2014-15 Tri-Metro Conference Preview

This is the 10th preview in my 2014-2015 season preview series.  Week 2 of the 5 week long series concludes with a look at the remade Tri-Metro Conference.  6 members leave to form the IMAC.  The MSHSL then adds Holy Angels, Columbia Heights and Fridley after the Missota and North Suburban folded.  So that leaves 9 teams but with a west class 3A vs east class 2A split, expect more changes to come.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are generated, click here.

Academy of Holy Angels Stars (2013-14 season 11-15, 5-9 Missota Conference, 6th)
The dynamic duo of forward Charlie Koontz and shooter Taylor BonGiovanni (AKA Bon Jovi on my stat sheets) and their 40 PPG will be tough to replace.  Most of the rest of the rotation is gone too.  Sophomore Sam Boehne is a piece to build with for the future.
Brooklyn Center Centaurs (2013-14 season 15-10, 6-4 Conference, Tied 3rd)
The league's leading scorer Tedkye Clark returns after scoring 24.5 PPG last year.  Seniors Tyrell Beasley and Romell Carr also return to the lineup.  Sophomore Devonte Prince is the 3rd leading returning scorer.  Wing Sammie Watkins and his 14.7 PPG is the biggest lost.

Columbia Heights Hylanders (2013-14 season 19-8, 10-4 North Suburban Conference, 2nd)
The Hylanders coming off an impressive season where they had a chance to reach 20 wins and win the final North Suburban conference title.  A loss on the final night at Totino-Grace cost them both.  Double figure scorer Colton Williams needs to be replaced.  Jarrett Baptiste scored 16.1 PPG as an inside force last year.  He leads a group of 4 returning starters.  Montroy Scott and Tak Anwey give the Hylanders athletic options on the wing.
Concordia Academy Beacons (2013-14 season 14-13, 5-5 Conference, Tied 6th)
The Beacons need to replace double figure scorers Will Preble and Austin Moldenhauer (27 PPG combined).  Point guard Roger Moore Jr returns to run the show.  He was the team's top scorer at 18.8 PPG to go with 5 assists a night.  Seniors Sam Root, Jacob Falk, Connor Johnson and Kyle Leistkow all will contribute.  Root is the top returning scorer of that group at 8.4 PPG.  Junior Chris Carlson will also be in the rotation.

De La Salle Islanders (2013-14 season 26-3, 10-0 Conference, 1st, AAA State Champion)
The 3-time defending state AAA champion Islanders are still loaded and the prohibitive favorite to win it all again.  That's despite losing D1 talents Reid Travis (Stanford) and Geno Crandall (North Dakota) along with James Lawson (D2 Sioux Falls).  Minnesota commit Jarvis Johnson returns at the point.  Sacar Anim should be a bigger offensive option this year and is a stud defender on 1 wing.  North Dakota commit Josh Collins is the other wing.  Sophomore star Goanar Mar and Jeff Daubanton provide some up front options who can also play facing the hoop.

Fridley Tigers (2013-14 season 15-8, 6-6 North Suburban Conference, Tied 5th)
The top 5 scorers and 6 members of the rotation all depart.  Each player in that group averaged between 9 and 11 PPG.  Center Jonathan Conyers is the top returning player.  His 8.8 PPG will need to drastically increase this season.  Tessy Pal gives the Tigers an option on the wing. 

St. Agnes Aggies (2013-14 season 7-20, 0-10 Conference, 11th)
Leading scorer Nick Turch and his 24.5 PPG need to be replaced.  Guard Jake Gutzmann also departs. Those were the 2 most effective scorers for the Aggies.  Luther Missoh is the top returning scorer at 5 PPG.  Upperclassmen Alula Tesfay, Peter Vaske and Alex Davis return to the lineup.  Sophomore Darius Lopez should be one of the better offensive threats.

St. Anthony Huskies (2013-14 season 5-22, 2-8 Conference, 10th)
Leading scorer Noah Bluth and his 14.6 PPG depart.  Ben Peterson averaged 13.2 PPG, lefty Nick Peterson averaged 7.3 PPG.  They are the top 2 returning scorers.  Guards Nick Knutson and Cole Richmond also return.  Kevin Omodt returns in the middle.

St. Croix Lutheran Crusaders (2013-14 season 17-12, 5-5 Conference, Tied 6th)
Assistant Coach Jay Wendland takes over the Crusaders program.  He has a talented group of juniors to build around.  Plus only 1 member of last year's rotation departs.  The trio of point guard Aage Rovney, forward Ade Lamu and center Trenton Krueger combined for 47 points a night last year.  Rovney is a solid lefty PG who can also shoot it.  Lamu is an athletic wing and Krueger is one of the best post players in the league.  Josh Arndt and Jason Rupprecht also return in the backcourt. 

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. De La Salle
  2. St. Croix Lutheran
  3. Columbia Heights
  4. Brooklyn Center
  5. Concordia Academy  
  6. Fridley
  7. Holy Angels
  8. St. Anthony 
  9. St. Agnes  
Conference MVP: Sacar Anim - De La Salle

Conference Overview:
No doubt about De La Salle at the top.  St. Croix Lutheran and Columbia Heights both have good talent coming back, I see them battling for 2nd.  But with St. Croix Lutheran playing the east half of the schedule (league is using a division schedule), that saves them a loss.  Plus they host Columbia Heights in the only meeting.  Brooklyn Center and Concordia played 2 tight games last year, expect a good battle there for 4th.  Fridley and Holy Angels both have a truck load to replace so they'll battle for 6th.  St. Anthony could jump into that group with their returnees.  St. Agnes will be young and without their top dogs, hard to see them scoring enough to move up.

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Davonte Prince, Deshawn Pickford - Brooklyn Center
  • Sage Booker, Gabe Kalscheur - De La Salle
  • Sam Boehne - Holy Angels
  • Cahlil Golden, Darius Lopez - St. Agnes
Conference Games to Watch
  • Columbia Heights at St. Croix Lutheran - Jan 27th
  • St. Croix Lutheran at De La Salle - Jan 30th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • St. Thomas Academy at St. Croix Lutheran - Nov 25th
  • Simley at St. Croix Lutheran - Dec 2nd
  • De La Salle vs North Scott (IA)- Dec 6th (Girls Tipoff Classic at Hopkins)
  • St. Paul Academy at St. Croix Lutheran - Dec 9th
  • De La Salle vs Apple Valley- Dec 13th (Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • St. Croix Lutheran at Minnehaha - Jan 8th
  • De La Salle vs Chicago Morgan Park (IL) - Jan 10th (Timberwolves Shootout)
  • Eden Prairie at De La Salle - Jan 13th
  • Columbia Heights vs TBD - Jan 24 (E Metro Showcase at Johnson)
  • Armstrong at De La Salle - Jan 31st
  • De La Salle vs Kimberly (WI) - Feb 7th (Border Battle at Cretin-Derham Hall)
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at De La Salle - Feb 14th
  • St. Croix Lutheran at Breck - Feb 17th

1 comment:

  1. Watch out for that kid Khadeem Thomas younger brother to Jacob Thomas, gonna be really nice.


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