Hey there kids! It’s that time of the year again! That’s right, it’s basketball season. Practice for boys teams started Monday, so here’s a rundown of some of The Hoopster rankings for our area teams, as well as the leading statistical returners in Region 7 for boys and girls basketball. There are a few interesting items of note:
Region 7 is poised to contend for the state’s best region in boys basketball this season.
- The Hoopster has chosen a loaded Beulah squad to win the Class B state championship, and rightfully so because calling the Miners loaded may be putting it lightly. Senior guard Casey Duppong is coming off an injury, but leads a group that includes senior guard Tanner Dolbec and an excellent junior class (Jesse Hettich, Trevor Zacher, Cody Nelson, Noah Iverson).
- Beach’s returning all-state center Landon Lechler, a 6-foot-7 senior, comes into the season as the state’s leading returning scorer and was third in the state in rebounding. But he isn’t the only one in the region back after putting up big numbers in the 2010-11 season.
- Mott-Regent senior center Nate Fries averaged 19.6 points and 13.2 rebounds per game last season, which ranks him in the top 6 in the state in both categories among returning players. Oh, and the Wildfire also have senior guard Chad Mosbrucker, who averaged 18.6 points per game, and point guards McCahen Schweitzer, Taylor Zentner. They’re missing senior forward Jonah Honeyman, who is out for the season with an injury.
- Dickinson Trinity lost only one full-time starter from last year’s team that won the Region 7 title and took fourth at the state tournament. Look for junior guard Jacob Volk and junior center Jesse Kubik to take the next step and greatly help out seniors Dylan Fridrich and Christian Olson while they wait for point guard Mason Schiff’s knee to heal from a mid-season football injury.
- New England brings back the trio of seniors in Kaine Hanson, Nick Wolf and Clarence Binstock, who led them to a District 13 title last season. Hanson, a 6-5 forward, averaged 16.5 points and 10.3 rebounds last season. Wolf led the region in steals and Binstock led the region in assists. He’s the second-leading assists returner in Class B this season.
- Heart River lost a few big pieces, but return a good deal of talent from a team that upset Beulah in the Region 7 semifinals and made a surprising runner-up finish at the tournament. Oh, and leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Strecker probably won’t be coming off the bench this season.
- Hettinger and Scranton have formed a new co-op that I believe could shake things up a bit, especially with the addition of new head coach Adam Hill. They’ll be led by senior guard Ben Laufer (21.3 ppg, 3rd in state), senior center Justis Caldwell and junior forward Stephen Kristy.
11. Dickinson Trinity
20. New England
34. Heart River
1. New England
3. Heart River
6. Bowman County
2. Dickinson Trinity
5. Glen Ullin-Hebron
2. Dickinson Trinity
3. New England
5. Heart River
Landon Lechler, Beach, 24.0 (No. 1 in state)
Ben Laufer, Hettinger-Scranton, 21.3 (No. 3 in state)
Nate Fries, Mott-Regent, 19.2 (No. 6 in state)
Chad Mosbrucker, Mott-Regent, 18.6
Kaine Hanson, New England, 16.5
Nick Wolf, New England, 15.5
Austy Sadowsky, Killdeer, 15.0
Casey Duppong, Beulah, 14.2
Stetson Carr, Hazen, 13.6
Trevor Zacher, Beulah, 13.6
Jordan Strecker, Heart River, 13.0
Stephen Kristy, Hettinger-Scranton, 12.8
Jesse Hettich, Beulah, 12.5
Justis Caldwell, Hettinger-Scranton, 11.8
Jacob Volk, Trinity, 11.4
Collin Lindquist, Hazen, 11.1
Nate Fries, Mott-Regent, 13.2 (2nd in state)
Landon Lechler, Beach, 12.0 (3rd in state)
Kaine Hanson, New England, 10.3 (5th in state)
Chad Mosbrucker, Mott-Regent, 8.5
Stephen Kristy, Hettinger-Scranton, 8.3
Austy Sadowsky, Killdeer, 8.0
Jordan Strecker, Heart River, 8.0
Clarence Binstock, New England, 167 (2nd in state)
Austy Sadowsky, Killdeer, 115
Seth Ewoniuk, Heart River, 102
Chad Mosbrucker, Mott-Regent, 96
McCahen Schweitzer, Mott-Regent, 83
Stetson Carr, Hazen, 80
Nick Wolf, New England, 75
Jacob Volk, Trinity, 55
Seth Ewoniuk, Heart River, 54
Landon Lechler, Beach, 77 (4th in state)
Nate Fries, Mott-Regent, 46
Lane Voltz, Richardton-Taylor, 37
Clarence Binstock, New England, 34
Dylan Northrup, Heart River, 32
Kaine Hanson, New England, 29
Jarek Haverluk, Heart River, 29
On the girls side, Region 7 is a bit of a, dare I say it, crapshoot. The Hoopster ranks the Buccaneers No. 5 in the preseason poll and the coaches have them picked to win their third consecutive region championship, regardless of the fact that they lost five starters.
- Despite having no starters back, some coaches said Beach’s backup five may have been the second-best starting lineup in the region last season. They bring back sophomores Hailee Farstveet, Cydni Steadman and Bailey Waldal and seniors Kelcee Dykins and Brooke Davidson to start at group that may not be as good as last year’s starters, but aren’t a bad place for any Bob Waldal team to start.
- Killdeer, which lost to Beach in the Region 7 championship game last season, gets a high ranking in the power poll thanks to its amount of returning players and size. And ya know what? It may be a well-deserved ranking because these Cowboys aren’t just the Megan Klein show. They have a foursome of seniors around her, led by guard Heidi Ottmar, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see their young 5-10 forwards, junior Kelsey Knutson and sophomore Morgan LeMieux make leaps this season.
- Hettinger and Scranton’s co-op could be one to watch. Scranton could have been decent by themselves this season, so throwing in the former Black Devil players could give them a chance to compete with the top teams.
- Trinity brings back seniors Nikki Grinsteinner and Andrea Jirges to pair with a group of returning letterwinners and talented newcomers. In a sense, they reload while also returning two of their best players.
- Beulah is, by far, the biggest team in the region with 6-2 senior centers Kaycee Link and Anna Iverson to pair with 5-7 guards Meghan Battest and Nichole Lorenz.
- Heart River brings back an upperclassmen-led group with senior forwards Quinn Steffan and Miranda Kadrmas and juniors guard Mary Hlebechuk leading the way. They could make a run.
19. Dickinson Trinity
4. Heart River
5. Bowman County
6. New England
2. Dickinson Trinity
6. Hebron-Glen Ullin
3. Dickinson Trinity
7. Heart River
Megan Klein, Killdeer, 17.4
Karen Schaaf, Hebron-Glen Ullin, 11.5
Halle Olson, Richardton-Taylor, 11.3
Nikki Grinsteinner, Trinity, 11.0
Miranda Kadrmas, Heart River, 10.8
Taylor Kelner, Hettinger-Scranton, 10.5
Paige Burling, Hazen, 10.1
Marah Friez, Mott-Regent, 10.1
Kaitlyn Olson, Hettinger-Scranton, 10.1
Megan Klein, Killdeer, 10.5 (6th in state)
Halle Olson, Richardton-Taylor, 8.6
Quinn Steffan, Heart River, 8.1
Nikki Grinsteinner, Trinity, 8.0
Miranda Kadrmas, Heart River, 7.6
Meghan Battest, Beulah, 7.5
Courtney Anderson, Hettinger-Scranton, 6.5
Bryanna Rasch, New England, 6.1
Alexis Roth, Mott-Regent, 5.0
Rebecca Oase, Hettinger-Scranton, 5.0
Meghan Battest, Beulah, 89
Taylor Kelner, Hettinger-Scranton, 79
Marah Friez, Mott-Regent, 63
Courtney Anderson, Hettinger-Scranton, 54
Mary Hlebechuk, Heart River, 67
Heidi Ottmar, Killdeer, 38
Nikki Grinsteinner, Trinity, 48
Megan Klein, Killdeer, 32
Megan Klein, Killdeer, 24