Posted On: 11/18/19 4:25 PM
Henning dominated the Park Region Conference a year ago winning games by an average of 30 points a contest. How much will change this winter?
State Contender: Henning
The Hornets graduated two starters and a reserve but have 4-5 guys back from last year that played a crucial role in winning a state championship. You can expect Henning to be in the thick of the title race this winter once again with the talent they have returning. Henning played some of the best team basketball I’ve seen in the state of Minnesota last year at state and will start this season as favorites.
Close to Top Ten in State: Pillager
Not sure if Pillager can approach top ten in state status but they will at least be a 20-win team with the potential for more. Why? They won 16 games a season ago and return all their starters plus their bench from a year ago. Spencer Schaefer averaged a double-double last season and might be the best double-double averaging player in the state that most don’t know about.
Compete with Most: New York Mills, Menahga, Wadena-Deer Creek, Sebeka
Eagles from NY Mills lost their top two players/scorers from a year ago but do return solid ball handlers among their pair of starters returning. They could approach 20 wins again. Menahga returns three starters including two all league players so their 12-16 record will flip around at least. Wadena-Deer Creek is my pick to surprise in this league. Their overall schedule last year was tough but in the league they were an average team. What gives them a chance to take a big step is their pair of returning starters who are all league players, more size than most teams, and some good young players. Sebeka will be better. They won only six games last season but return all but one guy from their rotaiton.
Rebuilding: Verndale, Bertha-Hewitt
Most of Verndale’s top players from an eight win team graduate and they have very few upperclassmen. This is a team that will play several young kids and will likely at times take lumps. Bertha-Hewitt won only a game last year and their top returning scorers averaged six points or less.
Predicted Order of Finish
- Wadena-Deer Creek
- New York Mills
Preseason All Park Region Conference
First Team Pre-Season All Conference
Blake Wallevand of Henning (Sr)
Isaac Fisher of Henning (Sr)
Parker Fraki of Henning (Sr)
Spencer Schaefer of Pillager (Sr)
Kolby Kiser of Sebeka (Sr)
Second Team Pre-Season All Conference
Gavin Hillukka of Menahga (Sr)
Bereket Loer of Wadena-Deer Creek (Sr)
Tate Olson of New York Mills (Soph)
Ty Swenson of Pillager (Sr)
Blaine Wallevand of Henning (Sr)
Third Team Pre-Season All Conference
Cooper Folkestad of Wadena-Deer Creek (Sr)
Carson Vanvickle of Pillager (Sr)
Dawson Bullock of Sebeka ((Jr)
Tristian Aho of Menahga (Sr)
Payton Rondestvedt of Wadena-Deer Creek (Soph)
Fourth Team Pre-Season All Conference
Derin Gaudette of New York Mills (Jr)
Lee Bjorklund of Henning (Sr)
David Avelsgard of Sebeka (Jr)
Rick Harig of Bertha-Hewitt (Sr)
Jordan Kirscht of Bertha-Hewitt (Sr)