The West Central Area boys basketball team wrapped up one of its best seasons in program history with a conference MVP and Coach of the Year awards from the Pheasant Conference.

Senior Jack Van Kempen earned that MVP honor as he helped lead the Knights to a perfect 12-0 conference record and the top seed in Section 6A-South. Van Kempen averaged a double-double of 13.5 points and 10 rebounds a game. He knocked down 57 threes, second on WCA's team behind senior guard Jacob Bright at 69.

Gage Staples, Grant Beuckens and Bright joined Van Kempen as all-conference players. Staples averaged 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Beuckens put up 13.3 points a night, and Bright averaged 8.3. Tate Christenson received an all-conference honorable mention honor after scoring 7.5 points-per game and leading the Knights in assists with 120 (4.0 per game).

Not only did the Knights’ entire starting lineup get conference recognition, but also head coach Kraig Hunter won the Coach of the Year Award. Hunter led WCA to a 27-3 overall record and a Section 6A-runner up finish.

Behind the Knights in the conference standings was the Brandon-Evansville Chargers. Keagan Schiele, Tanner Bitzan and Marshall Riedel received all-conference honors, while Titus Fuller was an honorable-mention selection.

Bitzan averaged a team-best 11 points per game and led the Chargers in total rebounds with 185. Riedel averaged 10.3 points-per game and Schiele added 9.7 a night. Fuller scored 9.1 points per game.

The Chargers finished with an 18-9 overall record, including a 9-3 conference finish.


1- West Central Area 12-0, 2- Brandon-Evansville 9-3, 3- Hancock 8-4, 4- Wheaton-Herman-Norcross 4-8, 5- Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 4-8, 6- Ortonville 4-1, 7- Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 1-11


ALL CONFERENCE- Jack Van Kempen- West Central Area, Gage Staples- West Central Area, Matt Thomson- Hancock, Matt Thielen- Wheaton-Herman-Norcross, Grant Beuckens- West Central Area, Thomas Zwiers- Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Keagan Schiele- Brandon-Evansville, Peter Treinen- Ortonville, Tanner Bitzan- Brandon-Evansville, Micah Foss- Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Jacob Bright- West Central Area, Daniel Milander- Hancock, Marshall Riedel- Brandon-Evansville, Preston Rohloff- Hancock; MVP- Jack Van Kempen; COACH OF THE YEAR- Kraig Hunter- West Central Area

HONORABLE MENTION - Ortonville - Zach Kuechenmeister; Brandon-Evansville - Titus Fuller; West Central Area - Tate Christenson; Wheaton-Herman-Norcross - Dylan Bainbridge, Clint Determan; Hillcrest Lutheran - Ev Gould