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2020-21 Class B Boys Season Preview: Region 1

Welcome to our 2020-21 Class B boys season preview series. Every other day a Region preview will be published at nodakbasketballhub.com. You can also find all the previews including the girls’ previews under the 2020-21 Season Links tab on the home page of our website. After we preview all eight regions, we’ll drop our Top 10 Preseason Power Rankings. 

Click here to find all the Region previews.

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

Region 2 – Thursday, Nov. 19
Region 3 – Sunday, Nov. 22
Region 4 – Tuesday, Nov. 24
Region 5 – Thursday, Nov. 26
Region 6 – Thursday, Nov. 26
Region 7 – Sunday, Nov. 29
Region 8 – Tuesday, Dec. 1
2020-21 Preseason Power Rankings – Wednesday, Dec. 2

Much like in the past, Region 1 will be very competitive this season. Enderlin brings back a lot of talent but teams like Oak Grove, Kindred and Northern Cass will be gunning for that top spot. Let’s dive in to the Region 1 preview.

12. Richland

2019-20 record: 18-5

After having a handful of successful seasons, Richland will start its rebuilding years this season. The Colts bring back four letter winners that include two student-athletes that served as backups in 2019-20. Juniors Colten Mickelson and Nick Thompson combined for four points per game last season but have the ability to make shots from beyond the arc. Richland will lean on underclassmen this season to fill out its roster after losing six seniors.

11. Maple Valley

2019-20 record: 12-10

Maple Valley returns one starter from its 2019-20 roster in junior Evan Richman, who averaged 9.1 points per game and 6.4 rebounds. Unfortunately, the Raiders don’t return any other players that saw varsity action in 2019-20. Junior Cody Gille and sophomores Caleb Kocka and Clay Hovelson had strong junior varsity seasons last year and will most likely be starters in 2020-21.

10. Tri-State

2019-20 record: 13-11

Tri-State graduated 10 seniors from last year’s squad that made it to a Region 1 semifinal game. The Tigers return five upperclassmen that include three seniors in Derrick Carl (8.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg) , Brandon Gruenwald (6.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and Tyler Leverson. Gruenwald will take over that leadership role for Tri-State in 2020-21 and can make an impact on both sides of the court. Watch for him to have a breakout season. Carl has great court vision and Leverson is a do-it-all type of player for head coach Adam Krueger. The Tigers will also have to get more minutes out of juniors Jacob Lick and Lewis Ceroll.

9. Hankinson

2019-20 record: 5-14

Hankinson returns three student-athletes that combined for 28.8 points per game last season in senior Austin Bladow, junior Kaden Kelley and sophomore Cruz Hernandez. At 6-foot-3, Bladow (10.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg) is one of the better players in Region 1 and averaged close to a double-double as a junior. He can also stretch the floor and knock down shots from beyond the arc. Kelley and Hernandez are both good 3-pointer shooters and combined for 58 3-pointers last season. Hankinson has some scorers but depth will be in an issue this upcoming season. The Pirates will look for seniors Cody Meyer and Dylan Peterson along with junior Chase Evans and sophomore Ruston Kath to compete for those other two starting spots.

8. Sargent County

Sargent Central and Milnor-North Sargent will join forces this season and become Sargent County. The Bulldogs bring back a talented 6-foot-1 senior in Mason Bogart, who averaged 12.1 points per game in 2019-20 and 10.1 rebounds. Bogart will need to increase his scoring this season for the Bulldogs to have success. Sargent County also welcomes back senior guard Micah Anderson (10.1 ppg, 4.1 apg) and junior Avery McFarland (8.1 ppg). The Bulldogs are a better team when Anderson is dishing off the basketball. McFarland is Sargent County’s 3-point threat and needs to be more of a scorer in 2020-21. Sophomore Fletcher Willprecht will give the Bulldogs a boost of energy with his defensive play and is a solid rebounder. With every co-op there’s always some ups and downs to start the season but if Sargent County can get past that, they should have a good season.

7. Lisbon

2019-20 record: 8-13

Lisbon enters the 2020-21 season with nine upperclassmen that include three seniors in Robert Adam, Parker Runck and Kolby Rasmussen. Those three student-athletes along with junior Caleb Olson stand between 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-3. Adam averaged 8.8 points per game in 2019-20 along with 3.3 rebounds, while Olson added 7.5 points and 5.1 rebounds. Both players can impact the game with their inside play and can knock down shots beyond the arc. Runck (4.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg) is Lisbon’s leader on the hardwood and Rasmussen (6.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg) returns as a two-year starter and is a talented defender that can also get to the basket. Head coach Kim Mark will also look towards players like juniors Caeden Sweet, Spencer Kelsen, Rodney Olson and Colter Fuss to have larger roles in 2020-21. Fuss battled some injuries last season but is excited to get another offseason under his belt and show what he can do with a healthy body. The Broncos need to continue to work as a defensive unit and minimize their turnovers this season.

6. Central Cass

2019-20 record: 16-8

Central Cass graduated a talented group of seniors and bring back just six letter winners from its 2019-20 roster. Seniors Josh Dixon and Max Kobbervig that will be leaned on heavily this upcoming season. Dixon earned All-Region honors in 2019-20 and averaged 13.5 points per game and 7.2 rebounds, while Kobbervig added 6.5 points, 3.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds. Juniors Jake Deutsch (1.6 ppg), Brendan Maasjo (1.3 ppg) and Kade McKinnon (0.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg) along with sophomore Sam Kobbervig (1.6 ppg) will have to step up and play big minutes for the Squirrels in 2020-21.Central Cass will need to improve its post play and continue to work on its defensive game this season.

5. Wyndmere-Lidgerwood

2019-20 record: 4-16 

Wyndmere-Lidgerwood returns the core of its lineup from last season that includes eight letter winners. The Warbirds will be paced by senior Preston Bohnenstingl as he is coming off a junior season where he averaged 16.1 points per game and 6.1 rebounds. He also an outstanding 3-point shooter and made 60 of them in 2019-20 including seven in one contest. Bohnenstingl’s name will be in the conversation for Region 1 Senior Athlete of the Year after this season wraps up and he should make the All-Region team. W-L also brings back four other seniors in Matt Heley (4.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg), Carson Buchholz (5.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg), Ethan Witt (2.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg) and Levi Metcalf (4.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg). Heley is the Warbirds’ point guard, while Buchholz and Metcalf are strong shooters that combined for 33 3-pointers last season. The Warbirds have a solid post presence with 6-foot-3 Witt and 6-foot-9 sophomore Bryer Kaczynski. Both student-athletes aren’t afraid to challenge opponents at the rim and combined for 43 blocks in 2019-20. Two sophomores that will see more playing time this season are Adam Baldwin (4.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg) and Andrew Arth (1.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg). With the height and athleticism W-L has on its roster for this upcoming season, watch for this squad to finish with double-digit wins for the first time since the 2017-18 season.

4. Northern Cass

2019-20 record: 14-8

Northern Cass is one of the deeper teams in Region 1 this season as they’ll have 13 upperclassmen on its roster. Leading the charge for the Jaguars is senior All-Region player Jase Crockett and senior Kolby VanderWal. Crockett averaged 21.5 points per game as a junior, 4.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 steals, while VanderWal added 10.1 points and 5.3 rebounds. Both student-athletes are top players in the 2020-21 class. Crockett is one of the best scorers in Class B and VanderWal is one of the top defenders. Northern Cass also brings back knock down shooter in senior Hunter Allmaras, who averaged 5.3 points per game as a junior and made 30 3-pointers. Look for seniors Joe Nelson, Tristin Johnson and juniors Leighton Strommen, Jon Reitchel and Brock Carpenter to see increased roles this season as well. Nelson and Johnson are two nice post players for the Jaguars, while Reitchel is ready to get back on the court after tearing both ACL’s the past two seasons. Also, keep an eye on Strommen as he has the potential with his size and ability to shoot to be a top guard in this region. The Jaguars graduated All-Region player in Connor Jensen along with Brady Richman but bring back enough talent to compete for a top spot in Region 1.

3. Kindred

2019-20 record: 18-5

Kindred will be led by 6-foot-9 senior Gavin Keller this upcoming season. Keller is a two-time All-Region student-athlete and one of the top Class B post players. He averaged a team-high 16.1 points for the Vikings last season and 8.1 rebounds but needs to put on some muscle in order to elevate his game to the next level. The Vikings bring back two juniors in Paul Olson and Max McQuillan that combined for close to 12 points per game in 2019-20 and are both athletic forwards that can shoot and get to the rim. Kindred will lack some depth this season but will look towards seniors Eli Heinrich and Matt Pearson along with 6-foot-5 junior Jaiden Peraza to fill holes left by Andy Freier and Dawson Schaffer.

2. Oak Grove 

2019-20 record: 10-12

Oak Grove returns three starters from its 2019-20 lineup that includes All-Region player in 6-foot-4 Noah Swenson. Last season Swenson averaged 18.1 points per game, 8.8 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 2.2 assists and will be asked to do even more for the Grovers this season. The two other starters Oak Grove returns are senior Mason Martinson and junior Cody Card. Martinson can makes shots from anywhere on the court and averaged 10.2 points per game last season along with 2.1 assists. Card (6.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.1 apg) is a physical guard that isn’t scared of playing inside the 3-point arc. The Grovers have a nice balance of upperclassmen with six seniors and three juniors on their roster. Seniors Scott Boehning and Conner Asche along with juniors Trevon Rodriguez and Josiah Deitz will see their minutes increased this season but can all impact the game in a positive way. Deitz and Asche combined for 79 3-pointers last season and just over eight points per game. Oak Grove is going to need some student-athletes to step up in a big way but this Grovers team has the talent to compete for a Region 1 championship in 2020-21.

1. Enderlin

2019-20 record: 18-3 

Enderlin is locked and loaded and eager to kick this season off after its 2019-20 season ended on a sour note. The Eagles got upset in the Region 1 quarterfinals but have put that 81-78 loss to Tri-State behind them. Enderlin returns everybody from last season, which includes the best player in Class B with Joe Hurlburt back for his junior season. As a sophomore, Hurlburt averaged 21.1 points per game, 15.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists. The 6-foot-10 forward/center is one of the nations top 2021-22 recruits and is a very efficient player. The Eagles also welcome back 6-foot-8 junior Gus Hurlburt, who has received some attention from college programs and is looking to get back on the hardwood after averaging 13.1 points per game and 8.1 rebounds last season. What will make Enderlin so tough to beat in 2020-21 is that they have talented players up and down its roster. Senior Dawson Lemna (9.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and junior Alijah Dixson (10.1 ppg) are two talented upperclassmen that bring leadership and athleticism to the table. Lemna is the train conductor and the leader of this Eagles squad. Enderlin also has some youth to its roster with three sophomores in Carson Bartholomay, Trey Wall and Caden Amerman. Batholomay is one of the top recruits in the 2022-23 class and averaged 8.5 points per game and 6.1 rebounds as a freshman. Senior Zeke Parsons (4.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg) also adds another piece to the Eagles pie and will see an increased role in 2020-21. Head coach Calvin Kraft has done a tremendous job with this group. The Eagles also have one of the toughest schedules in Class B this season. Night in and night out this team is going to bring it and will be on a mission after not ending 2019-20 the way they wanted to.

 

Pace
Once led his home state in total fouls during his senior high school basketball season. Never turned down a 3-pointer he didn't like. Will dominate anyone in a game of PIG. Follow on Twitter @PaceTheAce_

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