Home » Boys basketball preview: KMS will have a different look this season

Boys basketball preview: KMS will have a different look this season

KERKHOVEN — The Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg boys basketball team will need some fresh faces to step up throughout the 2023-24 season.

The Fighting Saints, who are fresh off a 21-6 season that included a 14-4 record in the Camden Conference, have four returning starters back. However, two of them are currently injured and KMS will also have to make up for the loss of one major piece.

Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg junior guard Jared Cortez drives toward Border West’s basket with junior guard Landon Bratsch preparing to defend him in the Section 6A-South semifinals on Monday, March 13, 2023, at Minnewaska High School in Glenwood.

Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

KMS returns 6-foot-8 senior forward DeAndre Holloway and 6-0 senior guard Jared Cortez.

Holloway, who was an All-Area First Team pick and an All-Camden Conference selection, returns as KMS’ most valuable player. He averaged 23.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, 2.3 steals and 1.7 assists per game.

Cortez, who missed the majority of his junior season with a leg injury, averaged 9.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.4 assists per game.

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Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg head coach Matt Fragodt talks to his Fighting Saints during a timeout against Central Minnesota Christian on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, at Prinsburg.

Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

The Fighting Saints will be without returning starters Hunter Kallstrom and Malaki Lee. Both seniors were injured during football season.

Kallstrom, a 6-5 All-Camden Conference forward, averaged 12.8 points and 9.7 rebounds points per contest last season. Lee, a 6-1 forward, averaged 6.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.

KMS also lost Isaac Rudningen due to graduation. He was an All-Area Third Team member who did it all for the Fighting Saints. He averaged 10.8 points, 6.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. He is currently a part of the University of Sioux Falls football program.

“We return some key pieces from last year’s team,” KMS head coach Matt Fragodt said. “Some of the key pieces are injured right now from football. There is hope of getting them back at some point, but it isn’t looking great. This gives some of our younger guys a chance to step up.”

Fragodt noted Carter Auspos and Landen Bratsch are players to watch.

Auspos is a 6-0 senior forward and Bratsch is a 5-11 senior guard.

The two seniors are just a pair of many within the Fighting Saints program.

“We have 12 seniors out that will provide some experience, but we will be looking at some younger players to step up also,” Fragodt said.

Weston Gjerde and Luke Armstrong will serve as Fragodt’s assistants for the 2023-24 season.

(All games at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Dec. 8 — at LQPV, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 11 — at Dawson-Boyd, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 14 — vs MACCRAY, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 19 — at Central Minnesota Christian, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 22 — vs. Litchfield

Dec. 27 — vs. St. James, 1:30 p.m. at Windom

Jan. 2 — vs. New London-Spicer, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 5 — vs. Paynesville, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 6 — vs. ACGC, 2 p.m. at Target Center, Minneapolis

Jan. 9 — vs. Ortonville, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 12 — at Canby, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 16 — at BBE

Jan. 18 — at Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 22 — at Eden Valley-Watkins

Jan. 25 — vs. Renville County West, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 29 — at Minneota, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 1 — vs. YME, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 6 — vs. LQPV, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 9 — vs. Dawson-Boyd, 7:30 p.m .

Feb. 12 — at Minnewaska, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 13 — at MACCRAY, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 16 — vs. Central Minnesota Christian, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 20 — at Ortonville, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 22 — vs. Lakeview, 7:30 p.m.