July 18, 2024

Undersized Knights move back to Class A for 2023-24 season

The Knights will be led by six seniors this season. Left to right, Nasir Dotts, Cam Anderson, Bryce Kjesbo, Mitch Dewey and Dane Anderson. Brady Lindquist is not pictured.

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Sam Peterson
Grant County Herald

After two years of Class AA ball, the West Central Area Knights are back in Class A for the 2023-24 season. The Knights will not be a big team this season, but plan to use their quickness and speed to overcome some of that size deficiency to build off a solid season last year.

The Knights are coming off a season where they finished with an overall record of 18-8. They were 10-4 in the West Central Conference and finished second behind Sauk Centre. 

Head coach Kraig Hunter enters his 28th season as the head coach and boasts a record of 403-274.

The team returns four of the five starters from a season ago with Nas Dotts, Mitch Dewey, Bryce Kjesbo and Ben Bye. They also get back Cam Anderson, who missed the majority of last season with an injury. Anderson was an All-Conference player as a sophomore two years ago. Sam Hanson is another returning player for the Knights who has the ability to play a position on the floor. 

Hunter and the rest of the coaching staff are looking to a number of players to step up and make their first varsity contribution this season. Those players include seniors Dane Anderson and Brady Lindquist; juniors Cash Nelson, Owen Sanstead and Simon Moritz and sophomore Marshall Dewey.

The West Central Area roster features a lot of guards and are by no means a large team. “We may be one of the smallest teams in Minnesota, but we have kids with skills, experience, quickness and intelligence. We feel if we focus on rebounding and physicality; and if we can stay healthy, we will be able to play a high level of basketball this year,” coach Hunter said.

The Knights will have mismatches all over the floor in nearly every game they play in the conference. Melrose, MACA, Sauk Centre, BOLD, Montevideo, Minnewaska and Benson all feature big line-ups. This will make rebounding a key stat for the Knights, but they will also create headaches and mismatches for opposing bigs to stay in front of the smaller and quicker Knights.

WCA moved from Section 3AA down to Section 6A this season. In the West Central Conference, the majority of the teams are AA teams, so when playoff time comes around, the Knights will be a battle tested team. In addition to their conference opponents, they will also take on other AA teams like Pelican Rapids, Park Rapids, Staples-Motley and Wadena-Deer Creek.

That being said, Section 6A will not be a cake walk for WCA. The favorites in the section will be Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Battle Lake, Hancock, BBE, Ada-Borup and Henning. 

The Knights will be playing a fun brand of basketball with a bunch of energetic undersized players on the roster. They hope to be in every game, improve on their runner-up conference finish from a season ago and be a tough team out in the Section 6A playoffs come March.

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