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Posted On: 04/3/18 9:00 AM
It’s been a couple weeks since Madison claimed the state title in Rapid City over Tea Area. Some teams will return most of their players back and some teams will lose a good portion of their team. Here are our Way Too Early Class A Predictions for the 2018-19 season.
SD Mr. Basketball: Noah Friedel Tea Area
Noah could potentially be the second Friedel to earn Mr. Basketball honors in the last three years. His brother won it in the 2016-17 season after Tea Area defeated Madison in the State Tournament. He has easily been one of the toughest competitors in Class A since he was a freshman. He averaged about 27 points and six rebounds as a junior and will look to continue to do that next season.
1. Tea Area
The Titans return four starters for the second straight season. They have been in the title game the last two years, placing first and second, and look to make it three straight seasons of being in the title game. They have the power to make it come true. They return almost all of their scoring in Kade Stearns, Justin Hohn, Noah Friedel, Kaleb Joffer. Zach Wilber and Mason Ritter will look to contribute and have a bigger role this next season for the Titans. Tea does lose a starter in Chris Morales and bench players Nash Johnson, Jake Friedrich and Seth Kocer which could be a problem as they were Joffer’s replacement whenever he came out of the game. Last season it was Sioux Falls Christian with the undefeated season next year it could be Tea Area.
2. Sioux Falls Christian
This last season the Chargers went undefeated in the regular season before suffering a second-round defeat to Tea Area in the state tournament. Sioux Falls Christian placed third and look to get back to the state tournament this year. They will have to do so without Koln Oppold, Lincoln Unruh, and Will Garnaas. The Chargers do return everybody else from last season, including two starters in Gavin Schipper and Mitchell Goodbary. Mitchell Oostra will be a solid choice for a starting position next season as he performed well off the bench for Sioux Falls Christian last season.
3. Sioux Valley
The Cossacks placed fourth in the state tournament this recent season after a successful year. Sioux Valley has had several consecutive winning seasons and look to continue that next season, but will have to do without big man Trevor Hanson who led them in scoring this last season with 22, Trevor Olson, and Jake Schneider. They do return two starters in Max Nielson and Ryan Schuster, who will look to lead the team next year. Nielson was the one with the winning scoop shot in the regional final against Flandreau. The Cossacks could make it back to state again and will look to place higher this time.
The Pheasants return the majority of the team from last years Round of 16 qualifying team. Parker lost by three to Crow Creek in the Round of 16 but will look to get back and make it to state this time. They return a good chunk of their scoring in 6’3 Trey Christensen and 6’8 Camden Bialas. The Pheasants have been in Class B for the last couple of years, but look to make a statement at the Class A level next year.
5. St. Thomas More
The Cavaliers made the Round of 16 with a 10-10 record, but their record didn’t stop them from ending the season on a four-game winning streak. They eventually lost to then-undefeated Sioux Falls Christian, but look to take the season as a good teaching lesson and improve on it next year. The Cavaliers lose three seniors but return a bunch of good young guys that could make a serious run for a chance to play at the Denny come next March.
The defending champs lose all but one starter next year. They will look to rebuild after losing first and second teamers Aaron Fiegen and the Janke twins. Nic Comes and Doyle Brown will look to lead the team this next season, neither one lit up the scoring column but used toughness, heart, and hustle to help their team win the state title. The Bulldogs will be down but not out.
The Fliers had a very successful season with wins over Tea Area at the Corn Palace, Parker and Class B runner-up Clark/Willow Lake. Dylan LeBrun was the highlight of the season posting superstar numbers, he will be playing at Augustana next season. His little brother Connor will look to fill his shoes next season along with Nathan Kneebone to advance the team farther in the postseason.
8. Red Cloud
The Crusaders placed fifth in Rapid City as they were led by junior Alejandro Rama with 22 points and 6 boards on the season. He averaged 18 in the three games at state. Red Cloud does lose viable scoring options in Louis Her Many Horses (12 ppg, 8 boards) and Russell Leader Charge (averaged 16 points). The Crusaders could be a sleeper that makes state as that eighth seed again.