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Posted On: 09/27/18 1:00 PM
St. Cloud Cathedral went 27-6 last year, earning a second-straight trip to the state tournament where the Crusaders took third place. With two Division II big men off to the college ranks, Cathedral will downsize its roster, but the goals will be as a big as ever.
Must Be Replaced: Michael Schaefer, Mitch Plombon, Isaiah Anderson
Schaefer and Plombon were the fulcrums in Cathedral’s attack for three years and their collective ability to dominate the paint on both ends made the Crusaders rare especially at the Class AA level. Schaefer put up 23 points and 12 rebounds last year and knocked down more than one 3-pointer per game, carrying the early season load as Plombon dealt with mono. Plombon came back and once he got his legs under him, he was dominant too, averaging 17 points and eight rebounds. Anderson gave the team solid minutes on the wing and while he wasn’t featured in the offense, his ability to defend and move the ball effectively allowed him to fit in nicely.
Returning Starters: Nick Schaefer, Jackson Baustian-Jangula, Jacob Stoltzenberg
While the two superstar bigs are gone, the cupboard is hardly bare for the Crusaders. The focus will just shift now to the backcourt of Jackson Baustian-Jangula and Nick Schaefer. Jangula averaged 9.1 points and 5.3 assists last year and heads into his third year as a starter while Schaefer averaged 10.5 points and knocked down 61 triples. Both guys played with Comets over the summer and should be more than capable of scoring 12-18 points per night. Stoltzenberg averaged eight points a night and knocked down 69 3-pointers. He’ll have to take on a bigger offensive role as well.
Stepping into Bigger Roles: All the guards
Cathedral played at least one 6-foot-6/6-foot-7 guy at all times last year and most of the time, two at a time. That won’t be the case this winter as the Crusaders will likely opt to run four-guard lineups. That can work on paper as they’ve got guys who can get out and run, shoot, get into gaps and defend. Jangula is one of the better point guards in the state and should be in for a big season. Schaefer and Stoltzenberg on the wings give the Crusaders two potentially dynamic scorers as well. Sam Schneider (4.2 ppg, 29 3PM) and Andrew Weisser (3.2 ppg, 2.0 apg) should also see significantly more playing time this season after spending last year as bit guys.
The Future: Mark Zimny, Sam Zimny, Jake Meyer, Mason Wolf
Cathedral’s got a lot of juniors who could vie for playing time this winter after spending the year on the junior varsity last season. Mark and Sam Zimny both saw sparing minutes at the end of blowouts last year and could give the Crusaders minutes in the frontcourt this winter. Mason Wolf is another guy to watch for as he’s a great athlete and brings some size to the table.
The Crusaders will look vastly different than they have in recent years, but the backcourt of Jangula and Schaefer plus Stoltzenberg gives them a very good trio to build on. Throw in two more experienced guards and Cathedral’s got enough guard talent to win a lot of games. Finding production up front will be a challenge as Cathedral doesn’t have a lot of size or experience by way of frontcourt players. That’ll be a key, certainly. But the good news on that front is that whatever combination of guys ends up gobbling up the minutes at the five (and sometimes four), the responsibility won’t be high. Winning the Granite Ridge Conference should be a goal and while Section 6AA is one of the tougher ones in the state, they are plenty capable of making a third straight state tournament appearance.
He said that: “We’re losing our two starting big guys so we’ll have to play a different style next year. It helps having those guys but I mean we’re excited to take bigger roles and show that there is more to our games. We have big shoes to fill and I’m excited for that.” — Nick Schaefer