JAMESTOWN — 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.”
The 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.”
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.”
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.”
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 underclassmen 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.”
The entire team is made up of 13 seniors and two juniors. A look at the second team:
Jade Bentz, Trenton: The 6-3 senior forward posted averages of 17.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.7 blocks and 2.3 steals for the Tigers, who finished third at state.
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 underclassmen on the second team.
Daniel Grande, North Star: A repeat second-team selection, the 6-2 senior guard aided the Bearcats’ run to the Region 4 championship game with averages of 14.3 points, 5.8 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 steals.
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.
Houston Lavachek, Glenburn: The all-state team’s leading scorer and tallest player, the 6-7 senior guard averaged 27.2 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks for the Panthers, who lost out in the District 12 tournament.
Austin Longie, Four Winds-Minnewaukan: The 6-3 senior forward averaged 15.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.9 steals for the state runner-up Indians.
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.