What a wild, crazy and unpredictable boys basketball season it turned out to be.
We witnessed the Rugby Panthers fall a game short of running the table. We saw North Star punch its ticket to the state tournament with a buzzer-beater to beat Four Winds-Minnewaukan in double-overtime in the Region 4 championship. We watched as an unrecognizable Beulah team came together as the season transpired and advanced to state out of a difficult Region 7.
There were plenty of other notable moments that we won't soon forget. That's why this year, perhaps more than any other, was incredibly difficult to narrow down 15 individuals in The Minot Daily News' annual all-area boys basketball team.
MIKE SANTJER, Rugby
Class B state runner-up, 27-1
Class B coach of the year
Sr., 6-4, forward, Class B first-team all state,
Region 6 outstanding senior athlete,
Mr. Basketball finalist, 22.4 ppg, 10 rpg
It may not have been the way Rugby coach Mike Santjer wanted to see his season end - an overtime loss to Oak Grove in the Class B state title game - but it was an impressive one nonetheless. Santjer guided the Panthers to a 27-1 record, District 11 and Region 6 titles and was named Class B coach of the year. Therefore, Santjer is The Minot Daily News' coach of the year.
The player of the year honor goes to Des Lacs-Burlington senior forward Tanner Holte. The 6-foot-4 first-team all-stater averaged 22.4 points per game and 10 rebounds per game. Holte received a number of honors during the season. He was a Mr. Basketball finalist, the Region 6 outstanding senior athlete and was named all-region and all-district. Perhaps his most memorable performance was scoring 40 points on 16-of-20 shooting in a win over Our Redeemer's Christian School in the region semifinals. He will play football for Minot State in the fall.
Joining Holte on the first team are Rugby's Brad Heidlebaugh, FW-M's Trayvon McKay, Westhope-Newburg's Hunter Braaten and North Star's Christian Kvilvang. Heidlebaugh and McKay were first-team all-state selections while Braaten and Kvilvang were named to the second team. Heidlebaugh averaged a double-double with 23.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game.
Two other members of the all-state second team, Hazen's Austin Cieslak and North Star's Alex Weston, were part of The Minot Daily's second team as well. Cieslak eclipsed the 1,000-point mark, finishing his career with 1,009. He averaged 16.9 points and 11.9 rebounds per game, leading the Bison to the Region 7 title game. Weston scored 18.1 points per game, with his biggest baskets coming against FW-M in the Region 4 championship. Weston drilled a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime and won the game on a last-second trey in double overtime.
Rounding out the second team are Powers Lake's Levi Hoiby, Berthold's Austin Lee and Minot High's Dakota Halvorson.
Our Redeemer's junior Davis Koppinger leads the honorable mentions as the Knights set a program record for wins in a season (19) for the second straight year. They defeated TGU for their first region-tournament victory in program history. Koppinger scored 16.5 points and grabbed 9.1 rebounds per game.
Staying in the district, Bishop Ryan's Brody Bosch led his team in scoring with 24.8 points per game and was named to the all-region team under first-year coach Brock Teets. Drake-Anamoose's Tanner Volson, New Town's Wayne Fox and Minot's Colter Hustad cap off the list.
Staff writer Mike Kraft and sports editor Ryan Holmgren selected The Minot Daily News' all-area team. The girls all-area team will be
published on Tuesday.