Posted On: 10/3/18 4:00 PM
Every coach and player talks about how they want to be at their best at the end of the year. The Jamestown Bluejays accomplished that. After a middling regular season that saw them go 10-11, Jamestown upset Mandan and Bismarck Century in the WDA tournament to earn a spot in the Class A State Tournament. There, they lost both games in contested fashion. With two of the best players in the state back, Jamestown can enter the 2018-19 season with reasonably high expectations.
Players to Replace: Josh Horgan, Bryan Mosolf
Jamestown didn’t have a big senior class but one guy that did provide a pretty big tangible impact was guard Josh Horgan. He was the team’s third leading scorer and took by far the most 3-pointers on the team. His percentage wasn’t great but on a team that clearly lacked outside shooting, he provided a threat of it. Bryan Mosolf was a solid rotation player as well.
Returning Starters: Mason Walters, Boden Skunberg, Jared Kallenbach
This is where the Bluejays have a lot of cause for optimism. Mason Walters is one — if not the — best bigs in the state and coming off a junior year in which he averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds on his way to earning all-state honors. He had a terrific summer playing with ECI and committed to stay home and play for Jamestown University. He’s a very good passer and offensive rebounder as well. He’s a consistent force for a team that needs offense. Walters isn’t even the best prospect on the team though as Boden Skunberg is regarded as the top college prospect in North Dakota for the 2020 class. The 6-foot-4 forward averaged 14 points and 5.8 rebounds. He’s a solid perimeter shooter and if he can take a step forward in that department in addition to tightening up his handles — more turnovers than assists — the Bluejays will have a dominant duo. Jared Kallenbach returns after averaging 7.6 points per game while leading the team in assists.
Stepping Into New Roles: Dawson Douty, Ryder Lunzman, Jacob Hilgerman, Noah Wegenast
With so many of the core rotation players back in the fold, the roles won’t necessarily be new so much as they’ll be expanded. Jamestown will need more from it’s top two guys in Walters and Skunberg but it’ll also need more production from returners like Douty, Lunzman and Hilgerman.
Douty was the team’s top shooter by percentages a year ago and if he can keep hitting 40 percent of his triples while increasing the volume, the offense could hum much nicer. He’ll have opportunities to do so with all the attention inside. Lunzman averaged five points per game last year and contributed nicely on the defensive end. Wegenast could be a valuable piece in the frontcourt and Hilgerman showed some promise as a freshman and could step into a bigger role as a sophomore.
The Bluejays were right in the middle of the pack in the WDA last year and put together a strong postseason run and got to state. That was in spite of poor outside shooting and a negative assist to turnover margin. They clean some of that stuff and they’ve got the potential to not only get back to the state tournament, but make some noise there this time.