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Posted On: 03/20/18 12:32 PM
With the Class AAA State Tournament action tipping-off on Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Williams Arena, here are ten players (and a few others) to watch from Class AAA:
David Birkeland, Hermantown, Sr. – Hermantown’s 6’2” senior guard led the team in scoring this season at 17.59 PPG while adding 6.72 REB and 3.34 AST per game. It hasn’t been a one man show for the Hawks, as Connor Bich (14.11 PPG), Peter Soumis (12.09 PPG), and Kevin Bauman (11.05 PPG) all averaged in double-figures this season for Hermantown. They have a tall order in the first round against DeLaSalle.
Duoth Gach, Austin, Sr. – The athletic 6’3” wing is a career 1,000-point scorer for the Packers. For this season, he averaged 16.29 PPG and 3.21 REB to go along with 2.86 STL per game. His game is built around slashing and getting to the hoop, but he is capable of connecting from deep, shooting 38% from three on the season.
Damani Hayes, Mankato East, Sr. – Much like the two teams mentioned above, Mankato East has a very balanced attack, but the leading scorer for the Cougars this season has been Hayes. The 6’4” wing averaged 15 PPG, 6.24 REB, and 3.24 AST during the regular season. Three other Cougars averaged double-figures this season, including senior forwards Edmon Oyet (12 PPG) and Uhana Ochan (12 PPG), and sophomore guard Jax Madson (11 PPG).
Tate Hebrink, Austin, Sr. – The catalyst for the balanced Austin offense all season has been their 5’11” senior point guard, who also quarterbacks the Packer football team. Hebrink averaged 10.64 PPG and 5 AST a game while shooting 45% from deep this season. Aside from Gach, Hebrink is tasked with distributing the ball to a number of other capable Packer scorers, including Medi Obang (13.07 PPG) and Moses Issa (12.32 PPG).
Gabe Kalscheur, DeLaSalle, Sr. – The future Gopher has been outstanding this season for the Islanders, leading his team to the #1 seed in the Class AAA State Tournament. He has averaged 22.24 PPG while grabbing nearly 5 rebounds and handing out almost 3 assists per game. At 6’4”, Kalscheur is a complete player on the wing, but is most dangerous from deep.
Cody Landwehr, Sauk Rapids-Rice, Sr. – The 6’6” senior power forward has been a mainstay in the Storm lineup for the last couple of seasons. During the regular season, the future BSU Beaver averaged 16.8 PPG and 9.5 REB while blocking 2.3 shots per game. He’s joined by fellow senior, Anthony Massman, who is one of the primary ball-handlers for the Storm. The senior guard averaged 12.6 PPG during the regular season but averaged 16.7 PPG in the section playoffs.
Deundra Roberson, Columbia Heights, Sr. – Columbia Heights has been led this season by the 6’2” guard that averaged 18.24 PPG and just over 3 assists and 3 steals per game. The Hylanders have featured a three-headed monster in the scoring column this season, joining Roberson are fellow seniors Wendell Matthews (14.62 PPG, 8.77 REB) and Quentin Hardrict (12.31 PPG, 5 AST).
Tyrell Terry, DeLaSalle, Jr. – The 6’1” junior point guard is garnering serious Division I attention, and for good reason. Terry averaged 16.79 PPG this season for the Islanders while dishing out 6 AST and pulling down 4.57 REB per game. His ability to get his own shot, while distributing to the likes of Kalscheur and Jamison Battle (13.68 PPG) is key to the success of the Islanders.
Sam Vascellaro, St. Thomas Academy, Sr. – Vascellaro has been an all-around force for the Cadets this season. The 6’5” wing averaged 15.3 PPG, 6.4 REB, 3.3 AST, and nearly 3 STL per game in the regular season, and kept it going in the section playoffs by averaging 15 PPG. Others to watch for the Cadets are senior George Stewart (11.2 PPG, 5.7 REB) and junior Jack Thompson (11.4 PPG, 3.7 AST).
Calvin Wishart, Delano, Sr. – The Tigers point guard is a walking bucket, but he brings more than just scoring to the table. During the regular season, Wishart nearly averaged a triple-double, registering 31.1 PPG, 9.6 REB, and 8.1 AST per game. He is the type of player that could take a team to the tournament finals on his own, but he will have some help. Senior 6’8” big Keegan O’Neill supplied 17.5 PPG and 6.2 REB during the regular season for the Tigers.