The Six Rivers West has always been one of the toughest division 7 conferences. This year it will be no different. There are many returning players who were major contributors to their team last year. With all of these returning players, there is no doubt that the Six Rivers West will be a tough conference this year. I will be going through each Six Rivers West team and how they are expected to do this year.
River Ridge has won the conference for the past two years. They are losing two of their starters from last year, but still have their point guard, Braden Crubel, who was first team all-conference last year and averaged 16 points a game. Also returning is center David Nies, who was second team all-conference last year and was third in the conference for rebounds. River Ridge is set to have a great season and will be the team to beat again this year.
Key Players: David Nies (Sr), Braden Crubel (Jr)
Potosi had a solid season last year, tying for second in the conference with Shullsburg. The Chieftains were a very young team last year, with only two seniors. Returning this season is second team all-conference point guard Sam Udelhofen. Logan Uppena and Gavin Wunderlin also earned honorable mention all-conference last year and will be returning. Potosi will be looking to improve on last season and win the conference championship this year.
Key Players: Logan Uppena (Sr), Sam Udelhofen (Jr), Gavin Wunderlin (So)
Shullsburg has lost 8 of their 15 players from last year, one of whom was the Six Rivers player of the year, Brandon Hoppman. They also lost Chandler Kelly who was first team all-conference. Shullsburg will have five seniors this year, but none have started yet. At this point Shullsburg is a wild card. They will need their seniors to step up this year in order for them to have a good season.
Key Player: Heath Poppy (So)
Highland went 6-6 in the Six Rivers last year; they had an up and down season. They were able to beat Potosi in both of their games, but lost to Cassville once and Benton twice. If it weren’t for those games, they could have been second in the conference. Highland lost two starters from last year, Isaac Michek and Justin Miller. Both were honorable mention all-conference last year. Returning are Max Oleson, Lucas Welsh, and Weston Frost. Oleson was second team all-conference last year and averaged 13.3 points per game. Highland has the potential to be one of the top teams in the Six Rivers West this year.
Key Players: Max Oleson (Sr), Weston Frost (Sr)
Cassville went 5-7 in the conference last year, tying with Benton. Cassville was young last year with only two seniors. Returning are Robby Roe, Cody Klein, Raz Okey, Drew Bendorf and Jonah Vogt. Roe earned first team all-conference honors last year and was second in the conference for points scored. With so many players returning, Cassville should be a very mature team and have a good season this year.
Key Players: Robby Roe (Sr), Raz Okey (Jr)
Benton also went 5-7 in the conference last year. They lost five seniors from last year, one of which was the leading scorer in the Six Rivers. Their returning players this year include Rex Blain, Chad Heffle, and Nate Lawrence. Blain led the conference in rebounds last year and was the second highest point scorer for Benton. These three had plenty of playing time last year and should be able to make a significant jump this year. Benton should be able to have a solid season this year in the Six Rivers West Conference.
Key Players: Rex Blaine (Jr), Chad Heffle (Jr)
Belmont was not able to get a conference win last year. In addition, Belmont has lost three seniors from last year, but have three starters returning. A major contributor from last year, Waylon Palzkill, is returning this year. He earned second team all-conference last year and was the leading scorer for Belmont. Belmont should be able to have a decent season this year, as long as the three returning starters are able to make a jump in productivity from last year.
Key Players: Waylon Palzkill (Sr), Ty Palzkill (Sr)
There are many different teams that could be top contenders this season. A few of the teams also have the opportunity to go far into the playoffs. The Six Rivers West will be very competitive this year and I am looking forward to seeing how the standings shake out this season.