09-10 Missota Preview

Shakopee coach
Bruce Kugath

This is the 4th preview in my metro area season previews series. In this installment, a look at the Missota Conference. To access all of the previews in the series, view the season preview page here.

No conference was decimated more by graduation than the Missota. At least half the teams in the league lose a player who went on to play division 2 or division 1 basketball. So the league will be down but not out. I see a 2 horse race at the top, 1 of the few leftover players 3rd and the usual suspects at the bottom.

Farmington Tigers (2008 season 20-8, 12-2 Conference)
Farmington was hit hard by graduation losing 3 stars in Jake Lippert, Josh Zitzmann and David Steege. But players 5-8 return. Kyle Winkelman and Justin Lavey man the guard spots. Logan Hussung and Connor Duffy return up front. Winkelman is the leading returning scorer and I expect him to carry the load this season.

Holy Angels Stars (2008 season 9-20, 6-8 Conference)
Coach McKenzie predicted a conference title to the world after the final game of last season and for good reason. 8 of the top 11 return. Forward Sahr Ngekia (we'll miss Bonzi Wells here) and Tyler Bredow are big losses. Especially Bredow who just got things done at the point with clutch plays. Sam Gullickson is one who can pick up some of that scoring slack. Andy Jirik will man the middle. Tyler Emanuel gives them a very good shooter. Cole Frechette, RD Brown and Jack Hogan are all experienced role players. If sophomore Parker Bredow can fill the point guard spot, the Stars will be very dangerous.

Hutchinson Tigers
(2008 season 6-20, 1-13 Conference)
The Tigers were 5-4 before finishing 1-16 over the last 2 months of the season. 8 of the top 10 return. Kiree Robinson scored in double figures in 11 of the last 13 games and was the only player to average in double figures. They should be better, but how much?

New Prague Trojans (2008 season 21-9, 8-6 Conference)
While the Trojans lose Connor O'Brien to Mankato, the cupboard is not bare. Star Danny Geiger returns as the straw that stirs the dribble-drive drink. He may not be the most athletic guy but he uses his body well to get into the lane and makes good decisions. Cale Girten will give them size up front. Junior Alex Dittberner saw significant time last year at a guard spot. Geiger will start it and they have shooters to finish it.

Northfield Raiders (2008 season 21-6, 11-3 Conference)
The Raiders lose their top 6 scorers to graduation including Northern Colorado forward Emmanuel Addo and guard Christian Shepley. Forward Alex Bisch is the only returner with any significant experience. Junior Otto Pfefferle can block shots inside.

Prior Lake Lakers (2008 season 11-16, 5-9 Conference)
6'10" post Deryck Ludwig is off to SW MN State and leading scorer Ben Snyder has also graduated. Jake Bolks is the leading returning scorer. Ian Herubin provides size inside and Andrew Dale can score from the wing. They have a nice sophomore class coming up with players like Jack Harrison and Matt Dysthe but they're at least a year away.

Red Wing Wingers (2008 season 9-19, 2-12 Conference)
Here's another club that had a nice start but hit the wall as they lost 14 in a row before upsetting Faribault in the 1st round of sections. The only 2 conference wins were against last place Hutchinson. 4 of the top 5 scorers are gone. Juniors Pat Kelly and Coleman Kelly with senior Mitch Earney look to lead the way.

Shakopee Sabers (2008 season 18-9, 11-3 Conference)
The junior trio of Ethan Petrill, Jason Perkins and Dylan Ulferts returns after seeing big minutes last year. They'll need to replace the 20 points a game from Matt Zager. Joel Hergott led the league in rebounding as an undersized center. While they don't have anyone to generate their own offense like Zager could, they're well coached and solid defensively so they'll be in every game.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Shakopee
  2. Holy Angels
  3. New Prague
  4. Farmington
  5. Prior Lake
  6. Northfield
  7. Hutchinson
  8. Red Wing
Conference MVP: Danny Geiger - New Prague

Breakout/Surprise Player: Kyle Winkelman - Farmington

Games that will determine the conference title

  • Shakopee at Holy Angels - February 1st
  • Holy Angels at Shakopee - February 26th
  • Holy Angels at New Prague - March 2nd
  • Shakopee at New Prague - March 5th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Minneapolis Patrick Henry at Holy Angels - December 8th
  • Minnehaha at Holy Angels - December 15th
  • Shakopee at Minneapolis Patrick Henry - December 17th
  • Holy Angels at Benilde-St. Margaret's - December 17th
  • Shakopee vs Lakeville South (projected) - December 30th (Lakeville tournament)
  • Waconia at Shakopee - January 5th
  • Holy Angels at Waconia - January 8th
  • Jordan at New Prague - January 9th
I had a chance to ask Shakopee coach Bruce Kugath some questions about his Sabers and the Missota. Minnesota Preps subscribers can read that interview here.

Bruce Kugath photo courtesy of MNPhotoNet.net

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