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MVL plugs in new faces in new places

NEW ULM — Last year, the Minnesota Valley Lutheran boys’ basketball team finished in a three-way tie for first place in the Tomahawk Conference race with New Ulm Cathedral and Springfield. The Chargers, who had a talented senior class, lost some big names from a year ago and head coach Craig Morgan will have to try to replace that productivity.

MVL lost senior starters Mason Cox, Dunwa Omot, Jace Marotz and Izayah Harrison from last year’s team that finished 26-3.

The Chargers return Kyreis Harrison, who will be expected to carry over from last years’s strong finish. Harrison gives the Chargers some muscle inside and will be tough to stop for most teams. Harrison enters this year with 457 career points so he has a chance at 1,000 for his career. He averaged 10.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals per game last year.

“He will be our mainstay and our go-to guy this year,” Morgan said. “He can shoot from inside and outside, he’s got some good moves and he’s quick and plays good defense.”

Harrison has the ability to take over games with his athleticism and strength, something he showed flashes of last year.

“When he really went at it, he was a man among boys,” Morgan said. “He could dominate a game inside with his rebounding and he could play defense. Offensively, he can score from the inside and outside.”

After Harrison, there are some questions that need to be answered and Morgan is waiting to see which players emerge. He expects senior forward Nick Bleick to be one of those guys, along with senior forward Carter Sexton. Eli Schoof, a 6-foot-3 inch senior guard, will be a perimeter player for the Chargers and Morgan said he brings a great basketball mind and an improved jump shot.

Others expected to contribute include senior guards Leyton Brau and Dylan Birkholz along with junior guard Luke Thompson and junior forward David Santelman.

Morgan said that he expects to have a deep bench.

“I think with this group of guys, we can go 10 or 11 guys deep,” Morgan said. “With the exception of Kyreis, I think everyone is pretty even and we can take each of their different strengths and put them together and see which kind of a rotation we will get. We can kind of experiment, but not too much because we’ve got the conference season already next Friday against BLHS [Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart].”

Morgan said that having a lot of guards and athleticism will allow his team to push the ball up the floor. He’s not certain who will provide the scoring numbers yet, but he’s not too worried about that.

He said that the Tomahawk Conference should be pretty balanced this year. As far as Section 2AA goes, he expects Waseca and Glencoe-Silver Lake to be among the top teams at the end of the year.

MVL opens the season at BLHS next Friday.

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