Shiloh Christian is on a District 9 boys basketball roll.
The Skyhawks have won the last four district championships, and a fifth straight title appears to be a strong possibility.
Shiloh returns four starters plus some key reserves from last season's team.
Returning regulars are
6-foot-2 Aaron Hultstrand
(15 points and 8 rebounds per game, 40 3-pointers), 5-10 Joey Dwyer (9 ppg, 3 rpg, 7 apg),
6-5 Matt Rask (12 ppg, 6 rpg) and 6-1 Klint Miller (6 ppg,
8 ppg). All four are seniors.
Junior Donovan Lambert, who was the top reserve on New Town's state tournament team last season, will be the other starter. He averaged 6.3 points per game off the bench.
The Skyhawks will have some depth with juniors Walter Bearstail, Joe Klitzke and Steve Haman, and sophomores Josh Wood, James Inman, Zach Kost and Marshall Marsland. Senior Laramie Keplin, a transfer from Belcourt, also will push for playing time.
"Like everybody at the start of the year, we have a lot of promise. But a lot of things have to fall into place at the right time," Shiloh coach Mike Dwyer said. "We think we have some nice components that will make us successful if they all work together. The district and region will be balanced this year. It should be very competitive."
Standing Rock made a surprising run to the state tournament last season. The Warriors were 7-12 at the end of the regular season but won five of six games in the District 9 and Region 5 tournaments to advance to the Class B final eight for the first time since 2002.
Seniors Eli Agard (8 ppg,
4 rpg), Kerby St. John (11 ppg, 3 rpg) and Travis Twinn (4 ppg, 5 rpg), and juniors Jalen Lawrence (4 ppg, 3 rpg), Jalen Steele (5 ppg), Elijah Strong Heart and Davis Fool Bear all contributed to the playoff run.
"We want to build off our success at the end of last season," Standing Rock coach Juno Pintar said.
Center-Stanton has three returning starters from last season's 10-12 team - Adam Berg (10.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg,
3.4 apg), Jake Kraft (10.6 ppg,
7 rpg) and Jesse Henke (6.6 ppg an 2.3 rpg).
Bruce Wahlman was the first player off the bench.
Solen, which took second in the district tournament and third in the region tournament last season, has three returning starters in Dustyn Luger, David Red Stone and Justin Black Cloud. Luger and Red Stone were among the top rebounders in the district.
However, the Sioux will miss leading scorer Kendrick Eagle and point guard Christian Mutchler, who graduated.
Grant County returns its leading scorer, Kalin Bachmeier (18 ppg), and leading rebounder, Dustin Iverson. Both are seniors.
Flasher has a host of returning letterwinners. Leading the way are Taylor Krenz (12.5 ppg, 2 rpg, 2 apg, 2 spg), Justin Bentz (9 ppg, 5 rpg), Shelby Schmidt (9 ppg, 5 rpg, 5 apg), J.W. Froelich (7 ppg, 4 rpg), Kyle Miller (4.5 ppg, 2 rpg,
1.5 apg, 1.3 spg), and Kyle Black (2 ppg, 2 rpg).
New Salem-Almont struggled through a 1-20 campaign in 2010-2011, but things should be better this season with 10 returning letterwinners. They include starters Skylar Rebel (8.2 ppg, 3.4 apg), Duncan Beth (7.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg), Tyler Wehri (4.2 ppg) and Andrew Hulm (3.8 ppg). Andrew Kreidt (3.2 ppg,
3.5 rpg) was the Holsteins' top reserve.
Jared Bauer, Jesse Gutknecht and Tyler Wehri played well in the junior varsity ranks.
Washburn picked up its first District 10 title since 1999 last season and came within a victory of its first Class B boys basketball state tournament berth in more than half a century (1956).
Things look promising again for the Cardinals, who return four starters - junior Brett Schreiner (14.5 ppg,
4.6 rpg, 84 assists, 67 steals, 44 3-pointers), and seniors Evan Eberle (8.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg,
54 steals), Ryan Kerzman
(6 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Kirk Sailer (7.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg).
Monty Johnson, Andrew Kaiser and Sam Goos contributed off the bench.
Washburn did lose second-team all-stater Jeff Rasmussen to graduation, but the Cardinals won six straight games - including the district championship contest - while Rasmussen was nursing an injured ankle.
Turtle Lake-Mercer-McClusky and Underwood are expected to make a big push for the district crown.
TLMM, 14-8 last season, brings back four starters - juniors Adam Peltier (17 ppg), Kevin Klemisch (12.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg) and Marcus Tomlinson (5.9 ppg), and senior Tucker Fylling (13.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg). Nathan Rauhauser (3.1 ppg,
3.7 rpg) and Cody Crimmins gave the Trojans quality minutes off the bench.
TLMM will have a size advantage over most teams with
6-6 Klemisch, 6-5 Fylling and
Underwood went 6-17 last year, but returns some offensive firepower. Matt Landenberger averaged 18.5 points and
8 rebounds per game. Nick Lee and Carlos Hernandez each averaged 9 points a contest, Dillon Aldinger 6.7, Jeremy Wirtz 6 and Aaron Morman 4.
Max's top returning players are Brett O'Grady (8 ppg) and Tyler Balaban.
Corey Keating (18 ppg, 7 rpg) is the only returning starter for Wilton-Wing. He dropped in
43 points in the Miners' 76-72 season-opening victory over New Salem-Almont on Nov. 30.
Ian MacDonald had an outstanding season last year for the Garrison Troopers, averaging
21.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and
7.2 assists per game. Garrison returns three other starters - Andrew Haugen (5.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 76 assists), Brooks Reinholt
(4.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and Mykle Rud
(5 ppg, 4 rpg).