Posted On: 10/11/18 8:14 PM
Looking ahead to the 2018-19 season, Prep Hoops Wisconsin breaks down the race in the Badger North Conference…
Predicted Order of Finish
1. Mount Horeb
6. Beaver Dam
7. Sauk Prairie
Favorite: Mount Horeb
The Vikings finished second in the conference last season and return senior guard Jacob Larson, who averaged 12.4 points per game. Mount Horeb gets five of their top six scorers back, including four of which who averaged at least 8.0 ppg. The Vikings arguably have the most balance and most cohesive unit in a conference that was hit badly by graduation. After winning 18 games a year ago, Mount Horeb has to enter this season feeling like the team to beat.
Dark Horse: DeForest
DeForest will go as far as Austin Westra will take them and he’s capable of taking them a great distance. Maybe the most dominant big man in the Madison area, Westra averaged 17 points per game last season. Junior guard Trey Schroeder (9.8 ppg) as is senior Cody Riggs (9.0 ppg). The Norskies have some key pieces to replace, but there may not be a team in the conference that has a matchup for Westra, which makes them a strong No. 2 on our list and perhaps even underrated.
Surprise Team: Waunakee
Waunakee won the Badger North last season and a total of 22 games. Yes, the Warriors lose a ton and can’t replace Belmont recruit Mitch Listau and Minnesota-Duluth recruit Mason Steffen, who were arguably the best two players in the conference last season. In all, Waunakee loses it’s top five scorers. But never overlook a program that’s averaged 24 wins a season over the last three years. There’s a winning culture here and players, who while may not have been atop the scouting report, who have played big minutes in key games.
Preseason First-Team All-Conference
G Will Fuhrmann (Reedsburg)
G Jacob Larson (Mount Horeb)
G Eli Considine (Portage)
F Josh Cash (Waunakee)
F Austin Westra (DeForest)
Player of the Year: Austin Westra
A player whose effort matches his talent, Westra doesn’t let a minute on the floor go to waste. Probably a walking double-double this season, Westra is a dominant interior presence who is also adding to his game from the perimeter. A strong, athletic forward who owns the paint and the glass, Westra will give DeForest a sizable edge on the interior throughout conference play.
Surprise Player: Josh Cash
One of those players we alluded to for Waunakee, Cash hasn’t been able to really showcase how good of a player he is over the last few years. The senior forward has been mostly a role player for the Warriors, but that’s going to change this season. A terrific 3-point shooter with versatility, Cash has a nice inside-outside game. He also does a lot of the little things that go unnoticed in the box score. Finally getting his chance to be a feature player in 2018-19, Cash showed in fall league action that he can carry a team and be a guy that will stuff the stat sheet.