BCR Boys Basketball Preview: Storylines to watch for in 2023-24 season

The starting five of Grady Thompson (left), Teegan Davis, Kolten Monroe, Korte Lawson and Noah LaPorte have led the Princeton Tigers to the sectional finals. Surprisingly enough, none of them played at the junior high level, coming together at from different places and schools.

How will St. Bede do in the Tri-County Conference?

The St. Bede Bruins have returned to the Tri-County Conference after a 13-year absence. They spent 10 years in the Three Rivers Conference with a short stint in the NCIC before that.

St. Bede was a member of the Tri-County from 1994-95 to 2009-10. The Bruins won shares of two TCC championshipa, compiling an even 67-67 record with eight winning seasons in 16 years. They won their first championship in 1998 (7-2) and their second in 2001 (6-2), which was future big leaguer J.A. Happ’s senior season.

The new adventure won’t come easy for the Bruins, who have lost their top six scorers from last year’s team, including First Team All-BCR Isaiah Hart, who did not return to the Academy for his senior year. He averaged 16.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Can the Princeton Tigers reload?

The Princeton Tigers had a record-breaking season in 2022-23, winning their first 24 games of the year and matching a school record for wins at 32-3. They were ranked No. 1 in Class 2A for much of the season, reaching the Sweet 16 before falling in the sectional finals.

Graduation hit the Tigers hard with the loss of Grady Thompson, who became the program’s all-time leading scorer, and fellow all-stater Teegan Davis, and Kolten Monroe. To have similar success this year, they will have to reload around returning starters senior point guard Korte Lawson and junior Noah LaPorte along with junior Jordan Reinhardt.

New emphasis at Hall

The Hall Red Devils have had plenty of offensive firepower in recent years with the likes of newly graduated Mac Resetich, who became the program’s second all-time leading scorer and Trez Rybarczyk (2021).

This year, veteran coach Mike Filippini is making an emphasis on defense, particularly their man-to-man, and said his team has not complained one bit.

To help make up for Resetich’s departure, the Red Devils will turn to their old favorite shot, the 3-pointer.

The Blumhorst Brothers Act 2

Brothers Chance Blumhorst (LaMoille) and Trae Blumhorst (DePue), sons of a former coach Brian (Mendota/Annawan/Polo), both landed their first varsity head coaching jobs a year ago. They both continue to build their respective programs in their second season at the helm.

LaMoille finished 8-18 overall, going 2-7 in the Little Ten. DePue went 6-22 and 2-8 in the Little Ten. They met four times with Chance’s Lions winning three times.

Who will be the BCR Player of the Year?

Bureau County produced some top talents last year with the talents of All-Staters Thompson and Davis of Princeton and Resetich of Hall, some of the best players to ever play for their schools. With their graduation, this year’s Player of the Year honors are up for grabs.

Top preseason prospects are senior Korte Lawson and junior Noah LaPorte of Princeton and junior Landon Hulsing of Bureau Valley. There may be other players raise their game to contend as well.

Check back in March.