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    2014-15 Class B Primer

    It’s never too early to assess the 2014-15 Class B basketball districts.  There are plenty of good young teams with returning players making the prospects for another outstanding season look bright.  You can use this as the Class B Primer as you watch the season unfold before your own eyes.   Here’s how I see the Class B districts playing out in the 2014-15 season.

    District 1

    This district was one of the weakest in the state in 2013-14.  Waverly South Shore had the only plus 500 record but couldn’t beat anybody with a winning record.  The top 3 teams will once again be: Waverly South Shore, Summit, and Rosholt.  Summit will be led by a pair of good seniors, Jake Steinocker and Jacob Gapp.  The Eagles had a very young team last year with no seniors.  Summit won’t be big but they will be good.    Bailey Comes is a good looking junior guard for the WSS Coyotes.   Rosholt almost has enough Licks to form their own team … Dylan, Luke, and Nathan are all back.  Rosholt’s Alex Krueger will contend with the “Summit Jakes” for best player in the district. 

    The pick: Summit

    District 2

    Langford, Aberdeen Christian and Warner all had very good teams last year.   Langford returns their best player, Bo Fries, who is an all state talent at guard and at 6’4 is extremely difficult to handle both offensively and defensively.  Bo is one of the best creators with the ball in his hands in the entire state … creates his own shot but a little publicized note is that he can dish off the drive also. Chance Olson, Jordan Carson and Josh Punt will attempt to replace the scoring and rebounding and assists vacated by Zach Punt and Donte Blanchard and Brian Anderson.  Warner had a good young team with only one senior and they started five non-seniors in 2013-14.   Derrek Tuszka at 6’4 is physical and good on both ends of the court.   Mike Rogers is a long 6’8 post and Micah Hoellein is a good looking guard … the class of 2017 is deep for the Monarchs.  The Aberdeen Christian Knights have a tough wing player who can light up the scoreboard in Sam Palmer and Tanner Droog played plenty of minutes.  When you get past these two guys, the rest of the team is green.  Matt Rohrbach and Isaac Ayers will be missed at guard for AC.   Bo Fries is the landslide winner for best player in the district but does he have enough supporting cast to keep the district title in Langford?

    The pick: Warner

    District 3

    Potter County, Herreid Selby and Eureka Bowdle will again be the best teams in this district.  Herreid Selby has Schaefbauer x 2, Cooper and Logan.   These guys are more than just outstanding football players and great track athletes.   They can play basketball also and will form a good guard nucleus with Karsten Goehring.  Eureka Bowdle returns Austin Weiszhaar, Brandon Beutler, and 6’4 Cole Kappenman.  Potter County has the most and best quality returning talent of the three contenders.   Caleb Meinke was a breakout star at the B’s last year and PC has size with 6’8 Rease Logan and Storer x 2, Dalton and Tanner.   Caleb Meinke is the best player in the district.

    The pick: Potter County

    District 4

    This district will come down to Sully Buttes and Hitchcock Tulare …. Again.  The Patriots were young last year with only one senior, Trent Hofer.  Tyler Oeschle at 6’5 gives HT some height.   Chase Bixler is a good young leader and Landon Gatzke can shoot from the perimeter and Trevor Hofer will provide good senior leadership.  I like HT to be one of the top teams in Class B.  Sully Buttes, being the traditionally strong basketball school, has Brayden Wittler and Scott Sentfer as the top players for the Chargers.  Sully’s players have lots of experience and have grown over the past couple seasons both physically and also as basketball players.  Landon Gatzke is the best player in the district but team mate Chase Bixler and Wittler and Sentfer from Sully are contenders.

    The pick: Hitchcock Tulare

    District 5

    DeSmet was the surprise team in this district last season.   They will not sneak up on anybody this year and without their top two players: Austin Janssen and Kyler Asleson, they will be hard pressed to repeat last year’s success.  The Bulldogs have some talent back: Broderick Poppinga and Dylan Gehm and Adam Augenbaugh.  Arlington is the team to beat with an outstanding senior class led by Andrew King.  The supporting cast includes: Alex Heuer, Tanner Lemme, Logan Kangas and huge Kyle Stegman who is the likely candidate for first player off the team bus at away games … tactic intended to strike fear in the hearts of opponents/intimidation factor …. King is still the Cardinals best player and the best player in the district.

    The pick: Arlington

    District 6

    All of you guys voting for James Valley Christian in the polls, listen up.  Wedel, Ulvestad, Glanzer and Waldner have all graduated and their replacements are just simply not worthy.  This district will be a battle between two top 10 Class B teams: Sanborn Central Woonsocket and Wolsey Wessington.  SCW will be very good led by an exceptional junior class …. Beware next season!!   Tucker Kingsbury, Dillon Moore, and Brady Tiede will lead Sanborn Central Woonsocket.  Wolsey Wessington has super athlete Lorenzo Williams and sophomore Bennett White.  Jerret Weber, a 6’3 junior guard was an outstanding transfer in for the Warbirds (the Bridgewater Emery fans are crying in their beer).  Weber helps close the talent gap considerably between SCW and WW but I still like SCW to win the district.   Lorenzo Williams is hands down the best player in the district.

    The pick: Sanborn Central Woonsocket

    District 7

    Elkton Lake Benton and Chester are again head and shoulders above the competition … Colman Egan is on the watch list with two very good freshmen who played a lot last year as 8th graders: Kade Groos and Bodee Groos.   Heath Schindler is a returning all-state guard for ELB and Alex Trautman, Cole DeRuyter, and Josh Grooters provide a good supporting cast.  Chester was young last year with only one senior … ditto this year with Cole Acheson.  Yet another Kreutzfeldt, Jesse, plays and will be among the Flyers scoring leaders as will junior Josh Anderson.   Heath Schindler will be the best player in the district.

    The pick: Elkton Lake Benton

    District 8

    Hanson is the favorite with a very good returning group led by all-state Jordan Marquardt and Taylor Nichols.  Ethan graduated the best Point Guard in Class B, Ethan Bartscher, but Rylee Riggs and Camden Myers will keep them in the hunt.  Canistota was young last year but that group is a year more experienced and I like them to challenge Hanson and Ethan for district supremacy.  I expect Shay Jolley, Carson Hofer, Jerad Nielson, and Mason Decker to perform well for the Hawks.  Mitchell Christian will be much improved with breakout star Austin Bormann and the tallest foreign exchange student I have ever seen: 6’10 Majok Kur.   Jordan Marquardt is the best player in this district, as he has shown since his breakout freshman season.

    The pick: Hanson

    District 9

    Freeman has the most dynamic duo in the district with high scoring Cole Paulson and Brennan Schmidt.  The big question is: can anybody else on the team step up enough to help bring them the district crown?   Menno led by Derrek Lehr and Caleb Preszler looks to improve on last year’s sub-500 season.  The good news for Freeman is that the district doesn’t look overly challenging.  Cole Paulson is the best player in the district.

    The pick: Freeman

    District 10

    Irene Wakonda has a good looking 6’4 junior guard, Gabe King.   Alcester Hudson, although smallish, is very good with lots of returning experience at guard.   The Cubs are led by Grant Johnson, Sam Jensen, Mitchell Johnson and Chris Klemme.  Centerville still has an O’Malley, junior Rory.  Christian Gruschin, at 6’5, will post a lot of double-doubles and Tyrell Martz will help in the back court.  Viborg Hurley graduated Jack Huether but still have quality returnees:  Rusten Anderson, Lucas Jacobson, Wyatte Andersen, Cody Thompson, and Austin Wurtz.  If the Cubs can find a way to guard the post and rebound, they will be a tough out.  The best player in the district is a close race between Gabe King, Christian Gruschin, and Grant Johnson …..  the winner is: Christian Gruschin.

    The pick: Alcester Hudson

    District 11

    Platte Geddes is the prohibitive number 1 in the early Class B polls.  That is not a surprise after the Black Panthers runner up finish in last year’s State B and returning their top players: all-state Coby Johnson and Carter Dykstra.  Corsica Stickney is the likely top challenger but they do not have the horses to run with PG.  Austin Tilton, Eli Van Roeckel, and Walker Baan Hofman will all contribute to any success Corsica Stickney has this year.  Coby Johnson is the best player in the district.

    The pick: Platte Geddes

    District 12

    Gregory or Burke South Central is the odds on favorite to capture this district crown.  The Cougars return Dell Drey, and Zach Sebern and Ethan Fernau.  Gregory is led by seniors Gavin Thomas, Damon Eagle Star and Mason Jurasek, with a good looking sophomore Robert Vomacka.   Colome returns junior Reed Harter and he is the key to this team … they will be young and inexperienced and small …. None of which is a recipe for success …. Although Harter will be very good.   Zach Sebern is the best player in this district.

    The pick: Gregory

    District 13

    White River is the favorite again …. When was the last time you did not hear that?  Last year showed us what the Krogman-less Tigers would do: 16-4 regular season and 7th place at the State B.   Lots of schools across the state would love that season result!  Still, when the Tigers “unbeatable mystique” was solved, the teams with better talent actually started beating White River last season.  With Justin Prue, Justin Folkers, Link Tucker and Justice Morrison, this year’s WR team will be good enough to capture this district …. Again.   Lyman will be their biggest competition.  Trey Mundlein (love that name … Trey) and Bryce Janis are two savvy guards who will make the Raiders decent.  Justin Prue is the best player in this district.

    The pick: White River

    District 14

    Philip returns all of their top players from a 12-8 team.   I predict a better season for the Scotties.  Nelson Holman is their returning leading scorer.  6’7 Kruse Bierle will be a double – double machine and Paul Guptil is an exceptional athlete and leader and then you add in Tristen Rush and Philip will be very good this season.  RC Christian is no longer a walking punch line to the joke about weak sisters in the Black Hills.  6’8 post Curtis Stahlecker gives them the good big man that most B schools do not have.  St Thomas More transfer, Jim Hubbeling, adds size on the front line to go along with returnee Jadd Evans and a good little guard: Paul McLaughlin.  Did anyone else catch that apparent oxymoron: St Thomas More had somebody transfer OUT!!   Oelrichs gave White River all they could handle in the LNI last year and had a very good season …. No magic this year for them.     New Underwood has a tough team led by Brandon Koch.  Jhett Finkbeiner and a solid freshman: 6’4 Brady Wolken will keep the Tigers in the hunt.  Kruse Bierle is the best player in the district but he has competition from team mates Nelson Holman and Paul Guptil and Brandon Koch and fellow big man: Curtis Stahlecker.

    The pick: Philip

    District 15

    McIntosh and McLaughlin are the two best teams with Timber Lake showing potential depending on how the young players progress.   McIntosh will be led by Kyle Mollman and will be young.  McLaughlin has high scoring Payton Tiokasin and Hank Taken Alive on the bench.  I like the Midgets name and I like Tiokasin to lead them to the district title.  Kyle Mollman will be the best player in the district.  

    The pick: McLaughlin

    District 16

    The same old story is playing out in D-16: Faith and Harding County are the favorites.  Faith has a strong senior class with tons of experience and leadership.   This means Faith will be one of the top teams in the state.  Tyler Hohenberger is a big time player and the Longhorns are no doubt happy he transferred in.  JJ Halligan, Josh Afdahl, and Rio Hulm will be a good supporting cast.  Harding County has Harley Mollman and an outstanding sophomore, Jarret Jenson and a really good junior, Clayton Koch.  The Ranchers don’t have the depth of Faith.  Tyler Hohenberger is the best player in D16.

    The pick: Faith

    Bonus content:

    The best player from each district you likely have never heard about (not to be mistaken as the best player from each district):

    Alex Krueger – Rosholt

    Sam Palmer – Aberdeen Christian

    Karsten Goehring – Herreid Selby

    Chase Bixler – Hitchcock Tulare

    Caleb DeKam – Castlewood

    Dillon Moore – Sanborn Central Woonsocket

    Jesse Kreutzfeldt – Chester

    Austin Bormann – Mitchell Christian

    Brennan Schmidt – Freeman

    Gabe King – Irene Wakonda

    Eathen Gaulke – Kimball White Lake

    Gavin Thomas – Gregory

    Trey Mundlien – Lyman

    Brandon Koch – New Underwood

    Payton Tiokasin – McLaughlin

    Jarret Jenson – Harding County

    Super bonus content:

    Pre-season All State Team:

    1st Team

    Coby Johnson – Platte Geddes

    Bo Fries – Langford

    Lorenzo Williams – Wolsey Wessington

    Jordan Marquardt – Hanson

    Andrew King – Arlington

    2nd Team

    Heath Schindler – Elkton Lake Benton

    Cole Paulson – Freeman

    Tyler Hohenberger – Faith

    Derek Tuszka – Warner

    Justin Prue – White River

    3rd Team

    Taylor Nichols – Hanson

    Kruse Bierle – Philip

    Carter Dykstra – Platte Geddes

    Christian Gruschin – Centerville

    Grant Johnson – Alcester Hudson

    2 Responses

    1. Jacks3434 Says:

      +1 like

      I have to agree on the all-state picks. I disagree with Sebern being better than Harter. Harter can dribble that ball better, both are good shooters but Harter makes plays happen.

    2. JACKALOPE Says:

      +1 like

      Thanks for your perspective on Reed Harter! There is lots of basketball to play and lots of improving for the kids who seize the opportunities of practice and live game situations.

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