Boys basketball: Caledonia looks to move up one more spot

Caledonia advanced all the way to the Class AA state championship game in boys basketball before falling a year ago. The Warriors will face a tall task to make a return trip to the title game this week.

Caledonia advanced all the way to the Class AA state championship game in boys basketball before falling a year ago. The Warriors will face a tall task to make a return trip to the title game this week.

Caledonia (28-2) enters the state tournament as the No. 2 seed in Class AA. The Warriors, ranked No. 2 in the state, are at state for the third straight year and they open with unseeded Jackson County Central (23-5) in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Williams Arena.

"We do want to get to the championship (game) again," Caledonia coach Josh Diersen said.

The Warriors have a trio of players who will be playing in their third straight state tournament in guards Colton Lampert, a senior, sophomore Owen King and senior forward Gavin Schroeder.

"We'd like to move up one more spot and win," Lampert said.


The tall task for Caledonia will be going up against bigger foes in the first round for sure and possibly the second round. Jackson County features 6-foot-9 senior center Bodey Behrends and also has 6-5 senior forward Colton Timmer, although they are the only players taller than 6-2 on the team.

Schroeder is Caledonia's tallest player at 6-5. "After that we drop down to 6-2, 6-1 in a hurry," Diersen said.

Diersen said the Warriors have played other big teams this year, including Class AAAA power Hopkins. He plans to use different defensive looks, alternating between man-to-man and zone.

"If we can pressure their guards like we normally do, it's going to be hard for them to get into their set offense," Diersen said.

Plus, the Warriors are a lethal offensive team, coming into the state tournament averaging 81.5 points a game while allowing just 58. They excel off the break, especially after getting defensive rebounds.

"I think all the pieces are there," Diersen said. "Rebounding will be the key. Offensively, I think this is the best team we've had."

King leads the charge averaging 19.7 points a game. With his first point at state, King will surpass Aaron Middendorf (1,326 points) as the school's all-time leading scorer. King, who quarterbacked the Warriors to a Class AA football title in the fall, has set single-season records at Caledonia for both points (588) and assists (193) this year and has 101 steals.

The cat-quick Lampert is second on the team in scoring (14.8 points a game), assists (165) and steals (91).


"Right now he's just playing at another level," Diersen said. "He's just so skilled."

Schroeder averages 14.2 points in Caledonia's up-tempo attack, while eighth-grader Noah King, Owen's brother, averages 9.2 points. Andrew Goergen (4.6 ppg) is the other starter while Ethan DuCharme (6.1 ppg) and Sam Barthel (4.6 ppg) are key reserves.

Solid shooting team

Caledonia is shooting 49 percent from the field this season and 39 percent from 3-point range. The Warriors make lots of threes as Owen King has drilled 70 this season, Noah King 50, Lampert 48 and DuCharme 47.

"We have four point guards out there and we want to push the ball on a rebound," Diersen said. "These guys are so unselfish they want to get the great shot, not the good shot."

Diersen also likes the fact that Jackson County also likes to play at a quicker pace. Jackson County, which has won 11 straight, averages 74.7 points a game and allows 55.9.

"They like to play at a fast pace, which we want," Diersen said. "There's going to be a lot of shots going up in that game, which I like."

Caledonia enters state play with an eighth-game winning streak. If the Warriors get past Jackson County, they would likely face third-seeded Esko (27-3) in the semifinals. Esko features Adam Trapp, a 7-foot-2 sophomore, who averages 14.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.8 blocks a game. He also shoots 59 percent from the floor and helps Esko hold foes to an average of 39.8 points a game.


"That's big and he's really long," Diersen said of Trapp.

Looming on the other half of the bracket is top-seeded and No. 1-ranked St. Croix Lutheran (27-2). Overall, five of the eight teams return to state from a year ago in the Class AA field.

"The ultimate goal is to win it all," Owen King said. "But we have to take it one game at a time."

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