11-12 Tri-Metro Preview

This is the 12th preview in my 2011-2012 season preview series.  In this preview, a look at the Tri-Metro Conference.  For a list of all the season previews, click here.

The league welcomes Providence Academy and can go back to the full divisional schedule.  DeLaSalle has the talent but not the experience.  Concordia is the favorite on the other side.  Blake, Minnehaha, St. Agnes, St. Anthony, St. Croix Lutheran all have enough returning to beat most anybody in the league on any night.

Blake Bears (2010-11 season 19-9, 10-5 Conference, 2nd West)
Forward Tim Zellmer is the biggest loss but he sat out big minutes last year anyway due to injury.  Junior forward Kebu Johnson returns for his 4th season on varsity (seems like 500).  He led the team at 11.9 PPG last season.  Soph point guard John Veil was the 2nd leading scorer.  Paul Blake and Conner Kline return inside.  Soph JR Bascom also saw major minutes last season.

Breck Mustangs (2010-11 season 11-16, 6-9 Conference, 4th West)
The Mustangs lose 4 of their top 5 scorers including 17+ a night from Jeff Lurie.  But lots of youth saw big minutes last season.  Junior point guard Tilyn Hollis, frosh forward Will Culliton and forward Michael Marzec all return after seeing big minutes last year.  Keep an eye on the Mustangs freshman class as they have a group of 4 quality kids there to build around.

Brooklyn Center Centaurs (2010-11 season 3-24, 2-13 Conference, 6th West)
How long a year was it for the Centaurs?  They gave up a 46-0 run to Tartan over the holidays.  Expect another long season. Sophs Deandre Bell and DeAndre Shipp are 2 of the notable returnees. 

Concordia Academy Beacons (2010-11 season 20-9, 11-3 Conference, Tied 1st East)
The Beacons lose scorers 2-5 but don't sleep on them.  Sioux Falls commit Cutler Finneman returns to man the front line.  He was the team scoring leader at 17 a night last year.  4 other players from the rotation including guard Christian Koehn return for a squad that has 9 seniors.  6'6' Junior forward Jared Schneidermann gives them another lanky athlete on the front line.  Junior Charlie Kennelly should also see minutes. 

DeLaSalle Islanders (2010-11 season 25-4, 15-0 Conference, 1st West)
The Islanders enter the season on a 27 game conference winning streak.  With 6 seniors gone including beast Jonah Travis (Harvard) and the transfer of Riley Dearring to Minnetonka, this roster has very little varsity experience but is very talented.  The point guard position will be shared between senior Tyler Moore (the 1 experienced returnee) and talented frosh Jarvis Johnson (one of the top 2015 kids in MN).  Shooter Luke Scott and Shawn Fitzgibbons will see wing minutes.  Soph Reid Travis will see inside and out minutes.   Except for Moore this group will see a couple of years together so expect a huge year next year.  As is usual at D, the freshman class is absolutely loaded with talent.

Minnehaha Academy Redhawks (2010-11 season 17-14, 9-6 Conference, 3rd West)
One of disappointments of last year was not getting to one of my favorite buildings to see the Redhawks.  They got hot late and won 8 out 9 to make a run through weak section 4AA before losing to Redwood Valley in the state quarters (big game from Mankato commit Mike Busack was the difference).  They lose 1 of their 2 weapons Matt Prior (18 a night) but 19 a night from power guard Gerald McCarver returns.  Junior guard John Prior figures to jump into double figures this season after just missing out last season.  Junior Marcellous Hazzard also saw major minutes last season.

Mounds Park Academy Panthers (2010-11 season 3-21, 0-14 Conference, 5th East)
The Panthers are on a 53 game conference losing streak.  Since the league went to the 2 division format in 2006-2007, their league record is 3-74.  A shame too because recently built Lansing Center is a quality facility.  Undersized forward Nate Burstein is the top returnee with guard Eddie Freier.

Providence Academy Lions (2010-11 season 11-13, 2-7 MCAA Conference, 9th)
The Lions move into the league from the MCAA and while its means some great girls games vs DeLaSalle.  The boys program isn't at that level yet.  5 of the 7 members of the rotation are back and only 1 of them is a senior. Junior Jackson Canfield averaged over 17 a night last year.  Joe Heck put up 14 a night. 

St. Agnes Aggies (2010-11 season 13-16, 5-9 Conference, 4th East)
Now for the all saints portion of the preview.  The Aggies lose wing Mario Franco and his 9.9 a night to Woodbury.  The top 2 scorers Dakari Davison (15 PPG) and Antonio Hartfeld-McGhee (11 PPG) return.  McGhee is an athletic power wing who can be a handful to defend and is willing to take over a game. Guards Nick Bennett, Charlie Turch and Jordan Delaney also return to the rotation.

St. Anthony Huskies (2010-11 season 18-9, 11-3 Conference, Tied 1st East)
Forward Anthony Brama was a major revelation last year averaging 21 a night.  He's unorthodox but very effective.  3rd leading scorer Dustin Iannazzo also returns. Junior Nick Kampa will run the point after seeing big minutes last season.  Jordan Wiggins and forward Mike Studer will see more minutes as well.

St. Croix Lutheran Crusaders (2010-11 season 16-12, 8-6 Conference, 3rd East)
Top scorer and interior player Kyle Prelgo is gone from his forward spot.  The guard trio of power guard Wesley Tucker, point guard Cameron Cummings and lefty shooter Mark Lawrence all return after each averaged close to double figures.  Guard Dominic Cambrice also saw significant time last season and returns.  Size will be a major question mark.

St. Paul Academy Spartans (2010-11 season 7-21, 3-12 Conference, 5th West)
Leading scorer and post Sam Dicke departs but the next 4 scorers return.  That includes the guard duo of point guard Spencer Egly and athletic wing Josh Gray.  Post Andrew Bullard is also gone so the Spartans will have to find some size.  Expect junior Steve Olson to fill that role.  Story to follow is where 8th grade guard Dalante Payton fits in.  He played with the freshmen last year and the Spartans are very high on him.

Predicted Order of Finish

West
  1. DeLaSalle
  2. Blake 
  3. Minnehaha
  4. Breck 
  5. Providence Academy 
  6. Brooklyn Center
East
  1. Concordia Academy
  2. St. Anthony
  3. St. Croix Lutheran 
  4. St. Agnes  
  5. St. Paul Academy 
  6. Mounds Park Academy
Conference MVP: Cutler Finneman - Concordia

Underclassmen to watch:  
Roger Moore Jr - Concordia
John Veil, JR Bascom - Blake
Dalante Payton - St. Paul Academy
Will Culliton, Mo Lawal - Breck
Jarvis Johnson, Sacar Anim, Reid Travis, James Lawson, Drayton Carlburg, Wheeler Baker - DeLaSalle

Games that will determine the conference title
  • DeLaSalle at Blake - Dec 6th
  • Concordia at St. Anthony - Dec 9th
  • St. Anthony at Blake - Jan 19th
  • DeLaSalle at Concordia - Jan 24th
  • Blake at DeLaSalle - Feb 2nd
  • St. Anthony at Concordia - Feb 17th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Trinity at Concordia - Dec 2nd
  • DeLaSalle vs Robbinsdale Cooper - Dec 10th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Concordia at St. Cloud Cathedral tournament - Dec 28-30 
  • DeLaSalle at Mike Miller Classic - Dec 29-30 (Mitchell, SD)
  • DeLaSalle at Eden Prairie - Jan 17th
  • DeLaSalle vs Waunakee, WI - Feb 4th (Border Battle at Sun Prairie, WI)
  • Benilde-St. Margaret's at DeLaSalle - Feb 7th
  • Blake at Holy Family - Feb 8th
  • DeLaSalle at Cretin-Derham Hall - Feb 18th
  • Blake at Maranatha - Feb 21st
  • Blake at Richfield - Feb 25th
  • Moorhead at DeLaSalle - Mar 3rd

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