2013-14 Missota Conference Preview

This is the third preview in my 2013-2014 season preview series.  In this preview, a look at the Missota Conference.  For a list of all the season previews, click here.

Academy of Holy Angels Stars (2012-13 season 20-8, 11-3 Conference, Tied 1st)
Head coach Larry McKenzie was run off and is now at Minneapolis North.  Former head coach Jesse Foley takes over the program.  The dynamic guard duo of Delshon Strickland and Jordan Dembley have transferred out (Minnetonka and Osseo respectively).   Wing Danny Sullivan and guard Sam Keis graduated costing the Stars 4 of their top 5 scorers.   Charlie Koontz is the lone double figure scorer returning.   He'll anchor the front line with Joey Poehling and Connor Failor.  Adam Hoffman is the top returning guard.  Taylor BonGiovanni provides outside shooting.

Chaska Hawks (2012-13 season 13-14, 7-7 Conference, 4th)
Chaska returns junior guard Jacob Hansen as their leading scorer (14+ PPG).  Forward Eric West returns inside as a scoring threat who can also step out and knock down a jumper.  Juniors Justin Arnold and Peyton Sanders are also quality guards.  Chris Auer's perimeter defense will be missed.  They'll look to Jake Young and Jacob Weber for more interior size.

Chanhassen Storm (2012-13 season 13-14, 6-8 Conference, Tied 5th)
The Storm and their junior class are a year away but will still be dangerous this season.  Junior forward Joey Witthus averaged 16+ a night last season as the only double figure scorer.  Ben Khwice moved up late last season to take over the point guard spot for the next 2 seasons.  Football star Frank Ragnow gives an interior presence.

Farmington Tigers (2012-13 season 14-14, 6-8 Conference, Tied 5th)
Farmington will have to replace top scorer Darren Beenken but they return plenty of talent from a balanced lineup.  Junior guard Zach Spiekers was one of 4 players in double figures last season and had a very good summer playing up with the WOTN 17s.  Eli Rockett and Mackinley Bassett also averaged double figures.  Nick Varner returns on the front line. 

New Prague Trojans (2012-13 season 18-9, 9-5 Conference, 3rd)
The Trojans feature a pair of quality returnees.  Richmond commit Paul Friendshuh leads the way at 15 a night.  Mike Soderlund also averaged double figures.  With quality guard play, New Prague can be a very tough out in section 1AAA.

Northfield Raiders (2012-13 season 7-19, 2-12 Conference, 8th)
Most of the rotation is gone for the last place Raiders.  Sophomore forward Luke Harris is a bright spot coming back.  The leadership of guard Eric Shepley will be missed.  Hard to see them avoiding a 3 year streak at the bottom of the league.

Red Wing Wingers (2012-13 season 15-14, 4-10 Conference, 7th)
Red Wing returns 3 of their top 4 scorers.  That includes 15 a night from wing junior wing Ty Buck and 10.5 PPG from Isaac Toivonen in the middle.  The Wingers beat up a weak non-conference schedule but did give many of their league foes very tough games.

Shakopee Sabers (2012-13 season 16-11, 11-3 Conference, Tied 1st)
The Sabers lose 2 of their top 3 scorers but are still stacked.  St. John's (MN) got a steal in forward Tyler Weiss.  Fellow forward Jake Maiers is the banger of the front line duo.  Junior Evan Hagen returns for a 3rd straight year running the point.  Soph Steffon Mitchell was a productive freshman and had a great summer.  If they find consistent outside shooting, they're very scary.  They're big and physical and as well coached as anyone.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Shakopee 
  2. Farmington 
  3. Chaska 
  4. New Prague 
  5. Chanhassen  
  6. Red Wing 
  7. Holy Angels
  8. Northfield
Conference Overview:
Its the final season before the Missota Conference shuts down forever.  Red Wing and Northfield move to the Big 9.  Holy Angels is off to the Tri-Metro. Chanhassen and Chaska are charter members of the new Metro West Conference.  Farmington and Shakopee will move to the South Suburban.  New Prague completes the shift by moving to the Wright County.

Shakopee is too big, too experienced, and too well coached to not be the favorite.  Northfield has to be the final pick based on their losses and last year's record.  Farmington has a lot back and I think they'll fight with Chaska for the 2 slot.  The next 4 teams could finish in any order as I see them all very even.  Holy Angels falls way off with the loss of their guard duo and adjusting to a new system.  New Prague gets the nod with the highest profile player in the group followed by Chanhassen.

Conference MVP: Tyler Weiss - Shakopee

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Steffon Mitchell - Shakopee
  • Luke Harris - Northfield
Conference Games to Watch
  • Farmington at Chaska- Jan 7th 
  • Shakopee at Chaska - Jan 21st
  • Shakopee at Farmington - Jan 28th
  • Farmington at Shakopee - Jan 31st
  • Chaska at Shakopee - Feb 18th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Austin at New Prague - Nov 26th
  • Shakopee vs East Ridge - Nov 30th (Anoka-Ramsey Classic)
  • New Prague at Holy Family - Dec 7th
  • Waconia at Shakopee - Dec 10th
  • Eden Prairie at Shakopee - Dec 12th
  • Shakopee vs St. Francis - Dec 14th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • New Prague vs Rochester Lourdes - Dec 14th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Shakopee at Lakeville Rotary Tournament -Dec 27/28th

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