2018-19 MCAA Preview

This is the third preview in my 2018-19 season preview series.  Week 1 of the 6 week series moves on with a look at the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association (MCAA).  For a list of all the season previews and how they are done, click here.

Heritage Christian Academy Eagles (2017-18 season 13-19, 2-8 Conference, 9th)
Heritage made an improbable run to state in a year where they had lost one of their best senior classes ever.  Now coach Tim Herman has to replace 11 more seniors.  Guards Seth Halvorsen and Ben Allen are significant losses.  Senior Taylor Brodersen is the lone starter coming back.  Junior TJ Guggenberger will be the main offensive option.

Legacy Christian Academy Lions (2017-18 season 5-25, 0-10 Conference, 11th)
Crossfire AAU director Nate Bellefeuille takes over as the new AD and 4th head coach in 4 years at Legacy.  The Lions return most of their rotation from a roster than was very young and inexperienced last season.  Senior guards Josh Hinrichs and Justin Demars return after being the top 2 scorers.  Plenty of youth will see time.  But they lose a key piece of youth as freshman Payton Thomsen has transferred to Andover.  They'll continue to build towards the next 2 years.

Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Bulldogs (2017-18 season 12-16, 4-6 Conference, 7th)
The Bulldogs also have a new coach from the AAU ranks in Andrew Dahl.  He too has most of last year's roster to work with.  That includes senior do everything guard Michael Ziermann and his 16.1 PPG.  He's one of the top players in the league.  Evan Lee and Dylan Ruzicka provide shooting on the wings.  Parker Bayerl returns to man the front line.

Maranatha Christian Academy Mustangs (2017-18 season 20-8, 10-0 Conference, 1st)
The league's most dominant player Beijan Newbern and his 20 PPG departs.  But the cupboard is never bare for the Mustangs.  Maciah Harut returns at the point.  The worker duo of Clarence and Hakim Daniels returns up front and they pound the boards.  Justin Mason and Julian Cavan are experienced guards.  Travaris Ricks-Wessah is another effective front line piece.  Shooting is an achilles heel for this crew, especially without a dynamic 1 on 1 option like Newbern.  They will use their athletes to pressure to make up for that.

New Life Academy Eagles (2017-18 season 20-9, 7-3 Conference, Tie 2nd)
New Life looks at another year where they hope to just reload.  All 5 starters have to be replaced.  That includes their big front line and 2 double-figure scorers of Drew Wynia and Zach Thor.  That's around 26 points and 13 points a game.  Versatile Eli Gorter on the wing is also a big loss.  Junior forward Michael Reader is the top returnee.  Konner Ware returns in the backcourt.  Ben Kaus and Caleb Wall are also expected to be major parts of the rotation.

PACT Charter Panthers (2017-18 season 8-19, 3-7 Conference, 8th)
PACT has to replace 4 starters and 5 of their top 7.  That includes the top scorer in the league Cade Johnson and 23.5 PPG.  They do have a nice piece to build around in sophomore forward Jordan Stone.  Parker Maahs is the lone returning starter.

St. Croix Prep Lions (2017-18 season 18-10, 7-3 Conference, Tie 2nd)
Coach Keven Seim has a loaded backcourt.  Junior sniper Daniel McCarrell averaged almost 18.8 PPG last year and had 10 3s in a game at Johnson last year.  Then you have sophomores Addison Metcalf and Andrew Howard who also can both handle and shoot it.  That doesn't even add in Jayton Metcalf who may return from major injury.  They'll miss the scoring punch (14.8) from Adam Wiering.  Not much size but the shooting makes up for it.

Spectrum Sting (2017-18 season 13-13, 7-3 Conference, Tie 2nd)
Spectrum is poised to sting once again this season.  Cole Elrod and Matthew Kruse averaged around 16 PPG last season and have a ton of experience.  Most of this roster returns as well. 

Trinity Tri-Hawks (2017-18 season 18-10, 7-3 Conference, 2nd)
4 starters have to be replaced from a balanced lineup.  Senior Ben Maslow is the lone starter back with 9.2 PPG.  Michael Ennis returns to the rotation as well with 4.9 PPG.  Junior Sam Masek is another option at a guard spot.

West Lutheran Warriors (2017-18 season 13-15, 1-9 Conference, 10th)
Senior Brett Volrath leads the way with 13.4 PPG.  Junior Troy Kokkinen should reach double figures in scoring this year as well.  Junior Keshawn Johnson also returns to the rotation.

Predicted Order of Finish

Skyline Division
  1. Maranatha  
  2. St. Croix Prep
  3. Trinity
  4. New Life
  5. Legacy
New Wave Division
  1. Spectrum
  2. Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity
  3. West Lutheran
  4. Heritage
  5. PACT
Conference Overview
Sadly its the end of the MCAA as we know it.  Southwest Christian has left for the Minnesota River Conference.  Maranatha, New Life, St. Croix Prep and Trinity leave next year for the new Skyline Conference.  The schedule breaks the teams into a 13 game schedule via 2 divisions which I randomly named above.  Notable that all the teams leaving are placed together.  But since that doesn't really reflect the strength, I'll evaluate everybody together here.  Its only fitting that the league's traditional heavyweight Maranatha is once again the runaway favorite.  Then there's a clear group of 3 behind them. I love St. Croix Prep's guard play.  But don't discount that spot from Spectrum or LP/HT either.  Elrod and Ziermann respectively will be big factors in the league.  Then a big dropoff to the rest of the league due to heavy losses.  Trinity and New Life are traditionally solid enough to keep them in the middle.  Legacy does have plenty coming back so with the rest dropping back, I can see them being a surprise.  The bottom 3 are a toss up.  Heritage has to take a hit with 2 major years of losses. 

Conference MVP: Michael Ziermann - LP/HT

Underclassmen to watch: 
  • Harley Kendall, Trenton Harrison- Legacy Christian
  • Zach Jackson, Tanner Scheevel - LP/HT 
  • Chase Carter - Maranatha
  • Jordan Stone - PACT
  • Addison Metcalf, Andrew Howard - St. Croix Prep 
  • Sam Bjorlin - West Lutheran
Conference Games to Watch
  • Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity at Spectrum - Jan 3rd
  • Spectrum at Maranatha - Jan 11th
  • St. Croix Prep at Maranatha - Jan 15th
  • St. Croix Prep at Spectrum - Jan 22nd
  • Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity at St. Croix Prep - Jan 25th
  • Maranatha at Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity - Jan 29th
  • Maranatha at St. Croix Prep - Jan 31st
  • Spectrum at Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity - Feb 12th
  • MCAA Tournament Championship - Feb 23rd
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • St. Paul Johnson at St. Croix Prep - Dec 8th
  • Maranatha at Cristo Rey - Dec 18th
  • Hudson at St. Croix Prep - Feb 19th
  • Maranatha at Minnetonka - Feb 2nd
  • Maranatha at Edina - Feb 22nd
  • Maranatha at Minnehaha - Feb 28th

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