2011-12 Missota Preview

This is the sixth preview in my 2011-2012 season preview series.  In this preview, a look at the Missota Conference.  For a list of all the season previews, click here.

A down year expected in the Missota as most teams have major losses.  Chanhassen is the exception but even they lost their best shooter Chance Panning.  Expect the bottom of the league to again have rough seasons.  There is plenty of good youth coming up across the league so that bodes well for the future.

Academy of Holy Angels Stars (2010-11 season 5-22, 1-13 Conference, 8th)
A rough year for the Stars last season.  But there's some talent returning.  Soph point guard Jordan Dembley is back.  Junior forward Danny Sullivan is versatile.  Big man Mike Hudson also returns inside.  Shondale and Delshawn Strickland come over from Minneapolis North. 

Chaska Hawks (2010-11 season 24-5, 13-1 Conference, 1st)
The heaviest losses in the league award goes to the Hawks who were a senior dominated roster last season.  23.2 PPG from power forward Jake White is off to Wichita State.  Athletic forward Ross Travis and his 17.6 a night are off to Penn State.  Not to mention the other double digit scorer Max Watts at guard and the rest of the rotation.  Top returner Matt Knowles saw action in only 7 games and averaged 3 points a game.  Expect a major rebuilding year but keep an eye on soph Kolby Seiffert.

Chanhassen Storm (2010-11 season 13-13, 9-5 Conference, 4th)
The 2nd and 3rd leading scorers are gone.  That includes shooting guard Chance Panning and post Eric Witthus who combined for about 25 a night.  I don't see the Storm fading though.  U of Mary commit Kevin Jensen was the top player at 14.4 a game.  The versatile forward should make a run at league MVP.  Junior Jack Kozlowski returns inside.  They have a talented freshman group ready to come through the system too.

Farmington Tigers (2010-11 season 9-18, 3-11 Conference, Tied 6th)
Leading scorer Alex Michels is gone but junior Darren Beenken returns.  He averaged just into double figures last year in a nice sophomore campaign.  Guard Austin Bassett also returns along with 6'5 soph Nick Varner who saw action in 19 games last year.

New Prague Trojans (2010-11 season 24-8, 10-4 Conference, Tied 2nd)
After a great run knocking off St. Paul Johnson in the state quarterfinals, coach Tim Dittberner decided to step down.  The top 2 scorers for the Trojans, Cale Girten off to Northern State and sharpshooting Jed Kreuser have graduated.  That's 27 points a night gone.  Center Sergio Najera returns along with forwards Trevor O'Brien and Jake Meyer.  But Kreuser, Joe Hatch and Alex Dittberner were the top guards and need to be replaced.

Northfield Raiders (2010-11 season 5-22, 3-11 Conference, tied 6th)
Leading scorer Otto Pfefferle was the only double figure scorer at 16 a night and has graduated.  The next 4 scorers are back though.  6'6 Forward Leif Olson and junior guard Eric Shepley are the top returnees.

Red Wing Wingers (2010-11 season 16-12, 7-7 Conference, 5th)
Center Isaac Sevlie is off to Minnesota State-Moorhead after averaging over 15 a night.  Guard Pat Kelly averaged 11 a night and he's done too.  Guard Joel Newman reached double figures last year and is the top returnee.  Soph Isaac Toivonen saw action in double figure games last year.

Shakopee Sabers (2010-11 season 16-11, 10-4 Conference, Tied 2nd)
Massive losses for the Sabers too as they lose their top 7 scorers.  Big soph Tyler Weiss saw action in 24 games last year.  When I saw the JV squad last year (Weiss and soph twin tower Jake Maiers), they started 4 guys 6'4 or taller so I expect a big lineup.6 players listed in last year's roster at 6'4 or taller so plenty of size coming thru the system.  We'll see how that jives with the hard-nosed defensive style that coach Kugath likes to play.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Chanhassen
  2. New Prague
  3. Shakopee
  4. Holy Angels
  5. Northfield
  6. Chaska
  7. Red Wing
  8. Farmington
Conference MVP: Kevin Jensen - Chanhassen

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Jordan Dembley, Delshawn Strickland - Holy Angels
  • Nick Varner- Farmington
  • Ty Buck, Isaac Toivonen - Red Wing
  • Kolby Seiffert - Chaska
  • Paul Friendshuh - New Prague
  • Tyler Weiss, Jake Maiers - Shakopee
Games that will determine the conference title

  • New Prague at Chanhassen - Jan 24th 
  • Shakopee at Chanhassen - Feb 3rd
  • Chanhassen at New Prague - Feb 21st
  • Chanhassen at Shakopee - Mar 2nd
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Shakopee at Owatonna - Dec 8th
  • Lakeville North at Chanhassen - Dec 9th
  • Shakopee at Woodbury - Dec 10th
  • New Prague at Holy Family - Dec 13th
  • Chanhassen at Buffalo - Dec 13th
  • Chanhassen at St. Thomas Academy - Dec 22nd
  • Chanhassen at Best Buy Holiday Tournament (Augsburg) - Dec 28-30th
  • Shakopee at Lakeville North tournament - Dec 29-30th
  • Eden Prairie at Shakopee - Jan 3rd
  • Chanhassen at Eden Prairie - Jan 6th
  • Chanhassen at Holy Family - Jan 17th


  1. Freshman Joey Witthus may be the first of the class to break into the varsity lineup at Chanhassen. 6'4" guard who is a very accurate, quick release, long range shooter who runs the floor well and plays defense.

  2. Watch out for New Prague sophomore Paul Friendshuh. 6'8'' forward that can block shots and put it on the floor, so much potential. If New Prague develops guard play, they will be very hard to beat. With such a big lineup coming back, opponents will struggle to shoot inside.

  3. New Prague junior Joey Kneip will probably be drafted next year. He once had 4 interceptions in a game of football. Not an entire season, but a single game.


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