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Posted On: 09/13/18 4:00 PM
Class AAA looks like a jumbled mess after DeLaSalle heading into the season. With so many teams with such seemingly small separation, teams will be looking for every advantage possible. Here are some teams with a marked advantage when it comes to frontcourt play:
Big Lake: The Hornets are eyeing a bounce back season and with a frontcourt pairing of DeVonne Harris and Logan Nagorski, a big step isn’t far fetched. Nagorski put up 17 points and nearly five rebounds as a junior and will be one of the top players in the conference while Harris averaged about nine points and nine rebounds last winter and had a very good summer with Comets.
Northfield: The Raiders will once again compete with Austin for a top spot in Section 1AAA and the rest of the Big 9 for a top-four conference finish. And once again, the strength of the team will be up front. Mason Zick was very good as a junior and strong over the summer playing with WOTN. At 6-foot-6, he’s a matchup nightmare because of his length and ability to play inside and out. Mitchell Stanchina brings two-plus years of starting experience to the court and while he hasn’t been a major scorer, he’s always been a strong defender and worker. Throw in a young players like Kip Schetnan and several rotation bigs in Jackson Schlak and Michael Ims and Northfield has depth and talent in its forward spots.
DeLaSalle: The Islanders always have players and while the departure of big man Malik Lamin is a blow, they are well-equipped to overcome it. Jamison Battle turned in a very good junior year for DeLaSalle, averaging more than 14 points per game. His numbers should go up as he moves up the offensive pecking order. Jalen Travis saw spot minutes as a sophomore and at 6-foot-6 with a strong frame, he’ll be more than capable of holding down the paint with Battle.
Mahtomedi: The Zephyrs are in that second group of teams that should compete for a top-five ranking most of the year. It helps that they’ve got what should be a very good frontcourt. J’Vonne Hadley averaged 16 points as a sophomore and looks like one of the best players in the state. He’s a star. Cole Chapman played as a sophomore and at 6-foot-10, has the size to anchor a strong defense. And Devin Melzer was a reliable rotation guy last year and had a strong summer. He could double his scoring output from a year ago without much surprise.
Alexandria: This one requires some projection as there is very little by way of tangible varsity production in this group. But there’s an awful lot of talent for the Cardinals. Treyton Thompson’s had a monster summer and after spending the last year-plus practicing everyday against Justin Balcome, he should be more than ready to take on a big role inside. Carter Stockert was in the rotation last year for Alexandria and does a lot of little things while providing some shooting. And Colton Roderick is another 2021 guy who could see a lot of minutes this year on the wing.