MBC boys basketball race should sizzle

The Middle Border Conference is top heavy this season with teams that could end up claiming the conference championship at the end of the season.
There are already five teams that look ready to slug it out as top contenders in the MBC and others have the possibility of stepping up to that level.
Durand, Somerset, New Richmond, Baldwin-Woodville and Prescott all have shown in the early stages of the 2012-13 season that they are worthy of being considered contenders. Ellsworth, Amery and Osceola are all younger teams with new coaches. They’ll have to learn quickly to keep pace with the top squads in the conference.
Here’s a synopsis of each of the contenders.

Durand: The Panthers are fresh from winning the MBC football title and they look equally as strong in basketball. Senior Jake Weber is one of the best guards in the area. Drew Minturn and Colton Berger are big bodies who can control the paint. The Panthers are deep in talent and they can all shoot from the outside.

Somerset: Like Durand, the Spartans certainly carry some momentum from their success in football. Also like Durand, the Spartans have an excellent mix of perimeter and post talent. In the post the Spartans are led by Gaelin Elmore and Reggie Larson, who can bang bodies with the best of them. With guards Tyler Ledbeter and Jack Emmert the Spartans have guards who are skilled ball handlers and shooters.

New Richmond: The defending conference champions seem to get written off at the start of every season, only to rise to the top when the dust settles. The backbone of the Tigers’ attack is their defense, which is downright stingy. Senior Joe Deppe has developed into one of the top offensive players in the conference. How much support he has in the scoring column will likely decide the Tigers’ fate.

Baldwin-Woodville: The Blackhawks have a new head coach, with former assistant coach Duane Jourdeans taking over the program. Jourdeans has talent to work with. Logan Weyer is one of the finer shooters in the conference as a sophomore. Idris Aileru can be a shot-blocking factor when he’s on top of his game. With athletes like Derek Weyer, Matt Wlodyga and Gerad Gerrits, the Hawks can put plenty of pressure on their opponents.

Prescott: The Cards are an intriguing team. Clay Seifert is another of the young, rapidly rising scorers in the conference. Nick Jacobsen is a brute in the middle, but he also has a scoring touch. How well Prescott fills in around them will determine whether the Cards can stay in the race long-term.