Posted On: 12/27/17 1:15 PM

Six-foot-3 Redwood Valley wing Mitchell Irlbeck has been a 20 point per game guy so far for the 4-2 Cardinals who have recently picked up a couple huge wins. Irlbeck talked his senior year and recruiting with NHR today.

“I think things are going well this season, we are 4-2 now and we haven’t been healthy yet,” Irlbeck said.  “We’ve only played one game with all of our starters. I’d say I’ve been doing well. I’m definitely driving to the hole better than ever.

“My Stars coach Justin van Kooten really challenged me to get better at using my body and finishing around the rim, and I’ve feel like there is a big difference in how I’m driving now compared to the beginning of the summer. I feel like a much better passer also, which allows me to play every position 1-5.”

The short-handed Cards were crushed by Marshall early in the year and lost a tight game to Windom Area by two scores. Since then Redwood Valley beat Luverne by 20, took out Montevideo by 13 and that’s always a good win, and then in the moment of the year so far the Cards beat a strong experienced team from Minnewaska Area 71-68.

“We return a lot of talent (Cole Woodford who has a 31 point game this year, Kyle Hunerckoch, Logan Josephson, Deo Charles, and Peyton Nelson who all played last year). We lost James Pendleton who had a huge impact on our team as a scoring point guard last year. But guys like Cole and Deo will step up and take over that role, I think we should have a great year and have a good run going into the state tournament.”

Redwood Valley is consistently a good program even though last year they dipped to 15-13.  Things are looking better for this winter.

“As a team goal, we want to for sure make it to state, Redwood had a good four to five years where we made it to the tournament, so we grew up watching all of the upperclassman play at the Target Center, and everyone on our team would love to get the chance to play there themselves.

“I especially want to get back to the state tournament as I got to go my freshman year but never really got to play, so it’s a big goal of mine to make it back there. As an individual goal, I just want to stay healthy and make it into the 1,000 point club at Redwood.”

Can Redwood Valley make it to state this year? Without a doubt.  They are in one of the most wide open sections (3AA) out there.  Their top competitor in the sub-section is a Minnewaska Area team that the Cards have already beat.  New London-Spicer and Morris Area are also expected to be sub-section contenders but both are struggling.

On the other side of the sub-section things are tougher.  There is the Windom team that already beat Redwood Valley not to mention Pipeston Area, defending champ JCC who has only lost one, and the deepest team in the section Fairmont who is 6-1 so far.

Irlbeck and his team have challenges to face but Mitchell is a multi-sport athlete that welcomes challenges.  Mitchell will play college sports and he has a few options he is looking at.

“I’ve mainly talked schools for football. I went on a game day visit at UMD. And I’ve been in contact with Dordt, Bethel, and Gustavus for football. I’ve also talked to Concordia-Moorhead and Buena Vista for basketball. But I haven’t visited anywhere other than UMD.”