Here’s a look at the top Minnesota boys basketball players from the area for the 2014-15 season.
Moorhead’s Cody Dorow had another big season scoring. He’s headed to MSUM. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum
Cody Dorow could score any way possible for the Spuds. When it came to crunch time, there was no one who wanted the ball more.
He improved his defense from a year ago and the only real struggle, ironically, came at the free-throw line for a guy who could hit a shot anywhere beyond the 3-point arc. Even though he shot 77 percent from the free-throw line, it was something Dorow was not pleased with all season.
Dorow averaged 23 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 steals a game this season for the Spuds. He shot 51 percent from the field and ended his career as one of the best scorers in Moorhead history, finishing with 1,613 career points.
Dorow finished third all-time in Moorhead history for points behind Aaron Lien’s 1,886 and Jordan Driscoll’s 1,651.
In 93 games for his career, Dorow finished with 17.34 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.03 assists and 1.52 steals per game.
Dorow is headed to Minnesota State Moorhead to play basketball.
Tony Ukkelberg – Battle Lake – Guard – Junior
Battle Lake junior Tony Ukkelberg (right) was the leading scorer for BL this season. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press
Tony Ukkelberg averaged nearly 17 points a game for Class 1A, Section 6 champion Battle Lake.
Ukkelberg was efficient as can be, hitting nearly 60 percent of his shots from the field and nearly 50 percent of the 3-pointers he took. The junior got his 1,000th point this season and helped lead Battle Lake to its first state tournament win in program history.
Unfortunately for Ukkelberg, he suffered an ankle injury in the state quarterfinals that kept him out for most of the second half and the state semifinals.
Ben Ellefson – Hawley – Forward – Senior
Ben Ellefson became the 26th player in Minnesota high school basketball history to get 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for his career this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum
Ben Ellefson is headed to North Dakota State for football, but one could argue he’s almost a better basketball player. It’s one thing to have the size of a DI tight end to outmuscle anyone on the court in high school. It’s another thing to have the shot and smarts Ellefson showed.
Ellefson not only shot 62 percent from the field, but he hit 46 of the 102 (45.1 percent) 3-pointers he attempted and shot nearly 80 percent from the free-throw line. On top of averaging 23 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, he averaged 1.85 assists, 1.93 steals and a block a game for the Nuggets.
He hit two milestones this season, getting his 2,000th point and 1,000th rebound of his career, becoming just the 26th player in Minnesota history to have both.
An example of how smart of a basketball player could be seen in the final two plays of his basketball career.
In this video from the Wahpeton Daily News at the 1:38 mark Ellefson gets a rebound with Hawley down five in the final 10 seconds of the subsection championship and instead of putting it back up, goes to the 3-point line and buries a fadeaway 3.
Hawley fouls with 1.6 seconds to go and trailing by two. Breckenridge misses the first free throw and instead of just grabbing the ball, turning and throwing it at the net, Ellefson moves a teammate away from touching it, let’s it bounce, gets behind it before time starts and tries to get a quick pass closer to the net for a better shot.
It didn’t work, but just portrayed how Ellefson does not think like the average athlete.
Petric VanErp – Battle Lake – Forward – Senior
Petric VanErp averaged 16.2 points and 8.7 rebounds a game for Battle Lake this season. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum
Petric VanErp did it all for the Battlers this season. VanErp could jump, run, shoot and could guard a team’s best player, whether they were a guard or center.
VanErp averaged 16.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals a game for Battle Lake. He even came back less than two weeks after tearing his meniscus to help the Battlers win a sub-section and section title.
In the state quarterfinals, exactly three weeks after tearing his meniscus, VanErp had nine points, 15 rebounds and five assists to get the Battlers to the state semifinals. In the state semifinals, with Battle Lake without its leading scorer, VanErp dropped 29 points.
He got the 1,000th point of his career this season as well.
Nate Lorenz – Breckenridge – Center – Senior
Breckenridge’s Nate Lorenz (right) led the Cowboys to their first state tournament since 1979. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum
Starting for Breckenridge since he was a freshman, there’s been a lot on the shoulders of Nate Lorenz.
The 6-foot-7 University of Minnesota Crookston commit got everything off his shoulders this season, averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds a game to lead the Cowboys to their first state tournament since 1979.
Lorenz became the all-time leading scorer in school history this season and the all-time leading rebounder in school history as a junior. He finished with 1,523 points and 984 rebounds in his career.
The size is one thing, but Lorenz could pass the ball, averaging more than two assists a game. He was a big reason Breckenridge was such a good shooting team from beyond the 3-point arc. Once the double team would come to him in the post, Lorenz would find an open guy for 3.
FIRST OFF THE BENCH
Christian Hedstrom – Detroit Lakes – Guard – Senior
Christian Hedstrom was the leading scorer for Detroit Lakes this season. Photo by Bob Williams/DL Newspapers
Christian Hedstrom averaged 16.03 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.54 assists and 1.77 steals a game for 23-6 Detroit Lakes this season.
Jake Isaac – Fergus Falls Hillcrest – Center – Senior
Hillcrest Lutheran Academy senior Jake Isaac (left) averaged 21.7 points a game for HLA this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum
Jake Isaac averaged 21.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists a game for Hillcrest Lutheran Academy this season. He shot 58 percent from the field and hit 29 of the 79 (37 percent) 3-pointers he attempted.
Isaac finished with 1,413 points for his career and broke the school record for career free-throw percentage at 84 percent.
Ben Sauve – Barnesville – Guard – Senior
Nick Trosdahl – Battle Lake – Center – Senior
Ashton Hegge – Breckenridge – Guard – Junior
Nate Blaufuss – Breckenridge – Guard – Senior
Ben Hokanson – Detroit Lakes – Center – Senior
Ryan Cihak – Detroit Lakes – Guard – Senior
Brady Bellefeuille – Frazee – Forward – Senior
Aaron Regnier – Hawley – Forward – Senior
Dillon Omberg – Hawley – Guard – Senior
Chris Tungseth – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy – Guard – Junior
Matt Bye – Moorhead – Guard – Junior
Nick Wiesmann – Moorhead – Center – Senior
Hunter Thompson – Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal – Guard – Senior
Zach Kvalvog – Park Christian – Guard – Junior
Jordan McCollum – Park Rapids – Forward – Senior
Sam Muer – Perham – Forward – Senior
Darius Woods-Steichen – Waubun – Forward – Junior
Jay Zimmerman – West Cental Area – Center – Senior
Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.