The best part of every single new season is watching talented athletes finally get their time to shine. Sometimes, it's easy to focus on the same electric players on each team.
You're probably going to read Will Tschetter's name in every single story about Stewartville basketball. Jake Braaten is going to come up a lot when we talk about Byron basketball.
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But there are plenty of new faces who are getting a chance to showcase what they really can do. Thanks to the awesome streaming services this year, we're able to dissect way more film than other years.
Here are four new faces who made big impacts in their 2021 season-opening games.
Hunter Lorenson, Lake City
Greg Berge knew he was going to have to rely on some talented younger players this year. But the veteran Lake City coach was quietly optimistic that they could deliver. In his varsity debut, freshman guard Hunter Lorenson more than showed up. He poured in 15 points, grabbed eight rebounds and swiped three steals in Lake City’s 71-50 victory over Pine Island. The 5-feet-10 guard showcased a terrific feel for the game on both ends. Lorenson showcased a silky-smooth floater and he was a nightmare in transition. And then when Pine Island gave him an inch of space, he splashed a 3-pointer.
Now, he didn't light the world on fire from the opening tip. Pine Island did an excellent job of taking advantage of switches to get Lorenson pinned underneath the rim. But Lorenson was a pest defensively and wasn't afraid to pressure all 94 feet. But the thing that was the most obvious was that he didn't get frustrated with himself after a couple of missed shots early in the game. Pine Island was pesky throughout most of the first half and it tied the game at 21 late in the first half. Then, Lorenson took things into his own hands. This offensive possession just shows how talented Lorenson is.
Lorenson (#1) is able to get into the lane effortlessly and this floater over 6-foot-2 forward Riley Kuehl is just so smooth.
Justin Wohlers is going to be the man this year for the Tigers, but Lorenson didn’t look like a freshman. He has a super bright future.
Easton Suess, Kasson-Mantorville
Easton Suess has some athletic bloodlines. His older sister, Mya, is a walking double-double for Kasson-Mantorville’s girls basketball team. Easton made his presence known in his first varsity game on Saturday. The freshman scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds in K-M’s 52-47 loss to Zumbrota-Mazeppa. The 6-foot-4 forward stepped up big-time after an injury sidelined KoMets star Jace Bigelow. Suess just has a nose for the basketball and is relentless on the glass.
This play really showcased Suess’s (#30) feel for the game. First, he’s matched up against Z-M senior forward Kaleb Stensland. He does a nice job of denying the entry pass to the elbow and then he switches perfectly onto Tanner Gates. You can tell that he knows the scouting report because as soon as Stensland dives to the rim, Suess anticipates the pass and uses his gangly arms to pick it off. He immediately pushes it into transition and makes a smart call not to get greedy. Instead, he’s patient and when the Z-M defense breaks down, he back cuts to the rim for an easy layup. Coaches always preach that effort on the defensive end will be rewarded. Suess’s active hands defensively led to an easy bucket on the other end.
Suess looks like he’s going to be an absolute game changer for Nick Pocius this year.
NOAH DEEDRICK, CENTURY
Century graduated a super talented senior class, but the Panthers showed in their season-opener against Owatonna that they're going to be really competitive this season. The Big Nine coaches picked Owatonna to win the conference, and Century gave them everything they could handle. Owatonna eventually escaped with a 64-59 victory, but Century senior Noah Deedrick sent a message to the rest of the conference that he's an absolute beast. The 6-6 forward gave the Huskies fits.
First, Deedrick (#30) does a terrific job of spreading the floor and drains a 3-pointer.
So, obviously, Owatonna is going to respect him as a shooter and a few possessions later, Deedrick has a great look at another 3-pointer. The Owatonna defender flies out at him, but Deedrick keeps his cool and uses a deadly head-fake and settles for a 16-foot baseline jumper. Splash. That's really pretty offense.
Deedrick finished with a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds. He made two 3-pointers.
ELI KLAVETTER, STEWARTVILLE
It's only one game, but Eli Klavetter looks like he's ready to make a major jump this season. The 6-2 junior scored 12 points and made plays all over the place in Stewartville's 81-58 victory over Kenyon-Wanamingo.
Klavetter was super active defensively which will make Stewartville coach Adam Girtman happy.
This play really stood out because Klavetter (#22) does a nice job of helping off his man and tipping the pass away. And then on the other end, he chooses wisely to pass up a contested 3-pointer and instead dishes a sweet bounce pass to Will Tschetter. And Tschetter on the block is an automatic bucket. That's a good sign of knowing your role and also knowing what your teammates excel at.
Less than a minute later, Klavetter is yet again making another impact play on both ends of the court. I love how Klavetter just refuses to be boxed out. He slips around the Kenyon-Wanamingo contact and tips the pass away yet again. He wants a lob from elite passer Nolan Stier, but instead, he settles for an offensive rebound and a putback.
Just good stuff all around. Play defense, run the floor and good things happen.
Tschetter is Stewartville's superstar and will go down as one of the best players in Stewartville's history. Stier could be the No. 1 for a bunch of other teams. But opposing coaches were thinking that Stewartville wasn't going to have enough depth to be a true state title contender. Bode Mayer and Klavetter might be able to make that critique look wrong.