What a crazy time to be alive right now. Everything is in limbo at the moment. The Class B boys state tournament was suspended last week. Heck, in a perfect world we would know who was crowned the 2019-20 champion today but here we are with no basketball.
But that shouldn’t stop us from talking about the greatest sport on the planet. Let’s take a look at teams that improved the most from last year to this season:
It was a season to remember for the Buccaneers as their 18 wins was the most reached in the last seven seasons. Beach won its first two games of the 2019-20 season before dropping a 60-48 loss to New Town. After that the Buccaneers rattled off eight straight wins and won 12 of their next 13 games including a 87-82 overtime victory over Mandaree. Beach didn’t end the season like they wanted to, however. Al Swanson’s squad went 3-3 in their final six games and was bounced out of the Region 7 tournament by Hazen in the quarterfinal round. The Buccaneers, however, shouldn’t be disappointed after improving their win total by nine games from a season ago.
Over the last seven seasons New Town has never had a sub .500 season. The Eagles reached 20-plus wins for the second time in the last three seasons and won Region 8 for the first time since 2014. New Town lost its first game of the 2019-20 season to Beulah and sat at 10-6 on Jan. 27 after back-to-back losses to Shiloh Christian and Killdeer. Jay Hale’s crew bounced back and won their final 11 games including a 68-60 win over Lewis & Clark, North Shore in the Region 8 title game.
Enderlin was one of the favorites to make it to the state tournament this season but they had an early exit in the Region 1 tournament. The Eagles finished the season with back-to-back losses but had two nine game winning streaks this year. A 71-63 loss on Jan. 24 to Northern Cass stopped Enderlin from putting those two winning streaks together. The Eagles were the No. 2-seed in the Region 1 tournament but lost to No. 7 Tri-State 81-78 in the quarterfinals. As tough of a loss that was for Calvin Kraft’s squad, the Eagles improved by eight games from last season. And with twin towers Gustave Hurlburt (6-foot-8) and Joseph Hurlburt (6-foot-10) back the Eagles are in a good spot for the next two seasons.
The previous four seasons have been tough for Lakota. The Raiders had a combined record of 10-72 but this season they turned it around. Lakota finished the year 10-12 and improved by eight wins from the 2018-19 season. It was a strong second half of the season that propelled them to 10 wins. Lakota won six of its final games after starting the season 4-10.
In the last seven seasons Garrison has won 10 or more games five times. The Troopers had a down year in 2018-19 but bounced back with 11 wins this season. Garrison had a much stronger first half of the year than the second half as they won five of its first seven games. The Troopers were competitive in those two losses – losing by four and nine points to Hazen and Nedrose. However, after the McLean County Shootout on Jan. 10-11, Garrison lost 10 of its final 16 games. At the end of the day, the Troopers had a big bounce back from a season ago.
Since the 2016-17 season, South Prairie has improved its win total every season. Four seasons ago the Royals had one win. Fast forward to the 2019-20 season and South Prairie finished with 12 wins and won a District 12 tournament game. The Royals started the season 6-3 with wins over Burke County, Velva, Westhope-Newburg, Center-Staton, Nebrose and Kenmare. They also had a three game winning streak in early February before going 2-4 in their final six games. It was a successful season for Jordan Cooper’s crew as they reached double-digit wins for the first time in five seasons.
Lewis & Clark, North Shore
Lewis & Clark, North Shore has been competitive in Region 8 over the last seven seasons. In 2013-14 the Wildcats reached 18 wins but this season they surpassed that win total by one game. They also had a chance to go to the state tournament but lost in the Region 8 title game to New Town 68-60. After starting the season 3-3 the Wildcats rattled off eight straight wins and finished the season winning eight of their final 10 games. After a .500 season in 2018-19, L & C, NS had season to remember and five of its six losses were by eight points or less.