Posted On: 10/19/18 10:00 AM
The Southeast Conference was young as a whole last year, with many teams relying on underclassmen to make meaningful contributions. Spring Grove has dominated the league in recent years and enters the year as the favorite once again, but there’s a lot of talent up and coming around the conference, which should make it a compelling winter.
Favorite: Spring Grove
The Lions won the conference by a wide margin again last winter and with practically everybody back in the fold, expectations are that they should own the league again. Alex Folz is the best point guard in the conference and going into his fourth year as a starter. He averaged 17 points, four rebounds and four assists last year and could be even better as the guys around him get better. Ethan Matzke should be even better a year further removed from knee surgery that wiped out his sophomore season and was solid last year, averaging 12 points per game. That’s a terrific duo to start things with. Caden Grinde is one of the top up-and-coming wings in the conference and Noah Elton is a reliable perimeter piece. Spring Grove has the look of a top-10ish team in Class A.
Contenders: Randolph, LeRoy-Ostrander
LeRoy-Ostrander won 19 games last season and should be strong again this winter as two of the Cardinals’ top scorers are back. Trey Hungerholt averaged 18 points, six rebounds and six assists while Riley Olson averaged 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds. Kolten Arndorfer is back as well, giving the Cardinals quite a bit of firepower.
Randolph will compete for the top spot in the West division of Southeast Conference again after winning it last season. Carsyn Gunderson is one of the top players in the league and Nick Drinken may be the best point guard in a league full of strong point guards. Andrew Wenstrom and Joey Erickson both return as well to provide even more stability on the perimeter for the Rockets.
Should Compete: Grand Meadow, Mabel-Canton, Houston, Lyle/Pacelli
The Superlarks won 12 games last year and should be even better this year if only because Colt Landers should be even better. As a freshman, Landers averaged 16 points and 6.5 rebounds while knocking down better than 41 percent of his 3-point attempts. He’s the real deal. Austin Funk is back too, after averaging 12.5 points and drilling 47 percent of his triples.
Mabel-Canton won eight games last winter but returns all-conference guard Drew Wyfells and starting center Blake Henry. Two other starters are back as well with Dylan Loppnow and Ryan Kuhn.
Houston won 11 games a year ago and there’s cause for optimism as the Hurricanes have a solid core of guys back in the fold. James Hongerholt is one of the best guards in the league and Alex Van Gundy joins him to form a dynamic duo. Connor Van Gundy returns to provide a boost in the frontcourt too.
Lyle/Pacelli will have to replace three of its top scorers but does return a pair of sophomores that should be good enough to keep the team competitive while it retools. Jed Nelson averaged better than 11 points per game while Zach Bollingberg put up just less than 10.
Rebuilding: Schaeffer Academy, Lanesboro, Glenville-Emmons
Schaeffer Academy won 18 games last year, finishing second in the conference. But the Lions graduate Cole Bothun, Christian Lahr and Kade Schwartz which means they’ll need to replace practically all their scoring.
Lanesboro won just twice last year. Carson Swichtenberg is a talented guard who should put up some points, but the Burros will have to make a lot of internal progress to get some more wins.
Glenville-Emmons got just one win last winter and graduates four of its top five starters.
18-19 Season Predictions
All Southeast Conference
Alex Folz, Sr., Spring Grove (POY)
Colt Landers, Soph., Grand Meadow
Trey Hungerholt, Sr., LeRoy-Ostrander
Carsyn Gunderson, Sr., Randolph
Ethan Matzke, Sr., Spring Grove
Drew Wyffels, Sr., Mabel-Canton
Carson Schwichtenberg, Sr., Lanesboro
Nick Drinken, Jr., Randolph
Jed Nelson, Soph., Lyle/Pacelli
James Hongerholt, Sr., Houston
Alex Van Gundy, Jr., Houston
Noah Elton, Sr., Spring Grove
Blake Henry, Sr., Mabel-Canton
Riley Olson, Jr., LeRoy-Ostrander
Caden Grinde, Soph., Spring Grove