YOUTH MOVEMENTHanstad among three underclassmen named first-team all-state
The future appears bright for North Dakota Class A boys basketball. For the first time this decade, more underclassmen than seniors have been named to the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association all-state first team.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
The future appears bright for North Dakota Class A boys basketball.
For the first time this decade, more underclassmen than seniors have been named to the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association all-state first team.
The first team for the 2008-09 season is anchored by seniors and unanimous selections Brent Qvale of Williston and Bryant Friskop of Wahpeton. It also includes Mandan junior Bryan Kielpinski, Grand Forks Red River junior Luke Schreiner and Dickinson sophomore Joe Hanstad, also a unanimous selection.
“It’s going to be a fun couple years to watch,” said Jason Horner, head coach of the state champion Mandan Braves. “Not fun to coach against, but fun to watch as a fan.”
Nonetheless, big names — and two of the state’s biggest bodies — will be absent next season.
Qvale, a 6-foot-7 center led the Coyotes with 20.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a game while shooting 60 percent from the field.
He was the Class A senior athlete of the year while also earning a Mr. Basketball nomination. Last fall, he was named Class AAA football’s senior athlete of the year.
Qvale signed a football scholarship with the University of Nebraska last summer.
“I think that the qualities that make him a great football player are also the qualities that make him a great basketball player,” Williston coach Mark Slotsve said. “He’s got great feet and he’s got great hands.”
Friskop, a 6-4 forward, was an inside-outside threat for the Huskies, who won the East Region tournament championship.
The Eastern Dakota Conference senior athlete of the year averaged team highs of 20.2 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. Friskop chipped in 3.1 assists a game while shooting 78 percent from the free-throw line and made 53 3-pointers.
“In our biggest games, when Bryant really played his best was when he maybe hit one 3 and he went inside,” Wahpeton coach Jeff Ralph said. “He could get fouled inside and just caused so many problems for other teams just because of matchup problems.”
While Qvale and Friskop are off to college, the three underclassmen on the first team are proof that the state’s biggest basketball class isn’t short on upcoming talent.
Hanstad, a 6-4 guard, averaged a state-best 26.8 points per game while leading the Midgets with 7.1 rebounds a game and dishing out 3.9 assists a night.
“I still find myself being kind of amazed with how productive he was for the entire season,” Wilson said of the sophomore who is receiving attention from NCAA Division I schools.
Hanstad had numerous 30-point games and broke the 40-point barrier twice, achieving a season-high 42 points while surpassing the 1,000-career-points milestone in Dickinson’s victory over Bismarck High in the third-place game of the state tournament.
However, Wilson said the most important part of Hanstad’s game may be his defense.
“You always need a guy who’s going to be a go-to guy and a guy who can score,” Wilson said. “What made him more of an asset to us was his ability to take on most teams’ best defender. … He was definitely a guy who drew every opponent’s best perimeter player.”
Kielpinski, a 6-7 center, was one of three players from the state champion Braves selected to the all-state team.
The state tournament’s most valuable player averaged team highs of 17 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a game while leading the Braves to a 25-1 record and their first state title since 1981. Kielpinski led the West Region in shooting percentage, shooting 68 percent for the season.
“His presence in there is very intimidating,” Horner said. “… I think he finally realized about halfway through the year, when he asserts himself what he means to the team. When he did that, we just took off.”
Schreiner, a 5-11 guard, led the East Region in scoring with 21.5 points per game while adding 4.5 assists, 3.2 steals and 3 rebounds a game. He shot 43 percent from 3-point range and 75 percent at the free-throw line.
Red River coach Jason Gregory said Schreiner’s ability to score while drawing defenders helped his teammates develop offensively, which led to opponents revamping their strategy when facing the Roughriders, who finished second at the East Region tournament and took sixth at the state tournament.
“We fed off him quite a bit,” Gregory said. “The thing that really helped him was, as the year went on, Luke’s looks actually got a bit easier because the other players started getting a little more attention.”
Schreiner is the centerpiece of a team that loses just one starter and Gregory said the players are already counting the days until next season.
“Our team is pretty excited coming into next year,” Gregory said.
The second team includes:
- Andrew Crosby, Minot High: The 6-3 senior forward averaged 17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field.
- Jordan Maurer, Mandan: The 6-1 senior forward averaged 13 points, 8 rebounds and 3.3 assists a game while shooting 53 percent from the field for the state champions.
- Jason Moch, West Fargo: The 6-4 senior forward averaged 17.3 points and 6.4 rebounds a game while helping the Packers to a runner-up finish at the state tournament.
- Nik Savageau, Fargo North: The 5-11 junior guard averaged 17 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3 steals a game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 76 percent from the free-throw line. He was the leading scorer the Spartans, who took fifth place at the state tournament.
- Jordan Thilmony, Mandan: The 6-foot senior guard averaged 14 points, 47 rebounds and 3.1 assists a game while making 46 3-pointers.