Boy's Basketball Preview

Boy's Basketball Preview

Brainerd Boy’s Basketball - Scott Stanfield

Last season:  last year we were really young, and only had 2 seniors who contributed, and only 2 returners form 15-16 squad, we played 3 freshmen, 2 significant minutes, and one started.  Also played 2 sophs and a bunch of juniors...We blended well towards the last part of our season, and played really well down the stretch.  We gained a ton of experience with our young kids and had a great spring/summer.

Returners:  We return 14 players, 6 who started at one time or another during the season, and 6 who came of the bench.  We will have fantastic depth at every spot, with  all of them being pretty good shooters.  We will be better on both sides of the concerns would be defensive rebounding, and 50/50 balls.
Returners are;
Joey Sauer 6-5 jr.   Brandon Burggraff 6-4 sr.  Taylor Shelito 6-5 sr.   Chris Karels 6-0 sr.  Tanner Lundberg 5-9 sr.  Nathan Rud 6-5 sr.  Ben Westerberg 6-2 sr.  Mason Malone 5-9 jr.  Eric Martin 6-3 jr.  Ben Stahling 6-2 soph.  Owen Davis 6-5 soph.  Connor Powers 6-2 soph.   We have a really nice blend of players 10-12 grade.

Young players:  Gabe Smith 6-3 jr.  Jonah Mazekovic 6-6 soph.  Nathaniel Stahling 6-2 8th grader.

Goals: Compete to be in top portion of conference and section...

Strengths;  this year's team reminds me a great deal of our 2012-13 state tournament team.  Good shooters, fast, deep, and play really well together and who have a deep concern for each other.... Very good defenders.  No GREAT players, but a bunch of really good High School players...we will probably play 10-12 kids in a rotation to start out the season..

Weaknesses;  defensive rebounding/loose balls..

Conference/section;  it's hard to predict our conf and section...Tech is probably the most talented followed by Fergus...Section is always tough, but I think it will be a dog fight now that Davidson is done at Maple Grove…


C-I Boy’s basketball -  Dave Galovich

Number of years as coach of current school: 33
Overall years as a head coach: 40
2016-2017 Record: 30-3

Last year’s team exceeded our expectations as they won a very tough section and were runner up in class 2A.

Expectations: Very difficult to predict, as we graduated 4 all conference players and return only 1 starter.
Areas of concern: Inexperience

Best-case scenario: The team learns to play very well together, stays healthy and we are playing our best ball come playoff time. That will give us our best opportunity to be successful at tournament time.

Key returners (and prior year stats, PPG, Reb/Game, Assists, etc.): Jonathan Jacobson 4 pts. Per game only returning starter and Isaac Burley our 6th man.

Key newcomers: Are yet to be determined, as members of our JV team need to step up and fill that role.

Predict the order of finish in your conference (include a comment on the favorites): I think DL and Pequot Lakes will be battling for the conference title and all of the remaining teams will be in the mix for 3-6 spots.


Pequot Lakes Boy’s Basketball - Richard Spiczka

We had a solid season last year and were very competitive in both the section and the conference.  I thought our kids did a great job adjusting to a new program in my first year.

We return 9 seniors and 3 juniors with significant experience.  I am hopeful we will be more balanced on offense and better defensively this year.

We are looking for many players to make the leap to contribute on the varsity level this year as we had a very successful JV team last year.

Our goals are to play hard each and every night, and be in contention for Conference and Section titles.

I think we will have really good balance, athleticism and depth this year.

I would say the usual suspects of Detroit Lakes and Crosby will be the teams to beat, with others always ready to challenge for the top spot.  

In the section, Esko and Virginia return a lot of experience, as does Proctor.


Pierz Boy’s Basketball - Joe Kahl

Last year we had some great senior leaders, who worked very hard and gave it their all.  In return, the rest of the team worked just as hard. I know our boys will continue to work hard this year.   


This year we will have more experience than last season lead by our group of seniors.  Most notably Presont Rocheleau and Johnny Hopkins who saw lots of minutes last season.  Last year we were missing a big guy who could help us around the rim, with Ben Herold out due to an injury.  So we are looking forward to seeing Ben back on the floor.  We are looking for many young players to step up and help at the varsity level.


Our goal is to improve each day and be playing our best ball at the end of the season.  We will be a lot smaller than many teams, but I know our strength will be our work ethic.  


Pillager Boy’s Basketball - James Bentson

This is my 10th year as the Boys Head Basketball Coach.  I was the Assistant Coach for Erik Uselman for the past two years.  From 1999-2008, I had a record of 158-83.  I was deployed on two separate occasions where Jerry Fornshell & Scott Mudgett coached in my absence during the season.

We have a number of letter winners and seniors returning from last year’s team which placed second in the Park Region Conference.  Starters include Spencer Schaefer (10th), Braeden Wangsness (12th), Tanner Swenson (12th), Joshua Doss (12th).  Seniors this year will be Levi Nagel, Isaac Thomsen, Joe Anderson, Kaleb Smith & Aaron Klein.  I project that some young sophomores will also get an opportunity to showcase their talents @ the varsity level.  

Very little will change on what myself & Erik have implemented over the past 20 years in the Pillager Boys Basketball program.  He was a little taller and had a little more hair.  I look forward to a good season and competing in the Park Region Conference & Class 7AA section tournament.  Brian Homan will replace myself as the Junior Varsity Coach.  He brings many years of experience coaching @ Jordan, MN under former Brainerd Head Coach & Class 2A Coach of the Year, Matt Urbanek.  Chris Berent will remain in his position as the C squad coach.  Coach Berent had been on the Boys Basketball coaching staff for over 15 years.

Conference pre-season:  The interesting thing is that the conference coaches from over ten years ago have almost all returned this year to their respective teams.  The only coach to not be on a staff is Coach Tumberg @ Wadena/Deer Creek.  I believe he is the pre-season favorite returning the leading scorer in the conference, Noah Ross,  and a formidable cast of other starters that return.   Coach Lilquist @ Sebeka returns two very good starters in James Clark & Jack Lilquist.  Coach Fink @ Bertha-Hewitt returns some good post players from last year’s team. Coach Misgades in Henning is still young, but returns a lot of experience from last year’s team. Coach Johnson @ Verndale lost some significant seniors, but will return Luke Winegar and a lot of juniors who played significant minutes.  Coach Nordick @ Menahga has a very good sophomore class, returning varsity players, very similar to us @ Pillager.  Coach Boe @ NY Mills probably lost the most seniors of anybody.

Section favorites:  Esko returns the tallest player to ever play in the state tournament @ 7’3” and along with Pequot Lakes, are probably the favorites to with the Sub-sections this year.  Hinkley-Finlayson moved down to  Class 1A.  Greenway also returns very good size and a number of players off their team from last year.


Little Falls Boy’s Basketball - Kevin Jordan

Last year we finished 8-19 and lost in the first round of playoffs to Fergus Falls.

Austin Erdman (Sr Forward), Joe Alholm (Sr Guard), Dylan Lukasavitz (Sr Forward) and Thomas Kunkel (Jr Guard) all saw significant playing time a year ago.  We will look to them to be our leaders.

We will have nice group of newcomers and  underclassmen competing for varsity playing time:  Ethan Wickstrom (Sr Center, Anthony Vetter (Sr Forward), Aaron Sanoski (Jr Guard), Connor Gradin (Sr Forward), Kassim Hassan (Sr Guard), Noah Nordlie (Jr. Guard), Oscar Norgren (Jr Guard), Caleb Strack (Jr Guard), Thomas Kula (Jr Forward), Mason Wickstrom (So Center), Alex Gwost (So Guard), Travis Wenzel (So Guard).

We will be looking for steady improvement as a team throughout the season and hope to be playing our best basketball in March.

Our goal will be to outwork our opponents and hopefully develop into a great defense and rebounding team by season's end.

Our section will be very tough and balance as usual!  Cathedral is a strong favorite to win the GRC.

We’re looking forward to a fun season with a great group of guys that are very coachable and have potential to develop into a highly competitive team.