WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published March 23, 2011, 07:08 PM

Erickstad, Arvidson named to ND Class A All-State Boys Basketball Team

Devils Lake senior center Ben Erickstad is on the first team, while Grand Forks Red River junior guard-forward Mack Arvidson makes the second team.

By: Heath Hotzler, Forum Communications

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — It all looks so easy and effortless for Dickinson senior Joe Hanstad.

However, there has been plenty of hard work behind that smooth release, sharp drive to the basket and killer crossover dribble. Statistics tell only part of Hanstad's story. He's also got grit, drive and determination.

The numbers and the intangibles helped make him the only unanimous choice for the North Dakota Class A all-state boys basketball first team, despite the fact that he played in only half of his team's games due to injury.

"I think he's such an incredible shooter," Dickinson coach John Wilson said. "He got great range. And he's a bigger kid who can play forward all the way to point guard. He's got a lot of ability."

Joining Hanstad on the first team are Fargo North senior forward Nick Schultz, Fargo Shanley senior point guard Josh Rodenbiker, Bismarck junior forward Dexter Werner, Bismarck Century senior forward Justin Ledger and Devils Lake senior center Ben Erickstad. The team is selected by members of the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Hanstad had to battle through plenty of adversity this season. He broke the wrist of his shooting hand seven games into the year and pushed hard to get back in time for the West Region tournament. He made it back, but the Midgets just missed a trip to state when they lost a state-qualifying game against Minot.

Hanstad averaged 23.5 points per game. He scored 77 points in three WDA tournament games. He was selected as the West Region senior player of the year. He has signed to play college basketball at Boise State.

"I think the biggest part of why he is at the position he is in is the time he puts in," Wilson said of Hanstad, a Mr. Basketball finalist.

"I've been around a lot of athletes and Joe is the one who has put in more time than anyone I have ever seen," Wilson said. "You have to think our season might have ended in a little different way with him out there the whole season."

Schultz was a consistent scoring and rebounding presence for North this season. He led the team with 17.1 points and 9.5 rebounds a game. He had 12 double-doubles, was selected as the East Region senior player of the year and was a Mr. Basketball finalist. The Spartans finished third at the Class A state tournament.

"He has the skills to be on the perimeter, but we utilized him more inside," North coach Dan Shultis said. "You could pretty much count on 10-12 points and 10-12 rebounds from him. That definitely helps your team in the win column."

Rodenbiker was Shanley's playmaking point guard, directing the most potent scoring team in the Eastern Dakota Conference regular season. He averaged 13.4 points a game. The Deacons went 1-2 when Rodenbiker missed three games with a concussion midway through the year.

"I thought he did a great job this year being a true point guard and distributing the basketball to the other guys," Shanley coach Leon Knodle said. "You could definitely see his leadership when he was on the floor. We were a better team when he was out there."

Ledger was a big-game player for the Class A state champion Patriots all season. He finished with 16.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He was named the state tournament's most valuable player after averaging 19.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in three Century wins.

"He is a kid that wanted the ball at the end of the game," Patriots coach Darin Mattern said. "He was a kid we could lean on offensively. In all my years of coaching, he had to be one of the most efficient players. He could get 20 points on 12 shots. He didn't need a lot of touches to be successful."

Werner took his game to another level this season, leading the Demons to the brink of a state title with averages of 19.2 points and 9.4 rebounds. Century defeated Bismarck 57-51 in the Class A state title game. Werner shot 52 percent from the field.

"I think he was a huge factor for our team," Bismarck coach Steve Miller said. "He was one of our leaders, and the statistics bore out the fact that he was very important to our team."

Despite being just 6-foot-1, Erickstad thrived at center in the EDC. He led the conference in scoring (19.5) and rebounding (11.9). Devils Lake finished 3-17 this season.

"We were a team that had a lot of struggles," Devils Lake coach Josh Johnson said. "But Ben was a kid that really carried us. For a kid who had much of the attention from the other team, his ability to put up the numbers he did was remarkable."

Second-team all-state picks are:

Deven Coyle, Mandan: The 5-11 junior averaged 18.3 points and 4.8 rebounds. He drilled 60 3-pointers and shot 39 percent from beyond the arc.

DeWayne Liggins, Bismarck: The 6-3 senior guard averaged 13.3 points and 7.3 rebounds. He was the sparkplug for the Demons during the state tournament when Werner went down with an ankle injury.

A.J. Jacobson, Fargo Shanley: The 6-4 sophomore averaged 17.8 points and 6.6 rebounds a game to help the Deacons to the EDC regular-season and tournament titles.

Mack Arvidson, Grand Forks Red River: A junior guard, Arvidson was an efficient scorer for the Roughriders. He averaged 18.4 points a game, while shooting 56 percent from the field.

J.R. Gunville, Turtle Mountain-Belcourt: A 6-3 senior forward, Gunville scored 19 points a game.