The Dickinson boys basketball team got a taste of life without Joe Hanstad last season when he went down to a broken wrist. Now they'll have to adjust to his absence permanently.
Hanstad, a three-time first-team all-stater, was such a dominant force that he nearly won last year's Mr. Basketball award despite missing half the season due to his injuries.
The Midgets also lost Nate Moody and Jarl Abrahamson to graduation, two players who combined for 128 career starts.
"Although we will lack the experience that comes with three-year starters, we feel we will have the ability to fill those spots with a group of talented newcomers," coach John Wilson said.
Wilson said he Dickinson will need senior post Tyrell Parker, who started in the West Region tournament, and point guard Jon Wanner to rise to that occasion. The Midgets also got an influx of talent from a 17-1 junior varsity team.
"The questions will lie in how well will this group of players adapt to stepping up to the varsity level," Wilson said.
Another young team will be Minot (18-7). The Magicians lost all their starters, but guard Austin Frank (6.4 ppg) and forward Kyle Gerding (5.1 ppg) were regulars last season, while Brock Krueger and Brandon VanDusen played some.
"We feel we have good overall athleticism and have some perimeter kids that hopefully will be able to make some shots," coach Dean Winczewski said. "Austin Frank is very quick, a good shooter and has shown he can score. Kyle Gerding is a good shooter and a tough match-up with his size."
In contrast, Jamestown has eight returning letterwinners, all of whom played key minutes for the Blue Jays (10-12).
"This depth will allow us to ability to play a full-court style of defense, which we need to be successful," coach Kelley Kessler said.
Jamestown will have a strong 1-2 punch on the offensive end with Danny Fischer (16.4 ppg) and Jordan Thoreson (12.4 ppg). Nate Willer, a senior, is a third returning starter. The 6-6 center averaged 5.7 points and 5.7 rebounds, plus blocked 32 shots. Dyllan Anderson averaged 6.5 points per game as a reserve.
Williston's returning starter is Cory Vinger. The 6-1 forward contributed 12.4 points and 4.7 rebounds last season, and the Coyotes (1-18) are counting on him to be their leader.
"Offensively his strength is that he score any place on the floor," coach Mark Slotsve said. "He can shoot the 3 and is good around the basket. He can score on the dribble and off the pass - all-around a good athlete."
Alex Cundiff, who played five varsity games last season, is expected to miss the first few games of the season after suffering a broken ankle during football season.
Turtle Mountain (6-16) is searching for its first state tournament berth since 1997.