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Posted On: 03/19/18 4:16 PM
With the Class A State Tournament action commencing on Thursday at 11 a.m. in Williams Arena, here are ten players to watch from Class A:
Ben Ansell, Rushford-Peterson, Sr. – The 6’4” senior center for the Trojans averaged in double-figures this season and has saved some of his best basketball for the biggest games this year. In a February matchup with Class AA power Caledonia he poured in 21 points, and in the section final against Spring Grove he had 29. Having a go-to option in the post can be a game-changer in the Class A tournament.
Cade Goggleye, North Woods, Jr. – During the State Tournament last season, Goggleye provided a handful of memorable moments for the Grizzlies, including a game-winning heave in the quarterfinals. He’s kept that momentum going this season, averaging 22 points and 7.9 assists per game on 47% from deep. The scoring punch of a player like Goggleye is the type that can propel a team to a magic weekend at the tournament.
Seth Halvorsen, Heritage Christian Academy, Sr. – The 6’1” senior guard has been the leader for the Eagles this season. During the regular season, he averaged 18 PPG while eclipsing the 20-point mark on ten occasions. In the section playoffs, Halvorsen averaged 23.75 PPG while guiding this surprise team to the state tournament.
Arnold Kingbird, Cass Lake-Bena, Sr. – Cass Lake-Bena has a number of players that can be effective scorers in their high-powered offense but keep an eye on the senior 5’11” guard. He dropped 28 on Clearbrook-Gonvick in the first round of section playoffs and added 15 in each of the next two games. With many skilled guards on the Panthers roster, Kingbird is not asked to always shoulder the load, but when called upon, he is very capable.
Westin Kirk, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, Sr. – The 6’1” senior put together an impressive year for the Knights. Kirk averaged 18.3 PPG, 8.4 REB, 3.7 AST, and 2.9 STL during the regular season. A picture of consistency, the all-around threat posted section playoff averages of 18.2 PPG, 8.2 REB, 3.6 AST, and 2.7 STL. It is safe to say that you know what you’re going to get from Westin Kirk when he steps on the court.
Baden Noennig, Mayer Lutheran, Jr. – A very athletic and skilled 6’6” wing, Noennig can hurt you in many different ways. He posted 17.7 PPG during the regular season for the Crusaders, while averaging 17.6 per in the section playoffs. He is capable of having a big game, as he posted ten 20-plus point performances during the regular season.
Tate Olson, North Woods, Sr. – Goggleye is not the only option for North Woods, the 6’0” senior guard Olson can fill up the stat sheet in a hurry as well. He eclipsed the 30-point mark on a couple of occasions this season and had 27 last Thursday against Lakeview Christian. For the season, Olson shot better than 40% from beyond the arc.
Treston Spalla, Mahnomen/Waubun, Jr. – In what is their first year as a co-op program, the Thunderbirds feature a roster that doesn’t have a player taller than 6’0”, but what they do have is a balanced perimeter attack with multiple options. Senior Dion Bower and junior Parker Syverson are others to keep an eye on, but Spalla is coming off of a solid 22 point and 8 rebound performance in their upset win over Hancock.
Garrett Tjernagel, Mayer Lutheran, Sr. – The 6’7” senior averaged 11 PPG in the regular season, but he has come alive for the Crusaders in the postseason, averaging 19.3 PPG in three section games. While Tjernagel and Noennig provide uncommon size for Class A, that is not all that the Crusaders bring to the table. Watch out for senior guard Kobey Woolhouse as well, he added 14 PPG this season on the perimeter.
Travis Visser, Hinckley-Finlayson, Sr. – The dynamic 6’4” Visser can be a threat inside and out for the Jaguars. The career 1,000-point scorer has averaged a double-double this season and shows up to play in the big games. In a December contest against Class AA state participant, Esko, Visser finished with 29 points in a 71-66 loss.