Boys basketball: Lakers hoping for a big start
The Minnewaska boys basketball team hits the court confidently with eight returning letter winners ready to play in the 2017-2018 season.
"We have experience returning this season along with newcomers that potentially can solidify a competitive season for our team," head coach Phil Johnsrud said.
Last year, the Lakers finished 11-14 overall with a West Central Conference record of 3-11.
Jake Peters, an integral part of the Lakers team last season, was one of three seniors that graduated last spring. Peters is now playing soccer for Concordia.
The lineup returning has some experience and some size that bodes well for the Lakers. Some promising players coming up through the ranks include juniors Shaun Carsten towers at 6 feet, 8 inches in the post, Ryan Amundson at guard and 6-foot, 2-inch wing Jack Blevins.
Sophomores Luke Barkeim and Grant Jensen are expected to step up on the perimeter, as well.
"We have a combination of athleticism, speed, and size which we have not had for some time," Johnsrud said.
Out of the six seniors returning this year, three were starters as juniors. Garrett Jensen averages 11.1 points per game as a 6'2'' forward and has an all-conference honorable mention honor already on his record.
Coach Johnsrud said that returning All-West Central Conference starter Jackson Johnsrud is a "heady guard that can shoot and penetrate. He keeps us together."
Johnsrud averaged 12.2 points per game last season, while senior Matt Gruber is another returning starter with an average of 11 points, three rebounds and two assists per game.
Jaeger Jergenson was injured for most of last season but at 6 feet, 4 inches he has a chance to be an impact player, says coach Johnsrud. Coach Johnsrud also described returning senior Ryan Christianson as an "outstanding role player and defender."
Minnewaska is set to face strong teams like New London-Spicer, which has several returning starters. Morris finished last year 16-13, with a West Central Conference record of 7-7.
"(Morris has a) solid core of size, speed and athleticism," coach Johnsrud said.
The Jackson County Central Huskies won the Class AA, Section 3 championship last year, making it to the Class AA state tournament.
But with the mix of returning starters, size and athleticism the Lakers are optimistic for the season, coach Johnsrud said.
MINNEWASKA BOYS BASKETBALL
SENIORS - Garrett Jensen, Jackson Johnsrud, Matt Gruber, Jaeger Jergenson, Ryan Christianson, Anam Schlief
JUNIORS - Shaun Carsten, Ryan Amundson, Jack Blevins, Joe Piekarski, Jacob Juetten, Evan Palmer
SOPHOMORES - Luke Barkeim, Grant Jensen
COACHES - Head coach - Phil Johnsrud, 17th season, career record 241-195; assistant coaches - Darin Johnson, Nathan Lund, Jesse Johnson
MINNEWASKA AREA BOYS BASKETBALL
Dec. 200 p.m.
Dec. 5 vs. New London Spicer, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 830 p.m.
Dec. 14 vs. Morris Area, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 1530 p.m.
Dec. 1930 p.m.
Dec. 21 vs. Redwood Valley, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 22 vs. Benson, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 2900 p.m.
Jan. 2 vs. YME, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 430 p.m.
Jan. 630 p.m.
Jan. 930 p.m.
Jan. 15 vs. BOLD, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 16 vs. Breckenridge, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 1930 p.m.
Jan. 23 vs. Montevideo, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 26 vs. Paynesville, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 230 p.m.
Feb. 5 vs. Sauk Centre, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 915 p.m.
Feb. 1315 p.m.
Feb. 16 vs. Melrose, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 2215 p.m.
Feb. 27 vs. ACGC, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 2 Sections Begin