New Salem-Almont hopes to regain some of the magic in 2018.
That year, the Holsteins made it to the Dakota Bowl in football and were one win away from a trip to a state in basketball.
This year the Holsteins lost a win before a trip to the Fargodome for the 9-man final, but head coach Ben Kringstad believes one can feed off the other.
“I think success breeds success, being in these pressure situations, big games where you have to be at your best,” said Kringstad, also an assistant football coach. “I think you can use that momentum to your advantage in terms of confidence, you can build in one sport and then transfer it to another.”
Dylan Rud and Weston Kuhn were all-state artists in Holsteins football and will be relied on heavily on the hard court.
Rud, a 6-0 senior, averaged 12 points per game last season.
“A lot of what we do will go through Dylan,” Kringstad said. “He’s our most consistent outside shooter and he’s got more strength and that will help him attack the basket and with some of the different actions we’ll be performing.
“He’s a multi-faceted player. We want him to shoot more than 15 times per game.”
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Weston and Wyatt Kuhn, at 6-5 and 6-4 respectively, will carry the load inside. Weston missed a good chunk of time last season with an injury. In his second year, he averaged a double-double in points and rebounds.
In eighth grade last season, Wyatt averaged nine points and six boards.
“When Weston got injured last year, that kind of development sped up Wyatt’s development,” Kringstad said. “Weston is in perfect health, has had a very good football season and Wyatt is a promising player. We are looking for both of them to have good seasons for us.”
Rylen Sigh senior is one of the Holsteins’ most consistent shooters and has grown since last time around, Kringstad said. Senior Josh Olin and junior Brady Brandt are also expected to play key roles.
Kringstad expects around 21 players for basketball, a pretty good number considering New Salem-Almont have a strong winter wrestling program as well.
“All around 20 is a pretty good number for us,” Kringstad said. “We would always like more, but we are happy where we are at.”
Kringstad loves the new Super Region 5 format, which features Central McLean, Center-Stanton, Flasher, Garrison, Max, Shiloh Christian, Solen, Standing Rock, Washburn, and Wilton-Wing.
“I like the super region format,” Kringstad said. “It’s going to make the games feel like the playoffs. Every game is important.”
Last season’s Region 5 champion Shiloh is targeted as the team to beat.
“Until someone brings them down you have to see it that way,” Kringstad said.
The Holsteins got off to a slow start last season, but rallied to win 13 games.
“We took a few lumps at the start of last year, but with the players we have back we should be able to avoid that,” Kringstad said. “We have to stay healthy, that’s important, but with the experience of some of our kids, we think we have the potential to have a pretty good season.”
Contact Tribune Sports Editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or [email protected]