Timberwolves Shootout Schedule
11:00 AM St. Thomas More (SD) vs. Benilde St. Margaret's
12:30 PM Rice Lake (WI) vs. Duluth East
2:00 PM Pelican Rapids vs. Minnetonka
3:30 PM Cedar Falls (IA) vs. Prior Lake
5:00 PM Sioux City East (IA) vs. Hopkins
6:30 PM Onalaska (WI) vs. Apple Valley
St. Thomas More has won the South Dakota Class A title three times in the past six years (2006, 2007 and 2011) and was runner-up in 2010. The Cavaliers, who finished 25-1 last season, return two starters, led by guard Skye Warwick. He scored 29 points in their recent 63-57 overtime win over Aberdeen Roncalli. Warwick signed with Northern State this fall. Six-foot-6 big man K.J. Rech is a good scorer.
Benilde St. Margaret's is ranked No. 1 in Class AAA. The Red Knights are led by three Division I signees, who are combining for more than 50 points per game. Isaiah Zierden, who is headed to Creighton, is one of the state’s top outside shooters. He is averaging a team-best 19.1 points per game. Sanjay Lumpkin, who signed with
Northwestern, adds 18.9 points and Will Dunn, an strong outside threat who will play at IPFW, is scoring at a 12.6 points per game clip. Athletic guard Isaiah Gray has given the Red Knights another scoring option as he averages 12.4 points per game. Benilde St. Margaret's was upset in the section finals last season and seem to be using that as a motivating factor to a strong start, including knocking off Class 4A champ Hopkins and runner-up Eden Prairie this season.
Rice Lake is currently No. 2 in Wisconsin’s Division 2 rankings. The Warriors return four starters, including Minnesota signee Wally Ellenson. He is averaging 18.6 points per game and is an excellent athlete who has high-jumped 6-foot-11. His brothers joins him in the starting five. Junior forward Ellwood Ellenson is averaging 7.6 points and Henry Ellenson, a freshman, adds 12.3 points. Henry is averaging 17.3 points in his last three games. Alex Cuskey, a 6-foot-4 forward, was a first team All-conference selection last year and averages 14.2 points per game. He is a four-year varsity player. Senior point guard Joe Shervey had a team-high 59 assists last season.
Duluth East is a high scoring team that has had to play without their top player, senior Johnny Woodward, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury. Point guard Taylor Stafford showed that he can put the ball in the basket when he scored a tournament record 114 points in three games at the Best Buy Holiday Classic. He set the single-game mark with 39 points in the Best Buy opening game and then broke the record with 40 points in the second contest. Stafford is averaging 30.5 points per game this season. Six-foot junior guards Shaq Coleman and Reid Ladd are adding 16.1 and 11.9 points per game, respectively for the Greyhounds. Center Akolda Manyang is expected to be eligible this month, but his status for the Timberwolves Shootout is up-in-the-air. The Greyhounds’ record is a bit deceiving as five of their losses were to top five ranked teams.
Pelican Rapids won the 2009 Class 2A state title on the Target Center floor with a perfect 33-0 mark. The Vikings finished 23-5 last season and are ranked second in the state this year. They are led by seniors Luke Halbakken and Casey Bruggeman, who are averaging 18.4 and 17.2 points per game, respectively. The Vikings have good size with four players 6-foot-5 or taller.
Minnetonka is arguably the state’s most improved team this season. The Skippers were just 4-23 last year and lost their last 15 games of the season, but added three transfers, including two starters. They finished in fifth in the recent Best Buy Holiday Classic. Minnetonka lost the opening game of the tournament, but won their final two games by a combined 49 points. The Skippers are getting excellent scoring balance with four players averaging double figures. Senior guard Tommy McDermott has scored in double figures in all six games that he has played in and is averaging a team-best 16.2 points per game. Junior Riley Dearring, who played at Minneapolis DeLaSalle last season, is scoring 16.1 points per contest. Patrick Henry transfer Latrell Love has scored in double figures in eight of ten games and add 15.9 points and senior Joe Risinger add 11.9 points.
Cedar Falls returns eight letter winners from a team that won the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division. The Tigers are led by outstanding athlete James Harrington. He was named All-State as a wide receiver, averaged 20 points per game as a junior and won four state titles, including individual wins in the 100 and 200 meter dash (Class 4A record 21.16 seconds) and anchored the Cedar Falls 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relays to victories. Harrington, who is averaging 22.8 points per game, signed with Alabama to run track. The Tigers also return double figure scorers Caleb Konieczny, who is contributing 15.0 points per game and Isaac Boettger, who is scoring 9.5 points this season.
Prior Lake are a young team that has made strong strides from a 6-21 season last year. Sophomore point guard Jon Sobaski is one of the top playmakers in the state. He is averaging 17.1 points per center. Seven-foot junior center Carson Shanks has already committed to Utah State. He is averaging 10.1 points per contest for the Lakers. Senior forward Jack Harrison has a scholarship offer from Division II Bemidji State.
Sioux City East is led by Iowa signee Adam Woodbury, who picked the Hawkeyes over North Carolina. The 7-foot-1 center led the Black Raiders to the Iowa State Tournament last season after averaging 18.5 points and 12.4 rebounds per game. He is contributing 17.4 points and 11.0 rebounds this year. J.C. Fuller, a 6-foot-3 senior point guard is an experienced playmaker and scorer. He is averaging 16.8 points per game. Alex Imming, who was the team’s second leading scorer last year, is an outstanding quarterback who is drawing football recruiting looks. He adds 11.8 points per game. Dillon Godfrey, a 6-8, 250-pound forward, is a physical inside player.
Hopkins won its second straight Best Buy Holiday Classic this past week as they defeated their opponents by an average of 28.7 points in the three games. The Royals have won three straight Class 4A titles and is going for an unprecedented fourth crown. They have had to replace
nearly 40 points per game with the graduation losses of Mr. Basketball Joe Coleman, who is at Minnesota and Northern Iowa freshman Marvin Singleton this season. However, they still have plenty of offensive firepower. Senior Zach Stahl was named the Best Buy Holiday Classic MVP after scoring 22.7 points per game. He is averaging 21.8 points after missing the first six games of the season. Senior shooter Demitrius Martin has more than doubled his scoring from last season as he is
contributing 15.0 points per game. Point guard Siyani Chambers, who is headed to Harvard, is adding 14.8 points. Andre McDonald, who is the state’s top wide receiver, has shown off his skills on the hardwood by
averaging 10.0 points. The Vanderbilt commit is an outstanding athlete and leaper. Nicholas Jorgenson, who is a good outside threat, adds 10.7 points per game. The Royals have plenty of talent off the bench in sophomores
Jacob Wright and Stephon Sharpe and junior Jamal Davis.
Onalaska is currently ranked No. 1 in Wisconsin’s Division 2 (the second biggest). The Hilltoppers are led by 6-foot-4 shooting guards Matt Thomas, who is one of the top juniors in the state of Wisconsin. Thomas, who is drawing scholarship offers from most of the top Midwest schools, including Minnesota, is averaging 21.4 points per game. He has scored in double figures in all seven games and has 20 or more points in five contests. Nick Arenz, a 6-foot-8 big man, signed with Wisconsin Green Bay in the fall. He suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear shortly after playing in last year’s Timberwolves Shootout. The Hilltoppers were 11-0 at the time. Arenz, who is not 100% yet, is averaging 12.4 points per game.
Apple Valley is led by standout sophomore point guard Tyus Jones, who is ranked fifth in the Class of 2014 by ESPN. He helped lead the USA 16-and-under team to the gold medal this past summer in Mexico. Jones is averaging 27.4 points per game and has three games of 30 or more points this season. He missed last year’s Timberwolves Shootout after suffering a lacerated kidney in the season opener. Junior guard Dustin Fronk is one of the state’s top outside threats and adds 18.1 points per game. Junior Harry Sonie is another shooter who is averaging 11.7 points per game.
Previews written and provided by Chris Monter of College Basketball News. Check www.collegebasketballnews.com for recaps of the Timberwolves Shootout or collegebbnews on Twitter.