Posted On: 10/20/18 3:00 PM
The Camden Conference is home to a handful of the best teams in Class A this upcoming season. The defending state champion Russell-Tyler-Ruthton won the conference last season but will get stiff competition from top-notch squads like Minneota and Dawson-Boyd this season. Here’s what you need to know:
The Vikings went 24-4 last season, losing to the eventual state champs in the section final by just two points. The good news for them is that they return their three leading scorers and four starters. It starts with Thomas and Jacob Hennen who combined to averaged about 35 points per game. Logan Sussner averaged 12 points per game as well. Minneota has a number of interchangeable athletic combo type players which makes them really hard to match up with.
Contenders: Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, Dawson-Boyd
RTR won 33 games including the state title last year behind a balanced scoring attack and stifling defense. The Knights will have to replace a number of top scorers but as long as the Hansen brothers are still around, RTR will contend. Cooper averaged 11 points, 6.7 rebounds and five assists last year while Carter put up 11.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and four assists. Both guys are terrific defenders on the perimeter as well. Brett Kelly is also back as one of the team’s top shooters.
Dawson-Boyd won the north half of the Camden last season and should be strong again this winter as two of its top three scorers are back. Bentley Boike averaged better than 18 points a night and has an inside-outside game that few can contend with in the league. He’s a potential league player of the year. Romell Horton averaged 14 a night and is one of the best shot-creators in the conference.
Should Compete: Renville County West, Canby, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg
KMS won 14 games last year and could be just as good or better this year. Weston Gjerde (12 ppg) and Ethan Hauge return as starters in the backcourt and Regan Carlson (11 ppg) is solid in the frontcourt.
Renville County West will have to replace starting center Nathan Serbus but senior guard Justin Schrupp is one of the elite scorers in the conference and Riley Ashburn looked like a potential big-time player as a freshman last year.
Canby won nine games last season but could be a breakout team to watch as Zach Durfee and Riley Kockelman both return after putting up double-figure scoring averages last year. Tyler Sayre joins them on the perimeter and Carter Wente is back to provide some muscle inside.
Rebuilding: Lac Qui Parle Valley, Lakeview, Central Minnesota Christian, Yellow Medicine East, MACCRAY, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton
Central Minnesota Christian had to start from the ground up last year after graduating a terrific senior class the year prior. The Bluejays top two players are back as Austin TeBrake (12 ppg) and Peter Martin (11 ppg) return. That’s a solid inside-outside duo to start.
MACCRAY won five games last year but a returning backcourt duo of Thomas Kirking and Blake Wadsworth could translate to a much better season this time around. Those two could combine to average 30-35 points a night.
Yellow Medicine East won just six games last year including three in conference but the Sting return a solid backcourt duo in Bennett Knapper and Carter Sneller. Both those guys could push for all-conference honors.
Lac Qui Parle Valley was solid last year but will need to replace three starters. Caden Bjornjeld and Austin Bonn return to give the Eagles some stability in the backcourt though.
TMB won just one conference game last year and loses its leading scorer in Moses Dolan. But the Panthers do bring back several rotation guys in Fritz Landherr, Jett Davis and Matt Timmerman.
Lakeview won 18 games last year but will need to replace its top two scorers along with a big chunk of its rotation.
18-19 Conference Predictions
Renville County West
Yellow Medicine East
Lac Qui Parle Valley
Camden All Conference
Thomas Hennen, Sr., Minneota
Cooper Hansen, Sr., RTR
Jacob Hennen, Soph, Minneota
Bentley Boike, Sr., Dawson-Boyd
Carter Hansen, Sr., RTR
Thomas Kirking, Sr., MACCRAY
Justin Schrupp, Sr., Renville County West
Romell Horton, Jr., Dawson-Boyd
Logan Sussner, Jr., Minneota
Zach Durfee, Jr., Canby
Austin-TeBrake, Jr., CMC
Weston Gjerde, Sr., KMS
Regan Carlson, Sr., KMS
Caden Bjornjeld, Sr., LQPV
Bennett Knapper, Sr., Yellow Medicine East