On every good team is a good role player who knows his job and does it well. Those guys might not be the most talented players or flashiest guys, but they get the job done and are a critIcal part to their team’s success. They’re glue guys, and some of the most important parts of their teams.
Below is a look at the 2017-2018 Herald Journal All-Area Boys Basketball Second Team.
BRANDEN CARLSON (MAYER LUTHERAN)
If you’re looking for the player who made things go for the Crusaders this season, look no further than their point guard. Although Carlson may have not scored in bunches this season, his ability to run the offense and get his teammates involved was critical for their success.
Carlson averaged 7.9 points per game this season, while also dishing out 4.2 assists a contest. When looking for his shot, Carlson was more than able to knock it down from deep. He shot 37 percent from behind the arc this season. He was an All-Conference Second Team Award winner this season for Mayer Lutheran.
“Branden was our floor general that controlled both ends of the court for us,” Mayer Lutheran coach Pat Buchanan said. “Branden improved in his ability to lead the team and control the tempo of the game.”
TYLER SCHEEVEL (LP/HT)
When you’re a member of the opposing team and playing the Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Bulldogs, you better hope that Tyler Scheevel isn’t guarding you. Scheevel, another talented junior on the Bulldogs, is one of the top defenders in the area, and has built a reputation as a gritty player on the defensive end.
Scheevel often guards the opposing team’s best player. In LP/HT’s win against Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart this year, Scheevel showed just what he could do on defense. After BLHS’ Trent Weispfenning went off in the first half agains the Bulldogs, Scheevel shut him down in the second half. Weispfenning was held scoreless in the second half as the Bulldogs rallied for a big win on the road.
Scheevel can also do it on the offensive end. He became a much better shooter from the outside this season, and could score in bunches if the Bulldogs needed. He might not have shot the most, but Scheevel led the team in field goal percentage (43 percent), and steals per game (1.5).
“Tyler Scheevel once again let the area know that when its time to lock down defenders, he’s the guy to call on,” LP/HT coach Nat Boyer said. “Recognized for the past two seasons as one of the best off-ball defenders in the MCAA Conference and area, Tyler set the standard for defensive excellence for the Bulldogs. This is our guy. If you ask anyone in our program who you would choose to play defense on your team, the first name is always Tyler. He locks in on whomever his assignment is and can disrupt their game like few players I have ever seen.”
DYLAN RUZICKA (LP/HT)
There’s not a player in the area who had more of a breakout season than LP/HT’s Dylan Ruzicka. This season, Ruzicka became one of the team’s top shooters from deep, while pouring it on at times for the Bulldogs.
Ruzicka knocked down 49 3-pointers this season, including having two games with six 3-pointers. He got hot at the right time for the Bulldogs, helping the them win six of their last nine games to close out the regular season.
“Dylan Ruzicka showed his importance and value as an asset coming of the bench for the Bulldogs as a 3-point specialist,” Boyer said. “Many times, Dylan was counted on to come into games and stretch out the defense with his outside shooting. Dylan came in and set the standard for us, as far as being a long-range threat. When he got his feet set and his teammates found him, Dylan was our long range specialist.”
BRAXTON WILLIAMS (WATERTOWN-MAYER)
If there’s ever a team player that you want on your team, Braxton Williams is that guy. The senior simply did it all for the Royals this season. Whether it was making clutch plays in close games, being a leader, or defending some of the toughest players, Williams was up to the challenge.
He averaged 8.4 points per game this season for the Royals. Although the win total might not be impressive this season, Williams never let things bother him and was a true leader, according to his coach.
“(He’s a) tremendous leader,” Watertown-Mayer coach Kent Janikula said. “(He) expanded his game so much this year, and made clutch plays in our wins. (He’s a) high level defender who often had to defend other teams’ best player, whether it was Noennig or smaller guards.”
BROCK BANGASSER (HLWW)
Every team needs a big man to produce in the paint, and that man was Brock Bangasser for the Lakers this season. Bangasser vastly improved his footwork from a season ago, and was one of the most improved players in the area this season. Just a junior, Bangasser will be looking to develop even more heading into his final season at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted.
On the season, Bangasser averaged 12.9 points per game, and 7.9 rebounds per game. A double-double wasn’t out of the norm for Bangasser this season, as he did it on both ends of the floor. He was second in the conference in blocks, and shot 51 percent from the field this season.
“Brock did a really nice job for us this year,” HLWW coach James Carr said. “His ability on defense to protect the rim was a big factor in making us a very good defensive team. He does a really nice job contesting everything that comes near the rim. Offensively, he is really tough to stop on the block. When he found a rhythm in a game, he showed a litany of post moves and footwork that make post play such a fun thing to watch.”