3 unanimous selections for Class A boys all-state team
FARGO — Three unanimous selections — Tanner Kretchman of Fargo Davies, Ben Weisbeck of Bismarck St. Mary’s and Tyler Rudolph of Bismarck Century — lead this season’s North Dakota Class A all-state boys basketball first team.
The team, selected by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, also includes Patrick Strom of Fargo Shanley, Tyler Schafer of Bismarck, and Chad Bartosh of Grand Forks Red River.
All members of the all-state team are seniors.
Kretchman, a Minnesota State Moorhead basketball signee, averaged 29.9 points per game, 4.8 assists per game and shot 53 percent from the field, helping the Eagles to a 23-2 record and a Class A state championship.
Following the Eagles’ 62-55 win over Bismarck St. Mary’s in the title game, Kretchman received the state’s Mr. Basketball award.
“I’m always wowed by him,” Davies head coach Bart Manson said. “He’s just an amazing player. I’ve watched him play three years and the things he could do and things he’s still doing, to me that’s what’s been amazing about his career.”
Kretchman, who made the first team as a junior, was the Class A and East Region senior athlete of the year.
Rudolph, a 6-6 guard, averaged 18 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for the Patriots while shooting 55 percent from the field.
Rudolph was the West Region’s senior athlete of the year and is signed to play basketball at Minot State University.
“The biggest thing that stands out with Tyler is efficiency as a player,” Century head coach Darin Mattern said. “Tyler was putting up tremendous numbers on around 12 shots a game. ... The most important thing to him was team success. He never worried about individual numbers. Tyler always put himself in position to get a rebound. He has a tremendous knack of reading the basketball off the rim. That’s something you don’t teach.”
Weisbeck, a 6-1 guard, averaged 21.5 points and 7 rebounds per game for Class A runner-up St. Mary’s, which finished the season 20-5.
Weisbeck, signed to play basketball at Augustana College (S.D.), shot 45 percent from the field and, like Kretchman, made the first team as a junior.
“Ben was our leading rebounder, and (defensively) we had him guard anywhere from 1 to 5 on the court,” St. Mary’s head coach Brent DeKok. “He handled every one of those opportunities well. ... On the offense he did the same thing. There were games where he’d start at post and 8 minutes later he’d be handling the ball and playing point guard for us.”
Schafer, a 6-1 forward bound for Southwest Minnesota State, averaged 21 points and 4.2 rebounds per game for the Demons and shot 48 percent from the field.
“Leadership is one of the main attributes Taylor brought to the team, and he was a relentless worker,” Bismarck head coach Steve Miller said. “That is one of the reasons he can shoot the basketball as well as he can. He’s a really good defensive rebounder, and he can make tough shots. He’d be guarded by two people and still find a way to make shots.”
Strom, a 6-2 guard headed to play at St. John’s University (Minn.), averaged 25.7 points per game for the Deacons and shot 39 percent from 3-point range (80 for 204).
“Patrick had to walk a fine line on the team this year,” Shanley head coach Shane Alderman said. “He had to be the go-to scorer like everyone expected him to be, and at the same time not look like a selfish player. Patrick helped our team in many ways. He carried the load when he had to, and also valued the importance of team play.”
The 6-2 Bartosh averaged 22.8 points, the highest any player has achieved in Jason Gregory’s seven seasons as Red River’s coach. Bartosh had seven games of 30 or more points, with a high of 33, and four other games in which he surpassed 25 points. Bartosh was third in the EDC in scoring and led the conference with 9 rebounds per game.
“Rebounding is just working hard. And that was what Chad did,” Gregory said. “He was at his best (offensively) in the open court or when he was penetrating. He handled the ball well and jumped well. It was amazing at times the way he found ways to finish.”
Second-team selections are:
- Darius Sparks, Bismarck St. Mary’s: The 6-1 guard averaged 18 points and 4 rebounds per game for the Saints while shooting 51 percent from the field.
- Colton Lloyd, Fargo South: The 5-10 guard averaged 18.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 3.4 apg for the Bruins.
- Travis Schock, West Fargo: The 6-3 forward averaged 20.9 ppg and 4.4 rpg for the Packers.
- Andrew Kozlowski, Fargo Davies: The 6-2 guard averaged 19.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg, and 4.1 apg for the Eagles.
- Jayden Ferguson, Williston: The 6-5 center averaged 23.3 points and 7 rebounds per game. The Coyotes’ standout also shot 50 percent from the field.