ALLAR: Turcotte, Hagler exemplified excellence

As a scribe of small-town North Dakota sports, I’ve grown accustomed to littering my stories with absurdly long names of teams that co-op for athletic competition.

In basketball, there are teams like Lakota-Adams-Edmore, Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood and Park River-Fordville-Lankin.

I understand that tiny schools have to combine forces to field more competitive teams, but there was still something refreshing about seeing Trenton perform so well in the state tournament.

Next year, Trenton – a seven-letter school that played predominantly seven kids all the way to third place in Class B – will co-op with Trinity Christian.

But in its last year as a non-hyphenated entity, Trenton (the lowest-enrollment school or co-op in the state tournament with 65 students) showed what can be accomplished with a talented crop of athletes from one town.

For leading the Tigers to the Region 8 title and two wins at the state tournament, Bob Turcotte was named The Minot Daily News’ all-area coach of the year.

While the all-area player of the year is, in fact, a yearly award, North Star’s Jacob Hagler received the nod both for his stellar play this season and his overall body of work.

Hagler led the Bearcats to three Class B state tournaments in his five years on varsity, including the 2011 championship. This season, the 6-foot-2 guard averaged 22.8 points, 6.8 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 3.6 steals.

The Class B state senior athlete of the year and Mr. Basketball finalist signed with Jamestown College on Friday.

Hagler is joined on the first team by fellow Class B first-teamers Trevor Zacher (also a Mr. Basketball finalist) and Tanner Holte, the only underclassman to be named to the first team.

Austin Longie, a crafty 6-3 guard, earned his spot on the all-area first team by leading Four Winds-Minnewaukan to second place in the state tournament. Houston Lavachek, Glenburn’s high-scoring 6-7 swingman and a Williston State commit, rounded out the first team.

The rest of the all-area selections were chosen a little bit differently this year. In the past, we’ve lumped 15 players into the second team.

This time, we picked three teams of five players and three at-large selections. While this change in format made picking the teams slightly more challenging – sometimes it was tough to differentiate second-teamers from third-teamers and third-teamers from at-large choices – we felt five players per team is the only logical way to select a basketball squad.

The boys talent pool in the area was certainly deep and several quality players were left off our teams.

Statistics, coaches’ opinions and our own experiences of watching these athletes compete factored into our selections. The MDN would like to thank all coaches and school officials who helped us in this process.

Daniel Allar is the sports editor of The Minot Daily News. He can be reached via email at dallar@minotdailynews.com.