Five story lines
1 STATE’S BEST TO SQUARE OFF
The top two teams, with the two best seniors, will determine who is No. 1 in the state in an early season meeting. Apple Valley and DeLaSalle will clash in the Breakdown Classic at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 at Hopkins High School. The Eagles are led by Duke recruit Tyus Jones while the Islanders feature Stanford recruit Reid Travis. Both also have outstanding supporting casts that will draw interest from Division I college coaches.
2 A LEGEND IS LEAVING
Longtime Chisholm coach Bob McDonald, 80, is stepping down after the 2013-14 season. The state’s winningest coach (994 career victories) is entering his 59th season. He has guided the Bluestreaks the last 53 years, winning state championships in 1973, 1975 and 1991. McDonald will be succeeded by assistant coach Larry Pervenanze, who will become only the fourth coach in school history.
3 MASS EXODUS FROM HOLY ANGELS
Coach Larry McKenzie decided to return to the Minneapolis City Conference, taking over at North after five seasons at Holy Angels. He previously coached Minneapolis Henry to four state championships. McKenzie isn’t the only one who departed the school. Starting senior guards Delshon Strickland and Jordan Dembley transferred. Strickland landed at Minnetonka and Dembley at Osseo.
4 COACHING CAROUSEL
Three of the top 10 winningest coaches in the state are on the verge of their 600th career victories. Franz Boelter of Bethlehem Academy in Faribault has 598 wins, followed by Dave Galovich of Crosby-Ironton with 595 and Bob Vaughan of Braham with 583. Hopkins coach Ken Novak Jr. eclipsed 700 career wins a year ago. He has 711 wins, fourth on the all-time list behind McDonald, Bob Brink of Rocori (926) and Ziggy Kauls of Mounds View (739).
5 EARLY START, Finish TO SEASON
No, it’s not you imagination. The season is tipping off earlier than in recent history. There are about 10 games on the docket for Thursday, the first day games can be played. In the past, the season has generally started after Thanksgiving. The boys’ state tournament will precede the girls’ this season. The boys’ tournament will be held March 12-15, the girls’ tournament March 18-22.