10-11 MCAA Preview

This is the fourth in my 2010-2011 season preview series.  In this preview, a look at the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association (MCAA).  For a list of all the season previews, click here.

While Maranatha may not be the top flight class A team of years past, they are the champs until beaten.  Plenty of youth coming back in the league.

Bethany Academy Eagles (2009-10 season 13-11, 3-7 Conference, 9th)
Things started to look up a bit for Bethany as they won 9 of their last 12 against a weak schedule.  Guard Tony Ervin and Max Mattila return as most of a young roster is back.  Last year's leading scorer Ben Peters is 1 of 2 senior losses.  They also get some of the players from now closed neighbor Lion's Gate.  That includes players like Jeremiah Vetsch and Caleb Rollins.  The girls combined like this a couple of years ago and exploded to a huge season.  Can't say that will happen here but improvement is almost certain.

Heritage Christian Academy Eagles (2009-10 season 13-14, 6-4 Conference, 4th)
These Eagles were a pleasant surprise last year and the top 3 scorers are back.  That includes senior guard Nick Parkhurst and junior Dan Liedall.  Sophomore Brad Basco also returns to man the inside.  Expect them to stay in the top half this season.

Legacy Christian Academy (2009-10 season 18-9, 7-3 Conference, 3rd)
The former Meadow Creek Christian Academy starts a series of changes with a name change with a location change to come in the future.  On the court, their only double figure scorer from last year, Ben Thom, has graduated.  Senior Matt Clausen is the top returnee.  Keep an eye on junior center Ben Freeby who if his improvement projects forward could average a double-double and he averaged 2.2 blocks per game last year.  He should be one of the league's top interior players.  Experience could be an issue.

Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Bulldogs (2009-10 season 21-9, 8-2 Conference, 2nd)
The Bulldogs have a couple of major losses including post Brandon Schaust and Daniel Andersen.  The league's top post, David Andersen, is back to lead the way.  Junior guard Jared Kadrie is the top returnee on the outside.  Expect the scoring average to jump into double figures this season for both after each averaged 8.8 PPG last year.

Maranatha Christian Academy Mustangs (2009-10 season 25-4, 10-0 Conference, 1st)
The champs once again have major losses with forward Josh Hanson and center Jay Higgins graduating.  But this was a young group last year so plenty of returnees.  Junior Darian Pittman will start for the 4th year at point guard for the Mustangs and is the top perimeter player in the league.  SaVaughn Jordan is an undersized but extremely effective post who lead the Mustangs with 15.5 PPG last year.   Another Hanson (the 900th in line I think), sophomore Isaiah, will see plenty of minutes inside.  Also keep an eye on freshman Josh Goldschmidt.

New Life Academy Eagles (2009-10 season 8-18, 4-6 Conference, 8th)
Forward Kory Kiekhofer was last year's leading scorer and one of the top scorers in the league at 17.2 per game.  His loss leaves a big hole.  Juniors Alex Heiser and Cody Linton will look to pick up the slack. Senior Joe Mann returns for another year to contribute.  

Providence Academy Lions (2009-10 season 4-20, 0-10 Conference, 11th)
Only 4 of the 24 games within 11 points last season.  Ouch.  Sophomore Jackson Canfield was last year's leading scorer just reaching double figures at 10.5 per night. Another long year for the Lions ahead.

Southwest Christian Stars (2009-10 season 15-13, 6-4 Conference, 5th)
Heavy losses for the Stars as the entire rotation save Joshua Kennedy is gone.  He'll really need to up his 8.4 points per game for the Stars to have success.  Expect size to be an issue as the JVs were very small last year.

Trinity Tri-Hawks (2009-10 season 8-19, 5-5 Conference, 6th)
This is the year the Tri-Hawks have been building for after a disappointing year last season.  Point guard Tony Kuplic is the league's leading returning scorer at 20.1 per night.   Forward Aaron Gregg is versatile and averaged almost 13 a night last year.  Dan Stanton also reach double figures.  With those 3 and junior Josh Koletar returning, the Tri-Hawks have plenty of firepower and should make a big jump in the league standings.

West Lutheran Warriors (2009-10 season 15-13, 4-6 Conference, 7th)
The league's top scorer Michael Lindberg and his 22.6 points a night are gone.  Add in forward Nate Dwyer and his 16.2 points and 8.7 rebounds also graduating and that's a double dose of pain.  Lots of youth saw time last year though.  Juniors Shea and Blake Molitor along with Riley Gehl give the Warriors a nice base of juniors.  Good experience for them this year but I think they're a year away. 

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Maranatha
  2. Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity
  3. Trinity
  4. Heritage 
  5. Legacy
  6. New Life
  7. Bethany
  8. West Lutheran 
  9. Southwest Christian
  10. Providence
Conference MVP: Darian Pittman - Maranatha

Underclassmen to watch:  
Josh Goldschmidt, Isaiah Hanson - Maranatha
Brad Basco - Heritage
Jackson Canfield - Providence

Games that will determine the conference title
  • Trinity at Maranatha - Jan 21st
  • Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity at Trinity - Jan 25th
  • Maranatha at Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity  - Jan 27th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Lakeview Christian at Legacy Christian - Dec 10th
  • Henry Sibley vs Maranatha - Dec 11th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic)
  • Bloomington Jefferson at Maranatha - Dec 21st
  • Eden Prairie at Maranatha - Jan 25th
  • Lakeview Christian at Heritage - Jan 29th

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