If you listen closely you can hear March madness beating its drum softly in the background. Before you know it that parade will be marching right down your street and high school basketball post-season will be in full swing. I cover ten different classes of basketball in North Dakota and South Dakota and each class has a different schedule and structure to decide their champion. This blog post will aim at giving you an idea of the serious title contenders in each of the classes in North Dakota and South Dakota.
North Dakota Class A
There are more title contenders in Class A than almost any other class. This is a wide-open field with a lot of talent.
Grand Forks Red River: When this season started, not many people believed that the Rough Riders would contend for a title. I was one of those people. Coach Jason Gregory thought his team may have been overlooked. “Our kids kind of felt a little bit slighted coming into the season, they always look at that Hoopster Magazine, they thought we had enough guys back to be ranked a little bit higher,” said Coach Gregory. Mac Kroeplin and Chad Bartosh havs been providing the scoring with 20.0 points per game and 16.1 points per game respectively. John Hoplin averages 4.1 blocks per game to lead the interior defense.
Fargo Shanley: The Deacons have been putting teams away with their fast-paced offense and air tight defense. Especially in the second halves of games where they average 43 points in the latter half. Bison recruit A.J. Jacobson has been the best player in the state with 26.5 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 5.4 apg, 2.8 spg and 2.6 bpg. Patrick Strom (19.0 ppg) and Dylan Alderman (11.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 6.6 apg) both have been hitting for double digit scoring giving the Deacons a balanced attack.
Minot: The Magi have not been dominating but they’ve been consistently out-hustling and out-shooting their opponents. Brandon VanDusen (12.4 ppg) and Austin Frank (12.0 ppg) have shared the scoring load but they uniquely have four players with at least three assists per game (VanDusen, Frank, Caleb Anderson, Kyle Gerding).
St. Mary’s: This team only has one senior who plays significant minutes so you might think that they lack consistency and maturity. But you’d be wrong. “We have a bunch of gym rats that really love to play basketball,” said Coach Joe Mueller. “We’re a pretty unselfish team that likes to play uptemp.”
This team is led by junior All-State selection Ben Weisbeck (17.7 ppg) and junior guard, Darius Sparks (15.4 ppg). Weisbeck is a great athlete who loves to cut to the hoop and make plays while Sparks has been particularly lethal from beyond the arc (33/79 41% on 3’s).
Century: If you take their two losses to St. Mary’s and their two out of state losses out of the picture Century has played a near perfect season. Take a closer look though and you’ll see their last four games they haven’t been the same team. That stretch includes a 3 point win over Mandan, a loss to St. Mary’s a 1-point win over Turtle Mountain and a nice road win over Jamestown. Tyler Rudolph and Robert Hutchins have led the way while freshman Dalton Feeney has added a nice spark this season.