09-10 MCAA Preview

This is the 5th preview in my metro area season previews series. To close out week 1 of the previews, I downshift to the little guys and look at the MCAA Conference. To access all of the previews in the series, view the season preview page here.

The MCAA will be a league of the haves and the have nots. The bottom half of this league is going to be difficult to watch with a group of rebuilding teams. At the top end, you don't have the dominant player that the league has had in years past. All in all, I view this as the worst the league has been since I've been following it over the last 5 years or so.

Bethany Academy Eagles (2008 season 4-19, 1-9 Conference)
While Jeff Ray is one of the top coaches in the league, his squad is not blessed with talent. But he returns the top 6 from last year's very young squad. Forward Ben Peters and guard Tony Ervin are the main threats. Soph Max Mattila cleans up the glass. It'll be another long year but they can win some games against the bottom of the league.

Heritage Christian Academy Eagles (2008 season 11-15, 6-4 Conference)
Nate Johnson filled it up for the Eagles last year but he's now gone. Nick Parkhurst is the only returnee of note and will need to make a ton of shots to keep the Eagles competitive.

Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Bulldogs (2008 season 19-7, 10-0 Conference)
The loss of long time league force Chris Neumann will hurt. But post Brandon Schaust returns as the top interior threat in the league. Senior Daniel Anderson and sophomore Jared Kadrie are others to follow.

Lion's Gate Christian Academy (2008 season 11-15, 2-8 Conference as Concordia Academy-Bloomington)
Since most things just moved from the now closed Concordia-Bloomington to Lion's Gate, I'll just treat them the same. Hopefully they play in the same nice building. Don't let last year's record fool you, those wins were all against awful teams. Center Andrew Erdman is gone but Mitchell Churney returns to take up space. Jacob Moe is the guard that will lead the way.

Maranatha Christian Academy Mustangs (2008 season 23-6, 8-2 Conference)
Lester Prairie took the throne from the Mustangs last season, but I don't see that happening this year. MCA returns everybody of note including forward Josh Hanson and point guard Darian Pittman. Jay Higgins and SaVaughn Jordan provide depth. With the best coach, tradition and home court advantage in the league, that's a great combination to win the title.

Meadow Creek Christian Academy Saints (2008 season 10-17, 6-4 Conference)
The Saints return 6 kids who saw varsity time last year including Ben Thom and Spencer Richards. They were the leading 3 point shooters last season. Thom is the leading returning scorer and the assist leader. Richards the leading returning rebounder.

New Life Academy Eagles (2008 season 14-14, 6-4 Conference)
Robbie Anderstrom was one of the top players in the league last season and he's gone. Ryan Furlong was solid at the point last season and will be missed. James Housworth, Sam Penwell, Cody Linton and Kory Kiekhofer return outside. Sam Berg will give them size inside. Can coach Linton find a guy who can create out of their dribble-drive motion like Anderstrom last year?

Providence Academy Lions (2008 season 2-23, 0-10 Conference)
Poor Providence. If only their team was as nice as their school (its a palace). Leading scorer Zach Money graduated, but everybody returns. John Lundbeck and Alex Eaton will be the leading offensive threats. Rumor mill says their might be some freshmen talent there. If so, it needs to develop quickly. Another very long year for the Lions.

Southwest Christian Stars (2008 season 19-8, 8-2 Conference)
I would deem 19-8 in section 4A with a D1 player as a disappointment. Now that Caleb Palkert is gone, there's no really dominant player. But they return a quality guard trio of Jordan Dye, Ryan Cummings and Peter Sorenson with Daniel Horner up front. Fall league showed that they may have some size too.

Trinity Tri-Hawks (2008 season 8-19, 4-6 Conference)
Wing Mark Olander is gone but the Tri-Hawks return leading scorer at the point, soph Tony Kuplic and junior Aaron Gregg up front. With those 2 pieces they continue to build up for a top division finish next season.

West Lutheran Warriors (2008 season 12-14, 4-6 Conference)
Another team with a deceptively good record. 3 of those wins were out of state and none of the in-state ones stick out. More telling to me is the 1-8 finish where the closest loss was 15 points. Lefty guard Michael Lindberg may lead the league in scoring this year. Great shooter. Nate Dwyer also returns.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Maranatha
  2. Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity
  3. Southwest Christian
  4. New Life
  5. Meadow Creek Christian
  6. West Lutheran
  7. Trinity
  8. Heritage
  9. Bethany
  10. Lion's Gate
  11. Providence
Conference MVP: Josh Hanson - Maranatha

Breakout/Surprise Player: Joe Mann - New Life

Games that will determine the regular season conference title

  • Maranatha at Southwest Christian - January 8th
  • Southwest Christian at Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity - January 12th
  • Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity at Maranatha - January 28th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity at Mayer Lutheran - December 8th
  • Maranatha at CHOF - February 13th
I had a chance to ask Heritage coach Tim Herman some questions about his Eagles and the MCAA. Minnesota Preps subscribers can read that interview here.

MCAA logo picture courtesy of MNPhotoNet.net

1 comment:

  1. I go to Lion's Gate and we're gearing up for the season. Thanks for the motivation. We'll keep it in mind.


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