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Boys Basketball: BBE hopes to build on last season's success

Four starters return for Jaguars from a 16-5 team.

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Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa guard Kaden Pieper takes it hard to the basket during a Central Minnesota Conference game Feb. 26, 2021 against Paynesville from Paynesville High School. Patrick Bernadeau/West Central Tribune file photo

BROOTEN — The 2021 Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa boys basketball season was a really good one and extremely close to being a great one.

The Jaguars finished second in the Central Minnesota Conference, going 11-3. BBE’s three losses were to third-place Kimball (42-40) and twice to conference champion Eden Valley-Watkins (62-61 and 49-48). The Jaguars came back to beat Kimball the second time the teams met 89-54 and then lost to eventual Section 5A champion Nevis in the section semifinals, 59-50.

That four starters return, including three first-team all-conference members, and it’s easy to see why BBE is optimistic.

“We return many experienced players from last season,” BBE head coach Chris Anderson said. “This should make our practices very competitive.

“We are hoping that competitive environment will carry over into games.”

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Leading scorer Kaden Pieper is back. The junior guard was a first-team All-CMC selection for the Jaguars, who were 16-5 last season. Pieper averaged 14.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

Also back is Ashton Dingmann. The senior forward is another first-time All-CMC pick who averaged 14.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

The other CMC first-teamer back is Luke Dingmann. The sophomore forward averaged 11.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Also returning is Will VanBeck. The senior guard made the second-team all-conference squad. He averaged 5.5 points and 4.4 assists per game.

All involved must replace three key seniors from last season: Ryan Schwinghammer, Andrew Weller and Peyton Winter.

“As a coaching staff, we are very excited to see what this group can do together,” said Anderson, who is in his 15th year as a coach and in his eighth season at BBE. “The goal is to be playing our best basketball in March.”

If it all comes together, BBE hopes to earn its first state tournament berth since 2014, when the Jaguars were Class A state champions. BBE also was a state champ in 2012 and a state runner-up in 2011.

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022728.S.WCT.BBE BBB Luke Dingmann.JPG
Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa's Luke Dingmann absorbs contact on a drive to the basket during a Central Minnesota Conference game against Paynesville Feb. 26, 2021 from Paynesville High School. Patrick Bernadeau/West Central Tribune file photo

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