Posted On: 11/30/18 2:43 PM

Last night was the opener, tonight is the first full night of basketball with nearly 100 games being played around the state of Minnesota.  Today NHR breaks down the key contests and makes a prediction on the action. 

Breckenridge at Fergus Falls.  Breckenridge is playing for a third straight trip to the state tournament led by North Dakota State signed Noah Christensen while Fergus Falls has been to state two of the last three seasons.  Noah will be playing spring basketball teammate Matthew Johnson, a U of Mary signed guard.  Both teams have a lot to replace from a year ago, but the Otters have the bigger issue when it comes to lack of experience.  Breckenridge has the edge with Max Johnson, Hunter Feigum, Caden McGough, and Sam Bakken all playing roles last year, plus the 20/10 of Christensen returning.  Breckenridge by four scores. 

St. Charles at Stewartville.  This is surely one of the most intriguing contests of the night.  St. Charles won six more games than Stewartville last year (24 to 18) but the Tigers have more of their rotation returning.  The Fighting Saints have held the edge in the region but Will Tschetter at a skilled 6-foot-8 gives Stewartville an edge.  St. Charles really doesn’t have bigs to put on Will, but they do have a returning all conference/all league/all this and that player in Drew Leistikow.  Drew is a 6-foot-3 wing that Drew Simmons and Hunter Voigt will have to deal with.  We think Stewartville gets a big win tonight. 

Dover-Eyota at Lake City. Is Dover-Eyota ready to make the night step?  We definitely think so. They were 15-12 last season and return most of their top players including potential division one talent Brady Williams.  In addition to Brady, Jack Studder and Blake Blattner are also back so a big step will be taken by Dover-Eyota.  Just not in terms of wins this evening.  This is a Lake City team ranked 4th in the state to start the year led by Nathan Heise (also a junior) an Reid Gastner (yep, another junior).  This game will be one to see how much Dover-Eyota plays against a top team setting the tone for match-ups later in the season. 

BSM at Monticello. I like this game because there are some good players that may not have huge numbers back from last year, but they are talented.  Guys like Walker Johnson, Nick Peterson, and Dylan Drees of BSM, players that will make up the front three for the Red Knights.  At Monticello Matt Todd and his massive numbers are gone. In his place will be several quality players ready to get their chance to play.  Seniors Austin Puppe, Carson Sawatzke, and Shawn Sellner as well as junior Riley Erb should give the Magic the deeper team and a better backcourt.  Tough call, we go with the home team by a point. 

Sauk Rapids-Rice at Princeton.  Sauk Rapids went to state last year, Princeton is favored to be playing in late March this year.  Princeton has way more experience, a bigger line-up, and more scoring punch.  There are solid players in the Storm line-up as Kobe Lee and Kade-Milton Baumgardner have the size and agility to play with Adam Williams and Reilly O’Neil but the Tiger pair will still get what the team needs plus the Storm doesn’t have a match-up for James Flicek or Jon Stimmler inside. And let’s not forget that Tate Laabs and Calvin Peterson provide Princeton depth.  The Tigers pass test one by a dozen points. 

Alexandria at Moorhead. Alexandria and Moorhead both had seasons that were below their normal standard last year, both have a division one offered player that blossomed over the summer (Treyton Thompson of Alexandria and Maleeck Harden of Moorhead) plus both teams with guard that have proved to be quite productive (Trey Hoepner of Alex and Drew Hagen of the Spuds).  So who wins?  Tough call, but Moorhead is more experienced and they have the home court advantage. Spuds have the edge. 

Morris Area at Ortonville. Here is a match-up of two teams that we feel could be in the top ten of their respective classes very soon.  Morris Area has one of the top frontcourts in all of Class AA basketball (Camden Arndt when’s not handling the ball, Jackson Loge, and Jaret Johnson) and 20-game winner last year Ortonville who has a nice frontcourt themselves in 6-foot-3 Caden Wellnitz (11/7 last year) and Davonte Edwards (17/10 last year).  The ex-factors are Tyson Powell and Camden Arndt, both of which who will handle the ball often.  Morris has the edge in talent and wins by seven. 

Minnewaska Area at Redwood Valley.  The Lakers graduated a strong senior class that led them to the state tournament, but talent remains in 6-foot-8 big Shawn Carsten and quality junior guard Grant Jensen.  Tonight they make the drive to Redwood where Cole Woodford and his teammates await.  Close game for sure but Redwood Valley has more familiarity with one another so they win by four.