08-09 Missota Conference Preview

(Czar's Note: 10:30 PM 10/30/08, Tor Anderson has transferred from Prior Lake to Minnetonka, this preview was written before that information was available.)

This is the 6th installment in the 08-09 Season Preview series. If you missed the 1st 5 previews, you can use the Section and Conference Previews page to go back and read them. In this installment, we take a look at the Missota Conference.

Shakopee Sabers (2007 Season 24-5, 10-4)
The Sabers lose a good senior class that included guards Jake Ewing, DJ Killeen and Chase Hentges who were all important players for them last year. Star wing Matt Zager returns to lead the way. Few players play as hard on every play as he does. The Sabers will be small, but they'll have quickness and be as disciplined as any team in the metro. I bet against them last year after losing star Eric Carlson to NDSU, I'm not making that mistake again.

New Prague Trojans (2007 Season 23-6, 10-4)
New Prague loses high scoring junior guard Tony Johnson who averaged almost 20 PPG last season. They also lose forward Adam Michel. Guard Danny Geiger will look to pick up the slack.

Prior Lake Lakers (2007 Season 17-10, 10-4)
The Lakers had the conference title on a platter last year before losing 2 heart-breakers by a total of 4 points in their last 2 league games to drop into a 3 way tie for 1st. They return one of the top inside-out duos in the league with 6'10 Deryck Ludwig (SW MN St commit) inside and junior guard Tor Anderson (15.3 PPG). With those 2 and role players like Ben Snyder and junior Andrew Dale, the Lakers have the tools to redeem themselves this year.

Holy Angels Stars (2007 Season 18-11, 8-6)
Former Henry head coach Larry McKenzie brings his career mark of 202-34 to the Stars. This season he won't have the talent that he had at Henry, but he does have a couple of players to work with. Tough guard Stoddard Barnhill and 6'9 James Pfitzinger were last year's leaders and are gone along with role player Willie Baregi. Point guard Tyler Bredow and post Sahr Ngekia (better known as Bonzi Wells here) are a good start. Sam Gullickson could also play a bigger role. 2 things I'm watching for are to see what coach McKenzie does with his defensive scheme since he doesn't have his usual athletes and to see how much side pick and roll he runs with Bredow and Ngekia. He ran a ton of it with PG Al Nolen and PF Robert Eppinger in his Henry days.

Northfield Raiders (2007 Season 13-13, 7-7)
Northfield also returns a potent inside-out punch with guard Christian Shepley and Northern Colorado commit Emmanuel Addo on the block. Addo is a smooth lefty with a big body who's a tough matchup on the post. Both had nice summers with the Magic Robertson squad. They beat Prior Lake in both meetings last year including a 1 pt win in the regular season finale to cost Prior Lake the outright league title.

Red Wing Wingers (2007 Season 16-12, 5-9)
The Wingers lose top scorers Kaleb Rosenow and Adam Thygesen. A .500 mark will be difficult to come by.

Farmington Tigers (2007 Season 13-14, 5-9)
After getting off to a very nice 8-1 start last season, they stumbled home with a 5-13 finish. The Tigers return a very nice group of seniors led by a pair of quality guards Josh Zitzmann and Jake Lippert. They also return the much improved David Steege to provide a solid inside presence.

Hutchinson Tigers (2007 Season 9-18, 1-13)
Top scorer Ben Aalfs is gone along with most of the rest of their scoring. More long days ahead for the Tigers.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Prior Lake
  2. Northfield
  3. Shakopee
  4. Holy Angels
  5. Farmington
  6. New Prague
  7. Red Wing
  8. Hutchinson
Player of the Year: Matt Zager - Shakopee

Game that will determine the conference title
  • Northfield at Shakopee - January 27th
  • Prior Lake at Shakopee - January 30th
  • Northfield at Prior Lake - February 10th
  • Shakopee at Northfield - February 20th
  • Shakopee at Prior Lake - February 24th
  • Prior Lake at Northfield - March 6th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Prior Lake at Waconia - December 13th
  • Northfield at St. Thomas Academy - December 16th
  • Prior Lake at Lakeville North - December 18th
  • Minneapolis Henry at Shakopee - January 3rd
  • Shakopee at Robbinsdale Armstrong - January 9th
  • Eastview at Prior Lake - January 10th
  • Owatonna at Northfield - January 17th


  1. While Matt Zager is a very good player, Emmanuel Addo has to be the projected player of the year. This past summer, Addo earned over 10 D1 offers and nobody in the Missota is close to that mark.

  2. I can't fault that selection, Addo was in the thought process and it may come down to which team ultimately finishes higher in the league. Addo will have a terrific year and he really developed over the summer. It was hard for me to pick a guy from a team that I picked 3rd, but the Sabers lose so much around him that he'll mean a ton to them hence my selection.

  3. Tor Anderson has transferred to
    Minnetonka...the Rich get Richer...
    and PL is down the tubes w/o

  4. (aauobserver made his comment on another post yesterday, I'm copying my response from then to here)

    I just heard that after I posted the Missota preview. That's big news. He played with PL all thru fall league play at the Magic league. PL will still be OK, but Anderson was definitely the goto guy. How interesting that Stefan and Anderson reunite in the regular season after playing together with Net Gain this summer.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Now that Anderson is out of the picture, what do you believe are the new rankings? Do you think PL has a chance at making the top half?

  7. I really think you guys should keep and Eye on the Wingers. They got a lot of new talent coming in this year, dont be suprised if they do some damage in the conference.

  8. Not to stray from the main topic at hand, but...

    No one should find it ridiculous or surprising that Anderson left Prior Lake.

    The coaching staff there has had a bad pattern of playing the wrong kids due to politics and school board members (with student athlete children)

    Their coach alone was hired on the premise that he would play kids whose parents were on the "new coach committee" back in '03

    Parents and coaches alike within the missota conference community may not remember but it was only a short while ago that 2 players from Prior Lake Transferred and I believe went to the state tournament. (Ewing and Bauman?)

    Anyone who knows what I'm talking about knows about how PL has been avoided by many standouts who live in the District

    Jay Barribal - Holy Angels/Minnesota Gophers

    AJ Thelen - Shattuck/Michigan State/Minnesota Wild

    if anyone wants the extended list I could post it later..

    It is sad to see kids have to move their lives to another school but for those within the program(s) that understand what is really going on, it seems that the grass really might be greener.


Have a different take than mine? You can provide your take here.