The Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association recently named its state and section boys basketball coaches of the year, and Alexandria’s Forrest Witt was a part of those who were honored.
Witt was named the Section 8AAA coach of the year. He took a Cardinals team that lost future University of Minnesota big man Treyton Thompson in the offseason and led them to a 20-9 record.
“Any award like this is a reflection of the players and all coaches in our program,” Witt said. “It's enjoyable to see a collective group commit to achieving success at something, and that's what we believe is happening in our basketball program right now. Excellent players and great assistant coaches have been the key ingredients.”
Alexandria went 12-4 in the Central Lakes Conference to finish second in league play to Fergus Falls (25-4, 14-2 CLC). The Cardinals then went into the Section 8AAA playoffs as the No. 3 seed and made a run all the way to the section title game.
“It's exciting to hear from kids in our program that want us coaches to open the gym, organize extra workouts, and have strong aspirations to improve,” Witt said. “It's fun to be a part of something where you have such a positive camaraderie among coaches and players.”
Alexandria beat sixth-seeded Detroit Lakes and second-seeded Bemidji through the first two rounds of the Section 8AAA playoffs. The Cardinals then fell in a heartbreaker to St. Cloud Apollo in a 72-70 final before the season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roderick named Cardinals’ MVP
Witt and his coaching staff recently honored the players responsible for a 20-win season, and junior guard Colton Roderick took home Alexandria’s MVP Award.
Roderick led Alexandria in points (551), assists (87), rebounds (187) and steals (93) this past winter. His averages came out to 19 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3.2 steals a night. He shot 54% overall, including 41% from three on 38-of-91 from behind the arch.
Roderick also keyed Alexandria’s zone-press defense that caused many teams fits on his way to earning the Cardinals’ Defensive MVP Award, as well.
Senior guard Ryan Forster and sophomore guard Kristen Hoskins shared the Most Improved Award for Alexandria.
Hoskins was Alexandria’s second-leading scorer at 14.7 points a night. He shot 52% from two (124-of-238), 37% from three (38-of-101) and 75% from the free-throw line (65-of-86). Forster provided the team a boost off the bench, knocking down 37% of the threes he took (16-of-43).
Big pieces back
Witt should have another good team to work with next season. Roderick, Hoskins and forward Erik Hedstrom form a nucleus that a lot of coaches would like to build around.
All three were All-Central Lakes Conference players last season, while senior honorable-mention All-CLC guard Carrson Jones and senior forward Ethan Patience are starters they need to replace.
“We really like our returning players for next season,” Witt said. “We bring back three guys with major experience at a high level in Colton, Kristen, and Erik. On top of that, we have 8-9 real solid guys that we believe can compete for minutes at the varsity level next year. With that said, we need to get to work this summer and get after it in our workouts. It's a hungry group that wants to get better.”