Welcome to our 2020-21 season preview series. This year we’ll start with the girls’ previews and we’ll drop our 2020-21 Preseason Power Rankings after we preview all eight Regions and then move into the boys’ previews. Every other day a Region preview will be published at nodakbasketballhub.com. You can also find all the previews under the 2020-21 Season Links tab on the home page of our website. 

Click here to find all the Region previews.

Also, here’s the schedule for the upcoming girls previews:

Region 3 – Friday, Nov. 6
Region 4 – Sunday, Nov. 8
Region 5 – Monday, Nov. 9
Region 6 – Wednesday, Nov. 11
Region 7 – Friday, Nov. 13
Region 8 – Sunday, Nov. 15
2020-21 Preseason Power Rankings – Monday, Nov. 16

Region 2 was very competitive up and down last season as 11 of the 12 teams won eight games or more. But when it came to the region tournament, Grafton dominated and beat Drayton/Valley-Edinburg, Cavalier and Thompson by an average of 31.3 points. Is Region 2 set up for Grafton to win back-to-back titles or can another team knock off the Spoilers? A lot of teams lost multiple seniors, so it should be an interesting year in Region 2. Let’s dive in to the Region 2 2020-21 season preview.

Region 2 2019-20 record: 145-133

12. Park River/Fordville-Lankin

2019-20 record: 15-8

The Aggies have won 10 or more games each season dating back to 2013-14.That trend could very well end this season as they return just three letter winners from last season that averaged a combined 4.4 points per game. After graduating all five senior starters, Park River/Fordville-Lankin’s 2020-21 roster will feature a group of inexperienced student-athletes that includes five sophomores. Leading the charge this season will be three players that were part of the varsity rotation in 2019-20, however. Seniors Vanessa Cooper, Grace Johnson and Peyton Schroeder will all see their minutes increased from a season ago and will be called on to help the Aggies underclassmen make the transition to varsity basketball. Johnson hit 4 3-pointers in her junior season and averaged 1.6 points per game, while Schroeder added 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds per game. Cooper recorded 18 steals and 16 assists, and averaged 1.1 points and 1.3 rebounds per game. This will be a big learning season for Jon Berg and his crew but it’ll be fun to see who steps up and fills those holes left by a strong season class from a year ago.

11. Larimore

2019-20 record: 9-13

Larimore enters the 2020-21 season with one of the shortest teams in Class B. The Polar Bears tallest player is 5-foot-8 senior Chloe Aamodt and their three other returning letter winners range from 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-7. Senior Gracie Cole and juniors Willo Morten and Beth Holter return with some varsity experience as they were mostly role players last season. Morten is Larimore’s top returning scorer as she averaged 4.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in 2019-20. Cole and Holter both averaged 3.7 points per game a year ago and combined for 24 3-pointers. The Polar Bears will also lean on sophomores Carly Pietron, Mercedes Hoverson and Kendra Gemmill. Those three underclassmen will have to adjust to the varsity speed in 2020-21 as they played most of their minutes on the junior varsity squad last season. Phil Gaugler is back for his sixth-season as Larimore’s head coach and will need to find some scoring after graduating a number of shooters. The Polar Bears will be a young team and the student-athletes that were role players last year will be starters this season, so expect some ups and downs for Gaugler and company.

10. Hillsboro-Central Valley

2019-20 record: 10-12

A team that lost possibly the most from last season is Hillsboro-Central Valley. The Burros lost seven seniors, which included standout point guard Saige Forseth and All-Region player Abby Magnuson. H-CV will have a new but familiar face on the sideline in 2020-21 with Kyle Morehart back in the driver’s seat after a 10-year run that began in 2003. Morehart takes over a roster that has a lot of holes. The Burros will have to find a go-to scorer and possible candidates are seniors Stella Benson and Anna Spokely. One question that has been answered is senior Korina Holte will run the point guard duties. She’s also a talented defensive player. After losing some size with Magnuson gone, H-CV will have some size back with sophomore Sydni Culp in the post. There’s plenty of opportunities for H-CV players to make an impact this season as they’ll be searching for scorers and leaders.

9. May-Port-CG

2019-20 record: 8-13

May-Port-CG graduated six seniors from its lineup in 2019-20, so there’s going to be a lot of new faces on the court for the Patriots this season. Senior Addison Domier returns as MPCG’s leading scorer (5.3 ppg) and rebounder (3.1 rpg), while junior Kalynn Olson returns as the teams best passer. The Patriots also bring back junior Isabell Parker, who saw limited varsity minutes in 2019-20. The big question for head coach Sean Moore is who’s going to step up and fill out the rest of the MPCG lineup? The Patriots are actually a very veteran squad with 11 upperclassmen on its roster but a limited number of them saw playing time last season. Domier is the go-to scorer for MPCG and some other student-athletes are going to have a chance to play some big minutes for this Patriot team.

8. Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page

2019-20 record: 10-13

Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page lost a lot from its 2019-20 roster. The Spartans graduated six seniors that included two starters but Laura Ihry’s team welcomes back floor general Marissa Mitchell (Sr.) and leading scorer and rebounder in freshman Raegen Zerface. Zerface averaged 11.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game last season and is one of the top Class B prospects in the 2023-24 class. Junior Kylee Phelps will be asked to play a more important role compared to last season where she averaged 2.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. The Spartans will lean on 5-foot-7 sophomore Alli Stromsodt to be their point guard and junior Hailey Schlotfeldt will see an increase in minutes this upcoming season. F-S/H-P has some holes to fill but this is an important season for underclassmen players like Zerface and Stromsodt because they are the future of the F-S/H-P program.

7. Drayton/Valley-Edinburg 

2019-20 record: 8-15

Drayton/Valley-Edinburg started the 2019-20 season 5-2 but lost 13 of its final 16 games. However, the Titans righted the ship somewhat towards the end of the year after pulling out a 40-36 win over May-Port-CG in the Region 2 tournament. D/V-E graduated three seniors but bring back senior Kasey Stegman, who is one of the top players in Region 2. Stegman averaged 13.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest in 2019-20. One of her highlights from the 2019-20 season was dropping 26 points in a game against H-CV. The Titans also bring back two other letter winners in seniors Madison Hermanson (2.1 ppg and 3.2 rpg) and Meghan Lorton (4.2 ppg and 3.7 rpg). Stegman and Lorton combined for 25 3-pointers last season but the Titans will have to improve that outside shooting more and get more scoring from junior Ella Kitelson and sophomore Kiara Aasand. Stegman is a strong player but needs help from other student-athletes for the Titans to win games this season.

6. North Border

2019-20 record: 4-17

North Border finished last in Region 2 last season with just four wins. Out of their 17 losses, the Eagles lost five of them by six points or less, however. This team brings back seven letter winners that includes 5-foot-9 senior Claire Dummer. Dummer averaged 6.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in 2019-20. She’ll be the leader of this young North Border team and will have to average close to a double-double this season for the Eagles to be successful. Six of North Border’s seven letter winners are underclassmen, so this team does not have much varsity experience. Sophomore Addison Brown and freshman Jenna Fraser had strong 2019-20 seasons and will look to take a step forward in 2020-21. Brown averaged 3.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per contest last season while Fraser added 5.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. I’m most interested in seeing how this team performs under Patrick Dunnigan in his second-year at the helm. If the Eagles worked on building chemistry and scoring this offseason, we could see a big turnaround for North Border compared to last season.

5. Hatton-Northwood

2019-20 record: 9-13

Hatton-Northwood is near the top of Region 2 in number of letter winners that return for the 2020-21 season. The Thunder welcome back 10 letter winners that includes five upperclassmen but Tony Evenstad’s team still lacks varsity experience after graduating five seniors. Senior Leelee Thompson is the most experienced player that is back for the Thunder and averaged 5.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 1.3 assists and just under one block per game in 2019-20. Thompson is a solid defender and one of H-N’s best rebounders at 5-foot-4. The Thunder have a good shooter in junior Megan Larson and she’ll see more opportunities to put up points this season, which H-N will need. The Thunder also have some strong underclassmen in sophomore Estella Sehrt (1.5 pp and 1.1 rpg) and freshman Amara Howson (1.2 ppg). Sehrt can play multiple positions and showed positive strides at the end of last season, while Howson can knock down 3-pointers and has good court vision. H-N will play small ball with those 10 letter winners that haven’t played a ton of varsity minutes but they bring back the most out of the teams listed above to be able to finish Top 5 in Region 2 this season.

4. Cavalier

2019-20 record: 13-12

Cavalier is one of the few teams in Region 2 that bring back the majority of its roster from last season. The Tornadoes graduated two players but bring back a well-balanced scoring attack as nine student-athletes have the capability to put up points every night. Leading that scoring attack are sophomores Jade Kihne and Rylen Burgress. The two underclassmen combined for just over 20 points per game in 2019-20 and are solid shooters from beyond the arc. The Tornadoes need to improve their defense and rebound better this season as only one player (sophomore Eden Carrier) averaged more than four rebounds per contest last season. Cavalier is an interesting team in that its underclassmen were responsible for most of its scoring in 2019-20. They do have some upperclassmen leadership with senior Chloe Walton and juniors Jezimay Watson and Mady Nordstrom. Nordstrom averaged 4.8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game last season but Cavalier is going to need more production out of her, and Walton will need to be more consistent offensively. The Tornadoes will miss Charlee Krieg and Alea Manley but they have talent and depth to compete for a Top 4 spot in Region 2 this upcoming season.

3. Thompson

2019-20 record: 19-5

Thompson will be without two players in Macy Jordheim and Kaia Sorby that were crucial to its success in previous seasons. However, the Tommies bring back one of the top players in the 2020-21 recruiting class in Mackenzie Hughes. The 5-foot-5 senior guard averaged 21.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.3 steals and 3.2 assists per game last season. Jason Brend’s squad has big game experience but student-athletes like seniors Jada Welke (5.5 ppg and 4.5 rpg) and Madeleine Stefonowicz (2.5 ppg and 2.5 rpg) along with juniors Libby Koerber (4.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg) and Bailey Munson (2.5 ppg and 1.5 rpg) all need to take their games to the next level. The Tommies return eight upperclassmen letter winners and two underclassmen letter winners in sophomore Olivia Dick and Sydney Schwabe that will be in the mix for some playing time. It’s tough to bet against Hughes and a Thompson program that’s competitive every season. If the Tommies can find success early and feed off Hughes’ big time plays and find some 3-point shooters, I think they can compete at a high level this season.

2. Midway-Minto 

2019-20 record: 17-7

Midway-Minto had one of its best seasons in program history last season and brings back a solid chunk of its 2019-20 roster. Senior Elizabeth Schanilec leads the way for the Mustangs and scored her 1,000th-career point last season and averaged a team-high 16.8 points per game. Schanilec is smart player on the court and is one of the top players in Class B at getting to the rim. M-M also brings back senior April Schmitz, who can do a little bit of everything from scoring to playing lock down defense. Schmitz averaged 12.1 points per game in 2019-20 along with 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 steals. The Mustangs are a veteran group with eight seniors and a couple of juniors on their roster. Todd Burianek’s crew is filled with multiple players like senior Kenady Slominski (7.4 ppg) and junior Khaleela Korynta (6.2 ppg and 31 3-pointers) that can score from anywhere on the court including from 3-point range. Midway-Minto did not play well in 2019-20 against top Class B teams like Grafton and Langdon-Edmore-Munich but it’ll be Burianek’s second-year coaching the Mustangs, so I think we’ll see a better gameplan in big games for this team in 2020-21.

1. Grafton

2019-20 record: 23-4

Grafton returns a strong group of student-athletes that includes one of the best players in Class B and one of the most talented underclassmen. Carlee Sieben comes off a 2019-20 campaign where she averaged 19.1 points per game, 4.9 assists, 3.4 steals and 3.2 rebounds. This will be an important season for Sieben as college basketball programs have her circled as a must get. The Spoilers also bring back 6-foot-3 sophomore Walker Demers, who averaged 9.7 points per game and 9.4 rebounds as a freshman. Both her and Sieben were named to the 2019-20 State Tournament Team. Grafton welcomes back two other talented players in seniors Julia Dusek and Cassie Sieben. Dusek averaged 12.7 points per game last season and Cassie Sieben added 10.1 points per contest and 3.3 rebounds. Seven Grafton student-athletes averaged three points per game or more in 2019-20 and this whole team can attack the rim and knock down 3-pointers. What makes Laurie Sieben’s crew so strong is that their lineup features multi-year starters and they are one of the best Class B teams in turning defense into points. This team knows success and has players that can come off the bench that can keep the pedal on the gas every game. With Carlee Sieben running the show and a talented group behind her that features 10 upperclassmen, the Spoilers have a good shot at playing and winning the 2020-21 Class B State Championship.

One Comment

  1. Todd Burianek says:

    Nice writeup on my Mustang girls. You’re right, I need a better game plan in big games. We have both Langdon and Grafton in December so we will be tested right away.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.