Another season of North Dakota high school boys basketball is underway, and I'm excited to be covering it for Midco Sports Network!
I decided to create some early season power rankings to give everyone an idea of who I think will be the top teams in Class A and B. The good thing is that my silly rankings don't determine what happens on the actual court. I put them together for good talking points, to create exposure for these great athletes and if the rankings motivate a team to pull off the "upset"...that's great! Just know that I have great respect for all coaches and players, because I know that they put in a lot of time and dedication.
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Anyway, without further ado, here are the Class A and B North Dakota boys basketball power rankings and preview. (Note: I did top 5 for Class A and top 10 for Class B because of the greater number of teams in Class B.)
Also, make sure to look for high school sports coverage on Midco Sports Tonight, which airs 6-7 PM weekdays on Midco Sports Network!
- Bismarck Century
- Fargo Davies
Minot - I think the Class A field could be wide open this season with 5-6 teams having a legitimate shot at winning the state championship. But, once again it all starts with Minot. The Magicians have a shot to become the first team in state history to win four consecutive state championships. Peyton Lamoureux averaged 12.3 ppg and Alex Schimke averaged 10.2 ppg last season. I think those two will help lead the way for this powerhouse program.
Bismarck Century - Seniors Josh Sipes (13.5 ppg) and Kade Amundson (7.7 ppg, 6 rpg) are back to lead the Patriots. Century finished runner-up to the Magicians last season. I know they lost to Mandan in the opener (FYI: I made my rankings as if they were preseason rankings), but I think this Century team is stocked with talent again. We’ll see if they have what it takes to make another run in March.
Fargo Davies - The Eagles took an undefeated record into the state tournament last year and were upset in the semifinal round. I expect Bart Manson’s team to bounce back well this year. Senior Parker Stenseth is a strong post player. He’ll be complimented nicely by a pair of talented juniors in Jayden Klabo and Mitch Larson among others. This Davies team has a lot of great athletes.
Shanley - The Deacons qualified for state last season and have a lot of those same players back. 6’3” senior forward Jake Kava headlines the list of returnees after averaging 21 points per game last season. The length of the Deacons will be tough to score against and a challenge to defend.
Mandan - The Braves appear poised to have a breakout season behind twin brothers Camren and Trae Steckler. Trae stands at 6’4” and averaged 20.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg last season on his way to being named 2nd team all-state. Camren, who’s listed at 6’6” and committed to Valley City State, averaged 16.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg a year ago. Mandan finished 10-13 last season, but I expect them to make a huge leap this winter and contend for a WDA title. The Braves got off to a nice start with a season-opening win at Century.
Anything else? I think West Fargo could’ve easily cracked my top five. Joe Pistorius is going to be fun to watch this season. Bismarck, Sheyenne and South look to have strong teams too. I’m sure there will be a few teams that totally surprise me and that’s always exciting!
- Shiloh Christian
- Bishop Ryan
- Oak Grove
- St. John
Stanley - I see Stanley as the preseason favorite in Class B based on their talent and experience. The Blue Jays have a lot of talent back from a team that finished 20-8 overall last season and made a trip to the state tournament. MSU Moorhead commit Wyatt Hanson will be a contender for North Dakota’s Mr. Basketball award. Hanson is a 6’4” senior guard/forward that averaged 24.4 ppg, 8 rpg, 4 apg & 5 bpg in his All-State campaign last season. He’s the definition of a stat stuffer and he also knows how to stuff the ball in the net. The young man can throw it down! Wyatt’s cousin 6’6” senior center Kaedyn Hanson is another great weapon for Kory Anderson’s team. Kaedyn averaged 14 ppg and 9 rpg, while being named All-Region last season. Those two pieces along with some great role players will make the Blue Jays exciting to watch this winter.
Carrington - The Cardinals return several key pieces from a team that finished 19-5 last season and took 2nd in Region 2. Carrington will be led by University of Jamestown commit Garrett Bickett who averaged 19.8 ppg as a junior last season. Bickett is a strong ball handler and excellent shooter that will be one of the top players in the state this season. The Cardinals return a number of other players with varsity experience including Kolton Vetter who averaged 10.3 ppg last winter.
Beulah - The Miners won 20 games in each of the last two seasons, but failed to make the state tournament with losses to Dickinson Trinity in the Region 7 championship game in consecutive years. Could this be the year that Beulah gets over the hump? I think so. Head coach Jeremy Brandt has a strong senior class led by last year’s All-Region selection Derek Ferbee (15 ppg, 4 apg). Logan Miller (13 ppg) and Jacob Weigel (10 ppg) both averaged 10+ points per game last season, as well. One thing to keep an eye on is how the Miners fill the void left behind from graduated All-Region forward Reece Hoherz. He was a strong, confident player the last few years for the Miners.
Shiloh Christian - This team is stocked with talent this season and will look to improve upon last year’s 17-7 record. The Skyhawks reached the 9-man state football championship game and a lot of those same athletes will lead the way on the basketball court this year. NDSU football commit Bartholomew Ogbu stands at 6’6” and will be a force down low. Ogbu averaged 14 ppg and 9 rpg last season on his way to being named All-District and All-Region. 6’9” junior center Macauley Young averaged a double-double last season (13 ppg, 11 rpg). This team is deep with Jonas Mitzel, Jaden Mitzel, Jonas Johnson and Canaan Fagerland all expected to contribute in a big way. But, I have heard that the team suffered some injuries in the football season that could keep a few players sidelined.
Thompson - It shouldn’t be a surprise to see Thompson high on a rankings list. The Tommies have had a great run of talent lately. Junior guard Cadyn Schwabe (13.5 ppg) can hurt teams in so many ways and I think playing quarterback for the football team will help him be an even stronger leader on the basketball court. He has good athletes around him in Tyler Hegg and Cole Sorby to name a few. This team is deep, but the battle for Region 2 will be a challenge.
Anything else? Last year’s state championship teams Hillsboro-Central Valley and Four Winds-Minnewaukan may have graduated some talented players, but they could play their way into contention. Senior big man Jack Camrud returns to lead the Burros. Meanwhile the Indians will not only have to replace four graduated starters, but also standout post player Charlie Black who is out for the season after suffering a knee injury.
OK, YOU'RE DONE! Now take a look at the ND Class A & B Girls Basketball Preview!