Holte, Hagler, Zacher named first-team all-state
(AP) – As coach and father, Jeff Hagler watched his son Jacob make plays for five years that led to North Star winning nearly 94 percent of its games
Inserted into the starting lineup as an eighth-grader, Jacob ran the point and directed the Bearcats to the state tournament.
Fast forward to now, and he’s one of the most decorated players in the state. The 6-foot-2 senior picked up his third consecutive nod to Class B’s all-state first team, announced Monday night and voted on by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
“He’s just an amazing kid in knowing what it takes to win,” Jeff Hagler said. “If he needed to score, he’d score.”
A runner-up for the Mr. Basketball award, Jacob Hagler was the lone unanimous selection. He is joined on the first team by Maple Valley’s Jordan Haseleu, Des Lacs-Burlington’s Tanner Holte, Dickinson Trinity’s Jacob Volk and Beulah’s Trevor Zacher.
Jacob Hagler finished his prep career with a 122-8 record, leading the Bearcats to three state tournaments including a state championship in 2011. He played in five region championship games, falling to Four Winds-Minnewaukan in this year’s Region 4 final.
The Class B state senior athlete of the year averaged 22.8 points, 6.8 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game, but Jeff Hagler said better offensive balance in the starting lineup caused Jacob’s numbers to drop.
“If he’d had the same numbers this year that he had last year, he may have pushed A.J. a little more for Mr. Basketball,” said Jeff Hagler, referring to Fargo Shanley standout A.J. Jacobson. “He could have averaged 35 points a game for us, but that wasn’t the best thing for the team. That goes to show his unselfishness.”
Haseleu, a 5-10 senior point guard, averaged 23.5 points, 6.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals. Behind the Region 1 senior athlete of the year, the Raiders made the region semifinals before bowing out to Fargo Oak Grove.
“He’s a kid that doesn’t come around very often for a coach,” Maple Valley coach Jayson Kocka said. “When we needed to be settled down or needed a basket, we obviously went through Jordan. He’s like another coach on the court.”
The only underclassman on the first team, Holte took Des Lacs-Burlington to the Region 6 semifinals, losing to eventual champion Rugby. The 6-4 junior forward paced the Lakers with 24.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. As a sophomore, he was named to the all-state second team.
“He’s very versatile; he made over 50 3-pointers again this year,” DL-B coach Doug Wagner said. “He drew a double team no matter where he was on the court. If he didn’t score a ton, then he was capable of doing other things. He defended the opponents’ best post player and rebounded extremely well.”
Jacob Volk led Dickinson Trinity to the Class B state tournament, where it finished fifth. Volk, a 6-3 senior guard, had per-game averages of 20 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He was a second-team selection as a junior.
“He’s the most dynamic offensive player I’ve ever coached,” Trinity coach Gregg Grinsteinner said. “He’s always been a scorer, but he’s really had to expand his game. … He’s one of those kids that sets the bar high for our program just like Chad Glasser or Brady Ernst.”
It’s the first all-state award for Beulah 6-4 senior forward Trevor Zacher, who led his team to a state championship as a junior and was named tournament MVP in the process. The Region 7 senior athlete of the year posted averages of 18 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and three steals per game. Beulah fell to Trinity in the Region 7 championship game.
“He’s been a big part of our program since he was a freshman,” Beulah coach Jeremy Brandt said. “His athleticism in the open court is obviously a big plus for him. … He’s developed into a real well-rounded kid and a good all-around player.”
The entire team is made up of 13 seniors and two juniors.
Four area players were named to the second team:
Glenburn senior guard Houston Lavachek was the all-state team’s leading scorer, averaging 24.7 points per game. The 6-7 senior was also the tallest player among the selections, grabbing 10 rebounds per contest.
“Houston is a special offensive player,” Glenburn coach Larry Derr said. “He did so many things offensively that you don’t see in high school. As a freshman and a sophomore he was more of a shooter, but as a junior and a senior he became more of a scorer.”
Lavachek will play for Williston State in the fall.
Four Winds-Minnewaukan senior Austin Longie was an integral part of the Indians’ success this season, finishing state tournament runners-up to Milnor. Longie led FW-M in points (15.7), rebounds (8.8) and steals (2.9) per game. The 6-3 guard anchored an offense that averaged 77.4 points per contest, finishing 24-3 overall.
“As our team got better, he got stronger,” FW-M coach Rick Smith said. “He just had more confidence in his game. We looked to him a bit in crunch time. It started for him dedicating himself more to the team. We knew the talent was always there.”
Trenton senior forward Jade Bentz averaged a double-double (17.6 points, 13.1 rebounds) for a Tigers team that made just their second appearance at state and first since 2004. Aside from leading the team in points and rebounds, the 6-3 senior also led Trenton in 3-pointers and blocks.
“The biggest thing this year is he tried to assert himself this year,” Trenton coach Bob Turcotte said. “He’s a lot more aggressive. He led by example. That was his whole thing. Whenever we needed big buckets, that’s the thing we could count on from him.”
The Tigers finished third at state.
While Longie and Bentz were more known for their offense, North Star senior guard Daniel Grande stood out on the defensive end. The 6-2 senior led the Bearcats with 4.3 steals per game and averaged 4.9 rebounds.
“His biggest asset was his defense,” North Star coach Jeff Hagler said. “We usually put him on the other team’s best player. He could guard anybody from a guard to a post player.”
Offensively, Grande averaged 14.3 points and 5.8 assists per game as the Bearcats avanced to the Region 4 championship game.
A look at the rest of the second team:
– Ellery Bresnahan, Central Cass: The 5-8 senior guard averaged 24.8 points, 7.1 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game. He led Central Cass to the Region 1 semifinals.
– Briton Bussman, Milnor: The state tournament MVP for the state champion Bison, the 6-3 junior swingman averaged 24.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists and is the only underclassman on the second team.
– Jeff Illies, Wyndmere-Lidgerwood: A 6-5 senior center, Illies averaged 22.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists, as the Warbirds made a run to the Region 1 tournament.
– Donovan Lambert, Shiloh Christian: For a Skyhawks team that took seventh at state, the 6-1 senior guard averaged 19.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3 assists.
– Kris Wathne, Griggs County Central: The Region 2 player of the year, the 6-4 senior center put up averages of 21 points and 10.3 rebounds for the Cougars, who fell in the first round of regionals.
– Taylor Zentner, Mott-Regent: The 6-2 senior guard averaged 22.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 4 steals, as the Wildfire finished third in Region 7.