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Dakota Valley 2017-18 Preview

Dakota Valley Panthers 

Class A- Dakota XII Conference

2016-17 Record: 14-11 (5-6 Dakota XII)

(Won Class A Consolation Game against More 56-41)

Head Coach Jason Kleis

Dakota Valley will be looking for its third straight trip to the Class A State Tournament this season after pulling off an improbable run last year that ended with a 56-41 Consolation victory over More. With the magic that Jason Kleis’ Panthers pulled off at the end of last season, there is no telling what this team can accomplish this year.

Losing Tyler Johnson appeared to hurt Dakota Valley last season more than anyone could have anticipated, but it still had fire power with seniors Robert Rosenquist, John Prochello and Luke Schmitt. Now the Panthers lose their top three scorers, which includes Rosenquist’s 16.9 points per game. All eyes will now be on sharpshooter Jack McCabe, who will need to step his scoring up in his final season at Dakota Valley.

As the Panthers’ top returning scorer, McCabe averaged 6.9 ppg and knocked down 35 percent of his three-point shots last year. Joining McCabe in the starting mix will be Tanner Smith, Jack Graves, Charlie Cox and Nathan Rice. Smith and Graves are expected to be a more integral part of the team this year as both leaders and scorers after averaging around 3.0 ppg last season.

While anything is possible with this team, it loses a big inside presence with both 6-7 John Prochello and 6-4 Jayse Kittler gone. That’s an obstacle this Panther team must overcome if they want to be back in the state tournament. With only five games in the month of December, we won’t get a good indication of where this team is at until sometime in January.

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