2015-16 Tri-Metro Conference Preview

This is the 10th preview in my 2015-2016 season preview series.  Week 2 of the 6 week long series concludes with a look at the Tri-Metro Conference.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are generated, click here.

Academy of Holy Angels Stars (2014-15 season 8-18, 3-9 Conference, Tie 4th West)
Junior Sam Boehne returns to lead the Stars inside.  He averaged almost 16 PPG last year.  Shooter Charlie Nicklay needs to be replaced.  Robbie Metcalf (9.8 PPG) and Patrick Burke return to the starting lineup.  Joey Oslund and Max Arms look to also see time on the perimeter.
 
Brooklyn Center Centaurs (2014-15 season 12-13, 3-9 Conference, Tied 4th West)
The Centaurs started 9-1 before off-court issues completely torpedoed a promising season.  Matt McCollister takes over and I see hope for the years of in-season issues going away.  Tedkye Clark and 20.2 PPG has graduated along with Romell Carr (10.7 PPG) but there are a couple of nice athletic pieces to work with.  Landon Kirkwood averaged 15.7 PPG and Devontae Prince averaged 12.9 PPG.  Dashawn Pickford, Reid Chesmer and Sam Duncan are other pieces coming back.

Columbia Heights Hylanders (2014-15 season 13-14, 8-4 Conference, Tie 2nd West)
Columbia Heights returns forward Jarrett Baptiste (13.1 PPG) for what seems to be his 5000th season.  High scoring forward Montroy Scott (19.4 PPG), Ernest Dixon (13.3 PPG) and Tak Anwey (7.9 PPG) all need to be replaced.  Tenzin Kalsang returns in the back court.  Rodney Jones provides size up front.  Ismail Ugas also returns.
 
Concordia Academy Beacons (2014-15 season 18-10, 6-5 Conference, 2nd East)
Point Guard Roger Moore Jr (21.5 PPG) and forwards Sam Root and Jacob Falk (19.5 PPG combined) all need to be replaced.  Athletic wing Isaiah Maddox returns with 14.5 PPG.  The only other returnee to the rotation is guard Grant Harbo.

De La Salle Islanders (2014-15 season 26-4, 12-0 Conference, 1st West, AAA State Champion)
The 4-time defending state AAA champion Islanders lose 3 D1 players.  That includes their top 3 scores Sacar Anim, Jarvis Johnson and Josh Collins who combined for 46.4 PPG.  Junior star Goanar Mar is the top returning scorer at 8.7 PPG.  Soph Gabe Kalscheur came on as the year progressed.  Samm Jones looks to have a breakout year taking over the point.   The rumor mill says they have a big freshman to play inside too.  Plug in whoever you want at the other spot.

Fridley Tigers (2014-15 season 18-8, 8-4 Conference, Tie 2nd West)
The size of center Jonathan Conyers and his team 13.9 PPG will be missed.  Tessy Pal returns with 13.4 PPG on the wing.   Shyheem Murray also returns with 10.4 PPG.  Tyree Caruthers and Anthony Zarr are a couple of other options.   They'll be plenty athletic with enough size to be a pain.

St. Agnes Aggies (2014-15 season 7-19, 0-11 Conference, 4th East)
Soph Gary Smith was the team leader in scoring last year at 11.6 PPG.  Luther Missoh was their inside presence at 10.4 PPG and needs to be replaced.  Junior guard Darius Lopez and Alula Tesfay also return to the lineup.  They will move into a new gym this year after playing all their games on the road last season.

St. Anthony Huskies (2014-15 season 6-21, 2-9 Conference, 3rd East)
The top 3 scorers return for the Huskies.  Seniors Nick Peterson and Nick Knutson return again after raising their scoring averages to 11.8 and 11.2 PPG respectively.  Junior Rhys Langums just missed the double figure plateau at 9.9 PPG.  Ben Peterson is a significant piece that needs to be replaced.

St. Croix Lutheran Crusaders (2014-15 season 30-3, 10-1 Conference, 1st East, AA 3rd Place)
Last year's section final hero Tommy Metcalf and role guy Josh Arndt depart.  But the Crusaders have all their stars and top scorers coming back.  Athlete Ade Lamu (16.5 PPG) and UMD recruit Trenton Krueger (16 PPG) man the front court.  PG Venkat Valluri and shooter Aage Rovney (14.8 PPG) are also back.  Gunnar Maki also returns to what should be a limited rotation.

Predicted Order of Finish

East
  1. St. Croix Lutheran
  2. Concordia
  3. St. Anthony
  4. St. Agnes
 West
  1. De La Salle
  2. Fridley 
  3. Brooklyn Center
  4. Columbia Heights
  5. Holy Angels  
Conference MVP: Samm Jones - De La Salle

Conference Overview:
In the west, of course we pick De La Salle in a no brainer selection.  Still plenty of talent there.  Brooklyn Center and Fridley should be a good battle of old Metro Alliance neighbors for the 2nd spot.  Columbia Heights too athletic for Holy Angels for the last spot.

In the east, St. Croix Lutheran has everybody back so they have to be the favorite.  They'll be looking to improve on their 3rd place state finish last year.  Concordia and St. Anthony fit into the middle spots by default.  St. Agnes at least gets a true home game this year.

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Jack Anderson - Holy Angels
  • Sage Booker, Sy Chatman, Gabe Kalscheur - De La Salle
  • Gary Smith, Cahlil Golden - St. Agnes
Conference Games to Watch
  • Fridley at St. Croix Lutheran - Jan 5th
  • De La Salle at Brooklyn Center - Jan 12th
  • Brooklyn Center at St. Croix Lutheran - Jan 15th
  • Fridley at De La Salle - Jan 19th
  • Fridley at Brooklyn Center - Jan 26th
  • De La Salle at St. Croix Lutheran - Jan 28th
  • Brooklyn Center at Fridley - Feb 9th
  • De La Salle at Fridley - Feb 11th
  • Brooklyn Center at De La Salle - Feb 16th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • De La Salle vs Milwaukee Washington (WI) - Dec 5th (Girls Tipoff Classic at Hopkins)
  • De La Salle vs Atascocita (TX) - Dec 11th (St. Paul Johnson showcase)
  • De La Salle vs Champlin Park - Dec 12th (Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka) 
  • St. Croix Lutheran vs Braham - Dec 12th (Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka) 
  • Delano at Fridley - Dec 15th
  • Benilde-St. Margaret's at De La Salle - Dec 23rd
  • De La Salle at Eden Prairie - Jan 5th
  • De La Salle at Cretin-Derham Hall - Feb 13th

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