There are no clear-cut favorites in Boys Class A, but there are several clear-cut stars. It’s going to take an epic effort to win this class. I think there are 6-8 teams that have the talent to do it, here’s an outlook for Boys Class A.
1. Dakota Valley
Last Season: 18-5
Returning Starters: 3
- Paul Bruns Sr. 29.0 PPG, 12.7 RPG
- Isaac Bruns So. 16.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG
- Chayce Montagne Sr. 7.7 PPG, 5.7 APG
The Panthers only lose two seniors from last season’s 18-5 team and they have the best player in the class, University of North Dakota commit, Paul Bruns back. Just as importantly they have the top assist man in the class Chayce Montagne set to run the offense again. Don’t look now, but there are some very talented underclassmen like Randy Rosenquist who are ready to show up on the varsity box score this season.
2. SF Christian
Last Season: 17-5
Returning Starters: 3
- Tyler Prins, 12 PPG
- Noah VanDonkersgoed 12 PPG
- Xavier Van Beek 12 PPG
Once again Sioux Falls Christian should figure into the title race in Class A. They bring back three double-digit scorers in Tyler Prins, Noah Van Donkersgoed and Xavier Van Beek. Head Coach Mike Schouten believes they could be competitive against a very difficult schedule. Look for Nathan Koole, Brooks Nelson and Jaden Witte to add to the team’s talent this year.
3. Tea Area
Last Season: 15-7
Returning Starters: 5
- Cael Lundin Jr. 6’2 15.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG
- Garrett Kolbeck Sr. 5’10 13.8 PPG
- Caden Ellingson Sr. 6’7 6.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG
- Jeff Worth Jr. 5’10 6.5 PPG
- Austin Lake Sr. 6’1 4.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG
This is a deep and balanced team with some of the best speed and athleticism in the class. Cael Lundin (15.6 PPG) and Garrett Kolbeck (13.8) pace the offense, but they have seven of their top eight back from last year and anyone could have a big night offensively. Overall, they aren’t a very tall team, but they do have 6’9” Caden Ellingson on the block.
4. Dell Rapids
Last Season: 18-4
Returning Starters: 2
- Colin Rentz Sr. 14 PPG, 4.4 APG, 4.4 RPG
- Connor Rentz Sr. 8.0 PPG, 2.4 RPG
Head Coach Jason Fersdahl has gotten Dell Rapids to the state tournament the last two seasons and has a good shot again, “We hope to remain healthy and show improvement all season long,” said Fersdahl. They have nine letter winners back with a lot of athleticism. Coby Maeschen, Carter Nelson and Landon Ruesink will be a solid group with Colin and Connor Rentz leading the way.
5. Sioux Valley
Last Season: 21-1
Returning Starters: 4 with starting experience
- Kelton Vincent Sr. 6’0
- Parker Puetz Jr. 6’4
- Oliver Vincent 6’2 So.
- Hayden Ruesink 6’5 Jr.
The Cossacks lost three college players off last year’s team but have enough firepower to make another deep run. Coach Bill Vincent believes he has the tools on defense to make some noise, “This has the potential to be one of the best defensive teams we have had.” Kelton Vincent was the Class A defensive player of the year last year, Parker Puetz was their leading rebounder, Hayden Ruesink is their big man in the middle and Jaxton Schiller is athletic as they come. Sioux Valley plays one of the toughest schedules in the class and should be able to compete all season.
The Tanagers went 17-6 last year with a lot of close losses. They only graduated two seniors last spring so this year they could take that next step with Jakob Dobney and Dillon Gestring leading the way. Their team defense is outstanding.
St. Thomas More
It might be a mistake to underestimate St. Thomas More. They lost an outstanding senior class last year so the names will be new, but the defensive dominance and high level of play should remain. Ryan Wojcik should get more offensive opportunities this season.
Last year’s 16-6 team was led by two players who are back, Beau Donovan and Jarren Big Horn. Plus, they should see a boost in production from sophomore Adriano Rama. They’ll have to get stronger on the boards to replace some production, but coach Christian McGhee always gets his players' best effort.
The Warriors are coming off a great 16-6 season, but they’ll have to replace four starters. Luckily, they can build around senior Brady Fritz who put up 27.6 PPG last year. The good news is there are a lot of good athletes coming up and head coach Brett Gardner feels good, “We are coming off a successful basketball season last year, and winning state football season this fall. We must replace 4 starters and 8 of our top 12. With that being said, we are excited about the new student-athletes stepping up and taking on bigger roles to complement Brady Fritz.”
The Trojans have four starters return and should be in good shape under head coach Jacob Sittig, “We plan to use our depth to play very fast on both ends of the floor making us fun to watch.” They have 92% of their scoring back including Kasan Abedi, Derek Eidsness and Hunter Hagerty leading the way.
The O’s have a rebuild with just one starter back in Peyton Eich. But Brandon Fodness, Jackson Arlt, Steven Christion and Porter Ihnen are ready to step in. Head coach Paul McVey is optimistic for this group, “Most of our players performed very well at the sub-varsity level and are looking to make the mark in the toughest conference and region in the state. We are looking forward to surprising some people this year and representing the great tradition of Lennox basketball.”
TJ Knudson and the Tigers have a promising group returning. Bryston Goehring is a great player who led the team in steals and assists last year and is back with two other starters and a deep roster. “We will be looking to win every game this year. With our experience, speed and defensive ability, we will be exciting to watch,” said Coach Knudson.
Head Coach Lance Friesen has a solid group of returning performers headlined by senior Cole Jurgens and juniors Davin Fuller and Carter Robertson. They’ve qualified for the Sodak 16 for three consecutive years and could make a push to the state tournament this season.
Top A Stars
Other Class A Players to Watch
- Jakob Dobney, Vermillion Sr
- Oliver Vincent, Sioux Valley So.
- Tyler Prins, SF Christian Sr.
- Noah Van Donkersgoed, SF Christian Sr.
- Spencer Fernholz, Miller So.
- Carter Bergheim, Madison Sr.
- Isaac Bruns, Dakota Valley So.
- Beau Donovan, Red Cloud Sr.
- Jarron Big Horn, Red Cloud Sr.