It was a long season for the Saints boys basketball team. The team had talented players, but the Saints only managed a 3-22 record and a 0-10 South Central Conference record.
Next year the Saints lose only two starters and players from the varsity roster of 13 players. Point guard Joe Nelson and center Sam Carlson graduate after providing Head Coach Steve Walker solid minutes and play.
If all of the players on the varsity roster come out next year, then SJA is likely to have ten seniors, one junior and a couple of other players from the C squad. Talk about a senior dominated team.
It will also be a talented senior dominated team next year. The core of the returning players next year was the heart of the team this year.
The Saints will return the top three scorers, the top two rebounders, the leader in free throws attempted, made, free throw percentage, field goal percentage, blocks, steals and assists.
Zach Brandts will return as the leader in many categories. Since breaking the 1,000 career points barrier late in the season, Brandts kept adding to his career total. He finished the season with 1152 points for his career. He’s now fourth on the career scoring list. Zach has a shot at becoming the Saints all time scoring leader next year. He would accomplish that next season if he plays in as many games as he did this year and if just has the same season average of 21.7 ppg.
Zach was also the leader in offensive rebounds, field goals attempted, made and percentage. he was also the leader in free throws attempted, made and percentage.
Walker Froehling was second in points, averaging nearly 14 a game. He was also the leader in defensive rebounds and total rebounds.
He was the team’s assist leader with 92 and by an even wider margin, he was the team’s leader in blocks with 47. Brandts and Ryan Menssen each had 10 blocks.
Menssen was the Saint’s third leading scorer averaging 11 points a game. He was also the team’s leading three point shooter where he made 34 of 109 shots for 31 percent.
All three of these returning players compliment each other and all have inside and outside games.
All of the other returning players gained experience this year and several of them played significant minutes.
Next year the team will be about as old as a high school team can get and will have a great deal of experience. The boys will be stonger, have more skills and will be bigger - taller is another issue.
Page 2 of 2 - Listed as a guard, right now Froehling is the Saints tallest returning player at 6’5”.
It would be nice if at least one of the returning players had a real good growth spurt over the next year, or if a 6’8”ish kid with skills just moved into the district.
There’s a lot coming back next season, but the Saints don’t look like they will be a much taller team next year.