer, and Charles Bennington is back up front.
Grand Forks Red River (12). This is a team that PHD can never seem to figure out since we opened up shop. Jordan Polynice leads the way but they lost five of their top six guys from a year ago. Pierson Painter should be solid.