2018-19 Metro West Conference Preview

This is the 9th preview in my 2018-2019 season preview series.  Now the big schools as this week covers the mostly class AAAA leagues.  In this preview, a look at the Metro West Conference.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are done, click here.

Benilde St. Margaret's Red Knights (2017-18 season 15-13, 8-6 Conference, Tie 4th)
Coach John Moore has to replace his top 5 scorers.  Senior wing Dylan Drees  (6.3 PPG) will be a focal point of the offense with his shooting.  Juniors Walker Johnson (6.7 PPG) and swiss army knife Nick Peterson return to the rotation.  Forward Max Bilcik crosses the highway from Groves Academy.

Bloomington Jefferson Jaguars (2017-18 season 15-11, 10-4 Conference, Tie 2nd)
The Jags once again look to reload as they again lose most of the rotation.  14.2 PPG from wing Isaiah Watts leads the returnees.  The rest of the rotation will be inexperienced. 

Bloomington Kennedy Eagles (2017-18 season 4-23, 1-13 Conference, Tie 7th)
Coach Jamin Cook has to replace 2 double figure scores.  PG Markel Aune (16.8 PPG) and Isaiah Stone (11.4 PPG) graduated.  Guard Terrell Barber is the top returnee with 7.3 PPG.  Larontae Mormant (5.7 PPG) returns in the middle.  Guard Jaylen Williams also returns to the rotation.

Chanhassen Storm (2017-18 season 12-15, 6-8 Conference, 6th)
The Storm return 2 of their 3 double figure scorers from last season.  Forward Regan Tollefson (15.9 PPG) and guard Carson Hollowaty (11.9 PPG) make for a solid 1-2 punch.  Junior Luke Gitzen also provides a scoring option.  Charlie Ash is the primary option in the post.  Forward Austin Carter's 11.9 PPG and point guard Chris Wandling will be missed.

Chaska Hawks (2017-18 season 20-8, 10-4 Conference, Tie 2nd)
The Hawks look to reclaim the league throne after a 2nd place finish last year.  Northern Colorado commit Cole Nicholson leads the way with 22.2 PPG.  He's an inside and outside threat who is poised for another terrific season.  Shooter Connor Krenos (11 PPG) also returns to the lineup.  Zach Lea and soph F Spencer Goetz also return.  The length and 16.5 PPG from forward Parker Bjorklund will be missed.  Defensive star Matt Eliason also graduated.

Richfield Spartans (2017-18 season 1-26, 1-13 Conference, Tie 7th)
The Spartans will move to the Tri-Metro next season.  2 of the 3 double figure scorers need to be replaced.  That includes 18.8 PPG from wing Devin Wade-Henderson.  Ethan Quint's 13.8 PPG leads the returning group.  Soph Ryan Miles returns on a wing.  Freshman Mitchell January returns as an option to run the show.

Robbinsdale Cooper Hawks (2017-18 season 19-7, 12-2 Conference, 1st)
The Hawks will be led by their talented senior guard duo of Jalen Justice (17.6 PPG) and Jalen Miller (14 PPG).  Senior Cam Vaughn also returns to the lineup with 7.1 PPG.  They do lose all their size along with the toughness of Nate Hill and Onte Burns.  They'll be a small and quick, fast-paced, press and trapping lineup.

St. Louis Park Orioles (2017-18 season 14-14, 8-6 Conference, Tie 4th)
All 3 double figure scorers from last season have graduated.  PG Cire Mayfield, SG Joey Whitlock and F Aiden Doherty combined for almost 45 PPG last season.  Anthony Rayson (8.5 PPG) is the top returnee and he'll man the interior.  Wings Jacob Houts and Anthony Odens also return to the rotation as top offensive options.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Chaska
  2. Robbinsdale Cooper  
  3. Chanhassen
  4. Benilde-St. Margaret's
  5. Bloomington Jefferson 
  6. St. Louis Park 
  7. Bloomington Kennedy
  8. Richfield 
Conference Overview
Its an interesting year in the Metro West.  With plenty of conference realignment going on and Richfield leaving for the Tri-Metro next season don't be shocked to see changes after the season.  The league as currently setup doesn't make much sense anyway.  Chaska sticks out as the favorite to jump back to the top of the league.  Cooper's guard play will keep them near the top of the league.  Chanhassen's returning duo should allow them to battle Cooper in that 2nd tier.  Then the middle of the league has a ton to replace.  Benilde-St. Margaret's gets the nod there with 3 returnees.  Jefferson always reloads so I can't drop them too far and St. Louis Park has some pieces coming back.  Kennedy and Richfield continue rebuilding efforts.

Conference MVP: Cole Nicholson - Chaska

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Spencer Goetz, Luke Strazzanti, Brady Nicholson - Chaska
  • Michell January, Ryan Miles - Richfield
  • Paris Johnson, Will Kietzmann - St. Louis Park
Conference Games to Watch
  • Robbinsdale Cooper at Chaska - Jan 15th
  • Chanhassen at Chaska - Jan 22nd
  • Robbinsdale Cooper at Chanhassen - Jan 25th
  • Chaska at Robbinsdale Cooper - Feb 12th
  • Chaska at Chanhassen - Feb 19th
  • Chanhassen at Robbinsdale Cooper - Feb 22nd
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Prior Lake at Chaska - Dec 6th
  • Lakeville North at Chaska - Dec 13th
  • Wayzata at Chaska - Dec 21st
  • Chaska at Eden Prairie - Dec 27th

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