Coming off a severely disappointing loss, Scottie Stone is getting away from it all. The Melrose senior is headed to Ecuador.
This isn’t a post-loss escape. The Spanish class trip, planned long before the Section 6-2A final loss Friday to Litchfield, will let Stone and a bunch of seniors on the boys basketball team take their minds off hoops for eight days.
Bet nobody in Ecuador cares too much about the Dutchmen’s basketball season.
But Stone, of course, does. Melrose had its best season in 39 years. And for it, Stone has been named the Times’ boys basketball Player of the Year.
He joins a five-person team that include’s Rocori’s Jonah Eisenschenk, Sartell’s Patrick Fischer, St. Cloud Tech’s Andy Foley and St. Cloud Apollo’s Brett Maslonkowski. It’s selected by the Times’ sports staff based on coaches’ nominations.
“It’s definitely a very, very, very, very big honor and I really appreciate it,” Stone said.
Other senior basketball players on the big trip, which includes a group of 30-35 from Melrose, are Mitch Reller, Mitch Niehaus, Ryan Elfering, Cory Wiehoff and Jacob Hinnenkamp.
It’ll help erase the sting of the No. 1-ranked Dutchmen falling 73-59 to Litchfield in the Section 6-2A championship Friday at Halenbeck Hall.
“It was tough to get out of bed Saturday morning, that’s for sure,” Stone said. “There are a lot of ‘what-ifs.’
“It was a tough night to come out and play one of our worst games. But you can’t control it. We couldn’t have wanted it any more or played any harder. It just didn’t go down for us and that’s how it goes.”
Melrose finished 29-2, easily winning the West Central Conference and holding the No. 1 spot in the Class 2A rankings for the most of the season. Along the way, they ended d Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa’s 50-game winning streak.
Stone was in the middle of it all. On a team that started five seniors and had nine on the varsity roster, Stone averaged 29.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game, improving his scoring average from previous years. And while he shot a lot, he made 54.3 percent of his field goal attempts, including 46.9 percent from three-point range and 82.4 percent from the free throw line.
“You don’t see the type of stats he put up very often,” Melrose head coach Ryan Dusha said. “He’s a once-in-a-generation player in Melrose …
“He’s an absolutely special player and he deserves every accolade that is bestowed upon him.”
He’s a two-time West Central Conference most valuable player and an all-state honorable mention last year. Like Fischer from Sartell, he was selected to participate in the coaches’ association all-star team but declined because he is on vacation.
Stone has scored more than 2,000 career points, surpassing the school record held for 39 years by Mark Olberding. He is headed to St. Cloud State on a basketball scholarship.
“He’ll compete as hard as anybody to succeed at that level as anyone can,” Dusha said.
After he gets back from Ecuador, Stone said he will start training for college basketball, lifting weights. He also plans to help out at summer basketball camps.
“I’m really, really looking forward to college basketball,” Stone said. “I know I’ll be putting a lot of time in the gym this summer.”
Like Stone, Dusha admits the season’s end was disappointing. He said he believes Litchfield, which earned the No. 2 seed in the state tournament, has a very good chance of winning the state title and that helps eliminate the disappointment a bit.
“I think with a team like we had this year, you’d always like to see win one more game as you do every year,” Dusha said. “It’s easier when you have lost to a great team playing a great game.
“It was about the journey, not the destination. The memories created in the journey will be what you hope to take from it. It stings; you’d always like to go as far as possible. But we have great respect for Litchfield and its coaching staff and what it has accomplished.”
Melrose is going to reflect on the great season, too.
“It (Ecuador) will be a good time,” Stone said. “It’ll be fun to talk to the guys and talk about all the things we did. It’ll be great to take some time off.”
* Jonah Eisenschenk, Rocori (6-5, sr., f)
* Patrick Fischer, Sartell (6-4, sr., g)
* Andy Foley, St. Cloud Tech (6-5, jr., g)
* Brett Maslonkowski, St. Cloud Apollo (6-3, sr., f)
* Scottie Stone, Melrose (6-4, sr., g)
Here is a list of recent Times’ players of the year, with their high school and their college listed in parentheses:
2013 – Scottie Stone, Melrose (St. Cloud State)
2012 — Joe Burt, St. Cloud Cathedral (Augustana)
2011 — Blake Maslonkowski, St. Cloud Apollo (Mary)
2010 — Dan Kornbaum, Little Falls (Augsburg)
2009 — Nate Wolters, St. Cloud Tech (South Dakota State)
2008 — Wolters, Tech
2007 — Justin Stommes, Rocori (Eastern Kentucky)
2006 — Chad Willenbring, Rocori (St. Cloud State baseball)
2005 — Eric Decker, Rocori (Minnesota football and baseball)
2004 — Tyler Haag, Annandale (Wisconsin-River Falls)
2003 — Jeff Hille, Sauk Rapids (North Dakota State baseball)
2002 — Matt Siegle, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (St. Cloud State)
2001 — Nate Miller, Little Falls (St. Cloud State)
2000 — Josh Krogman, St. Cloud Apollo (Minnesota baseball)
1999 — Jason Kron, Rocori (St. Cloud State)
Jonah Eisenschenk, Rocori
6-foot-5 senior forward … Minnesota-Duluth recruit wound up with 1,906 career points, including 1,695 at Rocori (he began his career at St. John’s Prep) … Passed Jason Kron as Spartans’ all-time leading scorer … Three-year starter and key component on 2012 state tournament team … Averaged 20.5 points and 7.0 rebounds … An ‘A’ student selected as a coaches association all-star.
Patrick Fischer, Sartell
6-4 sr. guard … Leader of the state-tournament-bound Sabres … Led Sartell in scoring (12.9 ppg), assists (5.6 apg) and steals (2.7 spg) … Shot 47.6 percent from the field, including 30.5 percent from three-point range … Intense competitor who also is a standout football player … Overcame a knee injury suffered in football playoffs … Headed to Bemidji State on a basketball scholarship.
Andy Foley, St. Cloud Tech
6-5 junior guard … Already a three-year starter with more than 1,200 career points who has a chance to break Nate Wolters’ all-time scoring record at Tech next season … Averaged 21.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 4.7 apg and 3.1 spg … Shot 53 percent from the field and 49 percent from three-point range … Also an 83-percent free-throw shooter.
Brett Maslonkowski, St. Cloud Apollo
6-3 sr. forward … Led Eagles to the Section 5-3A championship game … Three-year regular who was a sixth man on Apollo’s 2011 state tournament team … Became eighth player in school history to score 1,000 points, joining brother Blake on that club … Averaged 22 ppg, 9 rpg … Headed to Central Lakes Community College in Brainerd to continue his career.
Scottie Stone, Melrose
6-4 sr. guard … Greatest scorer in school history, with more than 2,000 career points … Led Melrose to 27-2 record and No. 1 ranking … Great outside shooter, but can drive and is a fine passer … Holds single-game school record with 44 points in win over previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa … Headed to St. Cloud State on a basketball scholarship.
Nick Adams (Sauk Centre, sr., c)
Brett Ahsenmacher (Annandale, sr., g)
Cullen Carter (Pierz, jr., f)
Zach Dehler (St. John’s Prep, sr., g)
Collin Eckman (Little Falls, sr., g)
Tim Immelman (Sartell, sr., c)
Patrick Knoblauch (Sauk Centre, sr., g)
Scott Litchy (Albany, sr., g)
Brett Mattice (Eden Valley-Watkins, so., g)
Matt Miller (Annandale, jr., f)
Mac Mueller (Rocori, sr., g)
Isaac Sawyer (Melrose, sr., g)
Jared Streit (Eden Valley-Watkins, so., c)
Tyler Templin (Foley, sr., f)
Brindley Theisen (St. Cloud Cathedral, so., g/f)
Conor Voss (St. Cloud Cathedral, sr., c)