2014-15 MCAA Preview

This is the 4th preview in my 2014-15 season preview series.  In this preview, a look at the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association (MCAA).  For a list of all the season previews and how they are done, click here.

Bethany Academy Eagles (2013-14 season 11-15, 2-11 Conference, 5th South)
Bethany will have to replace one of the league's top snipers in Sam Hagen.  He scored over 19 points a game and was also the Eagles leading rebounder.  No one else averaged double figures.  Most of the rest of the rotation returns.  Seth Cupersmith tops the list of returnees with 8 points per game.  Its a group that will need to find size and another scorer.

Heritage Christian Academy Eagles (2013-14 season 21-7, 10-3 Conference, 2nd North)
Heritage will need to replace 5 of their top 6 scorers from last season.  That includes double figure scorers Drew Kleinschmidt (17 PPG), Spenser Bland and Andy Hamilton.  Soph CJ Woda is the top returning scorer at 10 points a night.  Junior Tanner Scott also returns after seeing time last year.

Legacy Christian Academy (2013-14 season 13-15, 4-9 Conference, 4th North)
Legacy needs to replace 2 parts of their 3 headed monster from last year.  Luke Anderson and Luke Johnson combined for over 23 a night and will need to be replaced.  Guard Nate Bertsch was the top piece of that trio and he returns.  He was 2nd in the league in scoring at 22+ a night with his ability to score off the bounce or shoot it.  Caleb Johnson joins him on the perimeter.  Junior Michael Stelly returns inside.  Sophomores Lucas Nelson and Cole Bertsch also saw rotation time last year.

Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Bulldogs (2013-14 season 15-13, 9-4 Conference, 2nd South)
Versatile guard Nick Machemehl departs after finishing 3rd in the league in scoring at 22 a night.  Spencer Radtke needs to be replaced inside.  Lefty Josh Volness should man 1 guard spot and provide some shooting.  Jazz Baird should step into a starting role.  Jordan Radtke is the top returning scorer at almost 10 per night.  He'll be the top option and take over duties inside.

Maranatha Christian Academy Mustangs (2013-14 season 27-4, 13-0 Conference, 1st North)
The Mustangs are coming off a state 3rd place finish and lose only 1 player.  Josh Goldschmidt was a primary ball handler and leader for this group and will be missed.  He's at Lake Superior State now.  The rest of the roster is back and loaded.  Jeremiah Hanson returns on the wing after leading the league in scoring at 24 a night.  Cam Monson provides a sledgehammer force inside  Jake Meyen is an athlete on the wing.  Those 2 averaged double figures.  Add in high-flying Damario Armstrong, a shooter in Max Lund and a solid reserve guard in Joe Jacobsen and its another big season on tap for the Mustangs.

New Life Academy Eagles (2013-14 season 20-6, 10-3 Conference, 1st South)
Wing Conrad Engstrom returns after topping the Eagles with 16 points a night.  Jake Wynia returns inside.  Sam Horner is another returning guard.  2 double figure scoring guards and 2 bigs graduate.

PACT Charter Panthers (2013-14 season 10-18, 0-13 Conference, 5th North)
The top 2 scorers depart.  That includes leading scorer and rebounder Daniel Nelson who was a 15 and 7 guy last season.  Junior Drew Johnson figures to increase his 11 points a night to help replace that.  Senior Derek Stone returns to run the point.  Fellow seniors Luke Johnson, Karr Fager and Ryan Fries all return to the rotation as well.

Southwest Christian Stars (2013-14 season 16-9, 8-5 Conference, 3rd South)
SW Christian loses 3 of their top 4 scorers.  Those 3 were also the top 3 rebounders on the roster.  That lack of size will need to be addressed.  Guard Jack Jenson returns after scoring 12 points a game last season.  Expect bigger roles for sophomore guards Trey Sandness and Kyle Meinke after seeing plenty of time last year. 

Trinity Tri-Hawks (2013-14 season 13-15, 3-10 Conference, 4th South)
Eddie Maruggi returns in the backcourt.  Jon Lotti returns up front.   They combined for 30 points a night last season.  Maruggi's 18.5 PPG is good for 3rd best returning scorer in the league.  I expect a similar season to last season.

West Lutheran Warriors (2013-14 season 11-15, 6-7 Conference, 3rd North)
West Lutheran loses their top 3 scorers from a year ago.  That includes almost 14 a night from guard Paul Draeger.  Tyler Kimmons, Zach Dwyer and Josh Pannier should form an experience backcourt. 

Predicted Order of Finish

North Division
  1. Maranatha
  2. Legacy 
  3. Heritage
  4. PACT  
  5. West Lutheran  
South Division
  1. New Life 
  2. SW Christian  
  3. Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity  
  4. Trinity   
  5. Bethany
Conference Overview
This will be one of the tougher predictions I do with 1 exception.  There's Maranatha and then everybody else.  In the rest of the north, Heritage loses a ton but they've proven they can reload, West Lutheran has to replace 3 top guys.  PACT has a lot back but lost 2 top kids from a team that was winless in the league.  Legacy has the top player of the 4 and some experience back so they are my pick for best of the rest in the north.  So basically throw the next 4 in a hat and pick.  In the south, I don't see a clear favorite.  But with a couple guys back from the top team last year, that's enough for me to pick New Life.  I think Bethany without Hagen stays at the bottom.  The middle 3 in the south is another jumbled mess that I can see going any direction.  Maruggi and Trinity played Lester Prairie and SW Christian really tough in 3 of the 4 games last year.  Lester Prairie has a prime post guy in Radtke that many others don't.  Southwest Christian doesn't have any size returning but they do have guard experience.  The MCAA tournament looks like its going to a 2 day format instead of the 1 day showcase they've used in recent years.

Conference MVP: Jeremiah Hanson - Maranatha

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Sam LeVoir - Bethany
  • CJ Woda - Heritage
  • Lucas Nelson, Cole Bertsch - Legacy
  • Trey Sandness, Kyle Meinke - Southwest Christian
Conference Games to Watch
  • New Life at Maranatha - Jan 13th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Maranatha at Minneapolis North - Jan 17th

1 comment:

  1. Czar, FYI Seth Cupersmith will not be playing with Bethany this season. After transferring, he will be playing with MN Transitions Charter this season.


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