Prep basketball stars set to shine
EISEN: Compiling a regional watch list of high school basketball players
The high school basketball season is now in full swing. It’s the time of year when our sports email inbox is bombarded with box scores nearly every night and it’s impossible to catch all the action.
So, to help pinpoint possible games of interest, I’ve put together a shortlist of the most interesting high basketball players to watch in the region. Note to scouts and want-to-be scouts: This isn’t necessarily a list of the best players, but rather the most compelling to watch.
Boys watch list
The three-time defending state champions have a whole cast of players to pick from, and the Magicians diverse scoring certainly makes it hard to choose. But, Albertson sticks out because of the role he plays.
Since the Magi graduated 2017 Mr. Basketball finalist KyJuan Johnson, they don’t really have a true point guard. Alex Schimke, Peyton Lamoureux and Albertson offer a unique rotating of the guards approach with Albertson being more of a slasher and scorer than a distributor.
Minot’s high-powered offense runs efficiently when Albertson is moving, so he is a rather energetic player to keep tabs on.
Wyatt Hanson, Stanley
Hanson is a highlight reel with the talent to put anybody on a poster. The Minnesota State University Moorhead commit is known for his dynamic dunks and athletic ability as a 6-foot-5 forward.
The star power of No. 1-ranked Stanley earned All-State honors last season as a junior and helped the Blue Jays make the state tournament.
On any given night, Hanson can drop 20 points with ease.
Trent Marquart, Glenburn
Tabbed as an early favorite to be the Region 6 Senior Athlete of the Year, Marquart can do it all. The senior 5-foot-9 guard has the toughness to get to the rim and the intelligence to be a commanding floor general.
Marquart posted a stat line of 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in the Panthers season opener against Westhope/Newburg on Dec. 8.
He is also a Minnesota State-Moorhead commit, but for football.
After missing a majority of last season due to injury, Vetter returns as the main man in the post for No. 4-ranked Bishop Ryan. The 6-foot-4 senior forward has the size to battle down low, but also has a fluent mid-range game and 3-pointer stroke.
His scoring touch helps the Lions spread the floor effectively. Plus, Ryan also has centers – former football linemen – Christopher Sowitch and Jacob Lizotte to take away some of the burden of Vetter’s dirty work in the paint.
The rotation of the post players, especially with Vetter coming back from an injury, will be interesting to watch unfold.
The DLB Lakers could use a new go-to scorer after the graduation of All-State sharpshooter Drew Pearson.
Knudson could very well be that guy. The 6-foot senior guard has speed to burn and can knock down shots.
With a group of talented seniors around him, the Lakers don’t look at Knudson as much as they did Pearson. But, having multiple scorers, helps take some of the pressure off Knudson. He thrives at making the most of his opportunities, whether that’s on the court, at wide receiver on the football field or sprinting on the track.
Honorable mentions: Peyton Lamoureux (Minot High), Ben Bohl (Bishop Ryan), Isaac Undlin (Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood), Ethan Schepp (Velva) and Jayden Wetzel (ORCS).
Girls watch list
The Majettes are at their best when head coach Bernie Wasser isn’t pacing along the sidelines telling his bench to keep feeding the ball into the post. When that’s the case, the MHS offense has usually gone stagnant and are relying on too many contested jump shots.
Tschetter, a 6-foot-1 senior forward, provides the spark to an effective Majettes’ offense. She is also tasked with guarding some of the best, tallest players in the state. While she doesn’t really have outrageous height herself, Tschetter does have some sneaky quickness that catches other post players off guard.
If MHS wants to win more than two games this season, then getting Tschetter involved early and often will be the key.
The defending Region 6 champion Knights are without 2017 Miss Basketball finalist Morgan Olson (graduation). Stepping in admirably has been scrappy 5-foot-6 senior guard Winger.
Winger doesn’t look like a dangerous scoring threat on appearance alone, much like Olson, but she can sink 3-pointers and heat up in a hurry. Winger is a perfect example that the size and stature of a player doesn’t dictate their talent.
She is also a proven winner by playing an integral part in the Knights’ improbable postseason run last season and helped the ORCS volleyball team reach the state tournament four years in a row.
Kaitlynn Hove, Trenton
Hove made headlines last season as a freshman when she posted a quadruple-double in a game and then did it again in the season opener this year.
The 5-foot-7 guard is currently at the helm of an undefeated Trenton (4-0) squad. It’s a team that has no juniors or seniors listed on the roster. Therefore, Hove has the reins and must lead by example every time she steps out on the court. How she goes about it – scoring, assisting, rebounding or getting steals – is the fascinating part.
Madison Uhlenkamp, Rugby
Following the departure of Bishop Ryan’s Annika Stewart (moved) and graduation of Watford City’s MacKenzie Sparby and teammate Breanna Thompson, senior Uhlenkamp has the potential to be the best Class B center in the region this season.
Like the three players mentioned above, she was named to the All-Region team with them last season.
Uhlenkamp is a consistent scoring threat on offense and an imposing defender with her vast wingspan. On Tuesday, Uhlenkamp had eight points, eight rebounds and three steals against Harvey/Wells County. She scored 15 points in a 49-46 loss to Ryan on Dec. 8.
Harmon can take over a game, both offensively and defensively, when she gets into attack mode.
While the physical senior guard has seen her offensive input expand with the loss of Stewart, it’s often her tenacious defense that sparks her offense. And, once Harmon gets going, she is very tough to contain and slow down.
After two consecutive losses by Ryan to start the season, the Lions have recovered with back-to-back wins. Harmon led the way in scoring both nights with 22 points against Rugby and then dropped 37 points the following night against Westhope/Newburg in a 64-17 win.
Honorable mentions: Greta Florence (Velva), Caitlyn Vogel (Des Lac-Burlington), Abby Simons (Lewis & Clark-Berthold), Sealy Rovig (Bishop Ryan) and Hunter Fuchs (Surrey).
This is the opinion of Alex Eisen. He covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.