The Faribault Daily News picked its first and second all-area boys basketball teams, choosing out of a pool of athletes from Bethlehem Academy, Faribault High School, Kenyon-Wanamingo High School and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown High School. The only requirement was each team needed to have at least one guard and one forward.
Honorees are listed alphabetically by last name within each team.
Abdimutalib Abdullahi, senior, forward, Faribault
Always a star on the soccer field, Abdullahi joined the Faribault boys basketball team last season and instantly helped the Falcons in every facet. Growing into a starring role this season, Abdullahi tallied 14.9 points a game this season along with 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and two steals to help him earn his second all-area selection.
Tate Erlandson, senior, guard, Kenyon-Wanamingo
Throughout most of the season, Erlandson was the engine of Kenyon-Wanamingo. To help him land on his first all-area team, Erlandson averaged a team-high 14.6 points a game while grabbing 3.5 rebounds, dishing out 2.6 assists and swiping 1.8 steals a contest.
JJ Malecha, junior, forward, Bethlehem Academy
Malecha was the author of the high point of the season for the Cardinals in a 69-67 win against Hope Academy, when Malecha drove into the lane and nailed a floater with seven seconds left for the game-winning basket. This is Malecha’s first all-area selection.
Grant McBroom, senior, forward, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown
McBroom closed his high school basketball career with his third selection to the all-area team. In 29 starts this season, McBroom led the Buccaneers with 25.2 points a game in addition to hauling in a team-high 10 rebounds a contest. Even as a high-volume shooter, McBroom notched a field goal percentage of 56.8 percent and a 3-point percentage of 42.5 percent.
Domanik Paulson, sophomore, guard, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown
Paulson stepped into a void for the Buccaneers, who were replacing a pair of star guards in Blaydn Bartelt and Tanner Ranslow, and assumed the controls of the high-flying WEM offense. In addition to his 14.8 points a game this season, the sophomore averaged a team-high 5.4 assists a game and swiped 4.2 steals a contest. This is Paulson’s first all-area selection.
Cole Kokoschke, senior, forward, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown
In his first season as a more primary option for the Buccaneers, Kokoschke operated as a reliable third source of offense while averaging 13.6 points a game and starting all 29 of WEM’s games. He also nabbed 4.6 rebounds and handed out 3.5 assists, the second-highest total on the team. This is Kokoschke’s first all-area selection.
Laden Nerison, sophomore, guard, Kenyon-Wanamingo
With the graduation of Colin Sviggum from last year’s team, Tate Erlandson was in need of a running mate in the back court. That’s where Nerison emerged, and he averaged 9.2 points a game, in addition to 3.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.1 steals. This is Nerison’s first all-area selection.
John Palmer, junior, guard, Faribault
A Palmer led the Falcons in scoring again this season, but this time the buckets came from John Palmer instead of Joe Palmer, now a freshman at Augsburg. This year, John Palmer paced Faribault with 15.7 points a game while drilling 42.6% of his shots from behind the arc. This is Palmer’s first all-area selection.
Kade Robb, junior, guard, Bethlehem Academy
Robb emerged as a player more than capable of pacing the Cardinal offense in the second half of the season, and scored a team-high 15 points in the team’s opening-round loss in the section playoffs. This is Robb’s first selection to the all-area team.
Zach Sticken, senior, guard, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown
Sticken started only one game this year for the Buccaneers, but that scope doesn’t fully encapsulate his contribution toward WEM’s success. The sharp-shooter nailed 45.3% of his attempts from behind the arc to help him average 10.4 points a game this season. This is Sticken’s first all-area selection.