Posted On: 03/29/18 6:28 PM
The Minnehaha Academy run continued this year with their second straight state title and third in six years. Next year as well? That will be the expectation.
Repeat? Barring a big injury, or several, you have to predict the Redhawks to win their third straight title barring an upset. You have Terry Lockett, Kaden Johnson, and Jalen Suggs back from the sophomore group that have 3-4 varsity years of experience each, and they are now entering their upperclassmen years. Jalen is rated as the top sophomore guard in America while Lockett and Johnson are D1 offered football players (Jalen is too) with serious basketball interest. Then you have Chet Holmgren and Prince Aligbe in the frontcourt, both of which are minimal in the top two of their respective classes (Chet in 2021, Prince in 2022). Add in Siegel Howard, freshman-to-be Donovan Smith, and Bennett Theisen from the bench, as well as whatever else may come, and you have a team that won’t just be considered the Class AA favorite, but Minnehaha will be considered the best team in state overall.
The Favorites. Caledonia. Can they return to state? Of course. Caledonia will likely be the favorite. With Noah and Eli King ready to take the ball from brother Owen King this will be a very good team. But, they lose five seniors in all and two of them to college basketball. It will not be a sure thing as there is a lot to replace. The leaders will be very good though.
Brooklyn Center made it to state this year likely a year earlier than most expected. Lu’Cye Patterson had the type of year that will list him with the All State teams when NHR names those teams in the very near future. Patterson is one of four returning starters for the Centaurs next year along with Andreone Sprinkles and Qentrell Douglas who are also consistent number producers.
Minneapolis North? Without a doubt. Sure there is a lot of seniors that are moving on but Eli Campbell was having a great year before he was hurt. Malik El-Amin is a very good point guard and Tre Holloman is expected to be the next big name in the state of Minnesota. Tre will be a freshman next year. Add in Willie Wilson, Davon Townley, and Omar Brown and this is certainly a team to consider among the favorites.
Perham won 29 games this winter but lost their section final. The 18-19 season is the one the Yellowjackets have been pointing to since they started playing varsity. Six of the top nine Perham players are back next year including leading scorers Jenson Beachy and Josh Jeziorski. Add in all of the experienced and talented reserves back and you have a top 3-4 team entering next season.
Who Else? Lake City is another 22-23 win team with Nathan Heise and Reid Gastner back. New London-Spicer has a chance to be the state team from section three. Brandon Adelman is a scholarship level player and one of four starters that will return from the team. The Wildcats will be a top ten level squad. Cristo Rey won 19 games last year and had only two seniors on the roster. James Sommer and Erick Burgess are the key pieces back. Breck has David Roddy and when you have David you will always be a team talked about in the top ten. Melrose was 26-3 a year ago and return their top two players: Preston Keaveny and Reegan Nelson. Greenway was 24-4 last year and returns budding star Dylan DeChampeau and Jace Hansen-Cochran (the leading scorers and best players).
Can They Return to State? The Hubmen lost a lot of size but Ryan Samuelson looks set to be the next star from Jordan after scoring 17 a game this year. Thomas Gutzmer and Noah Schmitt are also returning. Jordan could return to state as section two will be wide open. Don’t ever count out Maple River and NRHEG who are good programs with good coaches. Minnewaska Area loses four of their five starters but big Shawn Carsten returns. Grant Jensen and Luke Barkeim came off the bench a year ago and will be key piece next year. St. Cloud Cathedral will not just go away quietly despite Schaefer and Plombon headed to the NSIC. They have three starters back: Jackson Jangula, Nick Schaefer, and Jacob Stolzenberg. The team will have a tougher battle to state but talent is still there. Esko losses their best three players but starers Camden Berger and Trevor Spindler return. With Noah Christensen back Breckenridge is of course a threat to return to state. The Cowboys lose three starters to graduation but bring four of their stop seven players back to the 18-19 season.
Others. I feel like Morris Area will take a step forward with Camden Arndt and 2022 standout Jackson Loge being the main talents. Maranatha Christian Academy played mostly young guys and they won 20 games. Maple Lake was 22-6 a year ago and brings back two of their three players in seniors in Joseph Stockman and Mitch Hoistad.