Posted On: 12/19/17 10:55 AM
Taking a look at a number of the best performances, both individual and team, from Saturday’s Park Region Conference Showcase.
Braeden Wangsness, Pillager, Sr. – Wangsness showed the ability in the first half of the game to knock down the open shot, as the lefty hit four triples for all 12 of his first half points. In the second half, he displayed his well-rounded scoring ability, as he was able to get into the lane and finish, as well as knock down free throws on his way to another 12 points in the second half.
Owen Korfe, Verndale, Verndale, Sr. – This guy is not big in stature (under six-feet), but has tremendous athleticism that allows him to elevate and finish on drives in the paint. In the final couple minutes of their game Saturday he also showed his range, knocking down a couple threes to keep the game tight, as he finished with 24 points.
Noah Ross, Wadena-Deer Creek, Sr. – Noah always seemed to be in control, not rushing his game. The 6’2” guard scored all over the court on Saturday, displaying range from deep, taking his man off the dribble, posting up smaller defenders, you name it, he did it. As I mentioned, he always seems under control, his feet are set and shoulders are always squared up for jumpers, he maintains his balance on drives, and keeps his eyes on the bucket through contact. His 29-point performance was the most impressive of the night, and he’s been putting up those numbers all season so far.
Spencer Schaefer, Pillager, So. – Schaefer appears to be all of 6’4” or so, and in this conference, that makes him a formidable presence in the paint. He is not the #1 option for the Huskies, but he gets his by cleaning up on the boards, as he finished the game on Saturday with 11 points and 9 rebounds. He has a solid frame for a sophomore, it will be interesting to see if he develops more of a perimeter game going forward.
Bereket Loer, Wadena-Deer Creek, So. – He is the primary ball-handler for the Wolverines, and for the most part has the poise and sound decision-making that is needed to be effective. He is quick, and displayed range as he knocked down a number of threes against Henning on Saturday. This should be his team next year after Noah Ross and Jonathan Pantages graduate.
Tristan Aho, Menahga, So. – The Braves do not have much size, so a six-foot-two-ish sized guy like Aho ends up finding himself in the high post and inside in their offense quite a bit. His athleticism allows him to perform well in that role, however, his game profiles to be a lot like a guy like Noah Ross if he were able to exclusively play on the perimeter. The sophomore is averaging close to 18 points and 7 rebounds on the season, his future is bright.
Best “Glue Guys”
Ethan Hendrickx, New York Mills, Sr. – If you looked at his stat line of 5 points and 3 rebounds from Saturday’s game, you wouldn’t think much of it. However, if you watched the game, you see that Ethan is constantly communicating with his teammates, making sure everyone is in the proper defense, calling out screens, etc. Even if it doesn’t show up in the stats, his senior leadership is valuable for the Eagles.
Josh Doss, Pillager, Sr. – Doss runs the point for the Huskies and is a great communicator, similar to Hendricks and Floyd below, he is the most vocal guy on the court. He is not the fastest, biggest, or strongest player, but he picks his spots, and gets his teammates in a position to succeed. He also chipped in 13 points and 5 boards on the night.
Zach Floyd, Menahga, Jr. – For Menahga, the majority of the minutes are played by younger players, which makes what Floyd does valuable. The common theme with these three guys is their ability to communicate, but for Floyd it not only happened while he was on the floor, but while he was on the bench as well. His game is not confined to intangibles, however, as he was their second leading scorer for the game, finishing with 18.
James Clark, Sebeka, Sr. – He had an off-game on Saturday against Bertha-Hewitt, but the athleticism is unmistakable. His leaping ability and quickness allow him to play bigger and challenge bigger players on defense, as well as rebound exceptionally well for a player his size.
Sam Fisher, Henning, Jr. – I don’t think this guy is close to six-feet tall, but he was at center-court jumping it up at tip-off for the Hornets. His first step is explosive, and he used it time and time again to get into the lane and pull-up against WDC as he finished with 19 on the night.
Brett Jansen, Bertha-Hewitt, Sr. – Jansen goes about 6’6” and was the most athletic big that I watched on Saturday. He runs the floor extremely well (is a track and field guy), has great hands and goes after rebounds with tenacity (is a TE in football) and took over the second half of their game. He was sidelined in the first half with an apparent injury, but came on strong in the second, finishing with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Right now…Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines. They have the premier scorer in the conference (Noah Ross), two complimentary options that can also go off for big nights with Jonathan Pantages and Bereket Loer, and a trio of big bodies that can wear a team out inside and control the glass (Ryan Anderson, Thomas Quincer, Lucas Doyle). However, they are followed closely by…
The Pillager Huskies. At this point in time, I feel like they have a very well-rounded team. They have a go-to scorer (Braeden Wangsness), a presence in the paint (Spencer Schaefer), a couple of nice complimentary players (Josh Doss, Tanner Swenson), and depth as they played at least ten guys in a close contest. The question will be, how much production can they get from the bench? They played ten-deep, but only got 6 points off the bench during Saturday’s game.
Next year…Henning Hornets. They only have one senior on the roster (Bryce Rach), and half (38) of their points on Saturday came from sophomores! They don’t have much size this year, and don’t appear to have any coming up next year, but this team is full of quick, athletic perimeter players. Junior, Sam Fisher, and sophomore Blake Wallevand will be a tough backcourt to play the rest of this year and especially next year.
***Photo Credit: Wadena Pioneer Journal***