08-09 Lake Conference Preview

This is the third installment in the 08-09 Season Preview series. If you missed the 1st 2 previews, you can use the Section and Conference Previews page to go back and read them. In this installment, a look at the Lake Conference.

Eden Prairie Eagles (2007 Season 19-9, 16-4)
The Eagles lose an experienced senior class of Ryan Grant and Carter Bykowski. They return Creighton commit Ethan Wragge and junior Brett Ervin on the wings. Wragge is one of the best shooters in the league and with his 6'7 length, he's a tough cover. Ervin also has size and can play inside and out. With their tradition and 2 very good wings, expect them to be in the title hunt again this season.

Eastview Lightning (2007 Season 20-8, 14-6)
The Lightning lose a very good senior class. Spencer Pratt, Ethan Thomforde, Michael Grinnell and Johnie Sanders were all major contributors last season. The loss of Carlos Emory (transfer) is a major loss up front. The backcourt will be fine with Vinard Birch and Drew Johnson returning. Look for Johnson to get the shots that Pratt got last year. Birch is one of the best on ball defenders in the state at the point and his offensive game has really developed. Tim Massie returns to provide some size.

Bloomington Kennedy Eagles (2007 Season 19-9, 14-6)
New coach Jared Nuness has a project on his hands. The entire perimeter group that drove the Eagles success last season (Bobby Fong, Carlton Starr and Alfred Jaryan) is gone. Junior guard Deron Murphy returns as their best player.

Burnsville Blaze (2007 Season 20-10, 14-6)
The Blaze will have to replace shooter Max Van Ordstrand and one of the more dynamic scorers in the metro Tarrell Clark. But look to the 2010 class to start doing just that. Devon Knopke returns as a tough player to defend off the dribble. Jack Ghizoni is a shooter and Jeff Fallat came on late in the summer. I'll watching to see what he does this season. Their running game should be in full force and makes them one of the more fun teams to watch.

Bloomington Jefferson Jaguars (14-11, 10-10)
The Jags record last season is misleading. 7 of those 11 losses were by 8 points or less and all 7 were in conference play. Sophomore Marcus Alipate returns to man the point. Ellis Libby returns as a defender. Moses Alipate gives them size and scoring. They'll miss the scoring of Aaron Barmore. Expect them to be tough defensively but will they find enough offense.

Lakeville North Panthers (13-14, 10-10)
Look for the Panthers to be a dangerous squad in 08-09. They return a very good front line with Chris Orgas, Tyler Swanson and David Berthene. Sharpshooter Aaron Gallegos returns in the backcourt with Clifford Johnson. Look for Dajon Newell to make a bigger contribution after a very good summer with MN Fury 16 South squad.

Eagan Wildcats (14-13, 9-11)
The Wildcats return a solid backcourt of Charlie Baker and Jameson Parsons. The loss of 6'10" Garrett Bassett leaves a big hole in the middle.

Rosemount Irish (13-14, 8-12)
The Irish will have to deal with the loss of the big front line of Andrew Brommer (Iowa) and Tim Sauer. Leading scorer Mark Weiloch is also gone. Look for Zach Vraa to make a bigger contribution this season.

Apple Valley Eagles (11-17, 8-12)
The Eagles will have to replace Devin Dirth but they return a wealth of talent. Guards Mitch Bires and Varmah Sonie form a very nice backcourt. 6'5" David Bauer returns as the leading scorer. Sophomore big Thomas Shalk returns inside after getting major varsity minutes in the 2nd half of last season.

Lakeville South Cougars (5-20, 4-16)
They struggled last year with a young lineup. 6-6 Senior Blake Shay leads the way. Sophomore Riley West started every game last year at the point. Sophomore Alex Richter has a big motor and is one of the better sophomores that people don't talk about.

(Czar's Note 10/30/08: Blake Nichols also got minutes at the point for the Cougars last season)

Chaska Hawks (4-23, 3-17)
The Hawks return 8 seniors including the versatile Tyler Goetz and guards Andrew Martin and Derek Jerde. Bronson Byrne gives them an effective big body down low. There's also plenty of young talent in the pipeline with Max Watts and Ross Travis. They could be the turnaround story of this season like Columbia Heights was last season.

Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Eden Prairie
  2. Lakeville North
  3. Apple Valley
  4. Eastview
  5. Burnsville
  6. Chaska
  7. Bloomington Jefferson
  8. Eagan
  9. Lakeville South
  10. Bloomington Kennedy
  11. Rosemount
Player of the Year: Ethan Wragge - Eden Prairie

Games that will determine the conference title
  • Eden Prairie at Apple Valley - January 6th
  • Lakeville North at Eden Prairie - January 13th
  • Lakeville North at Apple Valley - January 20th
  • Apple Valley at Eden Prairie - February 13th
  • Eden Prairie at Lakeville North - February 20th
  • Apple Valley at Lakeville North - February 27th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Eden Prairie at Cretin-Derham Hall - December 4th
  • Sibley at Apple Valley - December 5th
  • Eden Prairie vs Robbinsdale Cooper - January 3rd (Timberwolves Shootout)
  • Robbinsdale Armstrong at Lakeville North - January 16th
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at Lakeville North - February 28th

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