Noah Manning was named to the second team all-conference. The senior forward was also named all-conference last year.  CRAIG MOORHEAD/NEWS-RECORD
Noah Manning was named to the second team all-conference. The senior forward was also named all-conference last year. CRAIG MOORHEAD/NEWS-RECORD
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Two Cougar lads have earned conference honors for basketball excellence.

Senior forward Noah Manning made second team all-conference, his second All-SEC award in as many years. Manning averaged 10.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game (statistics used for All-SEC honors refer to conference games only).

Teammate Justin Ward earned honorable mention for a second straight year. He had 13.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.4 steals per contest. The latter category placed him as the third-highest player in the conference in steals per game.

Lanesboro's Kole Ruud was named SEC Player of the Year for a second straight season. The 6-foot senior guard totaled more treys (71) than any other SEC player. He also had the top scoring average, at 26.2 per conference game. Ruud's 89 free throws were third-highest. Teammate Luke Rogers was also named to the first team. He had the fourth-highest (18.7 per game) scoring average, and hit 43 percent from beyond the arc.

Spring Grove guards Chase Grinde and Alex Engelhardt were also named to the first team, while 6-3 sophomore forward Brady Schuttemeier made the second team. Grinde had the third-highest scoring average (20.7 points per game). He averaged 4.8 rebounds per conference match, along with 2.7 assists and 3.3 steals. That steal average was third-highest in the conference. His successful three-point total was 59 (third-highest), and made free throws total (75), fourth-best. Engelhardt made All-Conference for a second year. He was fourth in assists (4.1), while scoring 14.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.4 steals per contest. Engelhardt also had one of the highest success rates from beyond the arc, hitting 39 percent. Schuttemeier averaged 12.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game. He canned 57 percent of his shots from the field.

Hope Lutheran placed 6-foot senior guard Jason Klug on the first team and 6-foot-4-inch-junior forward Andrew Fratzke on the second. Klug was second in scoring (23.0 points per game), third in rebounding (10.4 rebounds per game) and second in made free throws (91). His steals total was the best in the conference for the second straight year, (4.1 per game). Fratzke averaged 16.7 points per game, 11.7 rebounds per game and sank 24 triples in conference games. He led the conference in blocked shots, with 3.2 per contest.

Trenton Bleifus of Grand Meadow rounded out the first team. He was fifth in scoring (18.6 points per game) and second in steals (3.6).

Zach Sanger of Schaeffer Academy joined Manning on the second team with 18.2 points per game, 4.5 rebounds. He totaled 63 triples, second only to Ruud.

Lyle-Pacelli's Jordan Hart won honorable mention last year, and made the second team this season. He averaged 15.5 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game.

Zach Royston of LeRoy-Ostrander rounds out the second team with 14.9 points per game, 10.6 rebounds per game and a 70 percent free throw average. It's the second straight year the senior forward earned all-conference honors. He was the third-best player at blocking shots, averaging 2.0 per contest.

The honorable mention list also included second appearances by Schaeffer Academy's Joe Vaughn, LeRoy-Ostrander's Nate Bunne and Houston's Sam Ross. They were joined by Spring Grove's Dustin Vickerman, Landon Jacobson of Grand Meadow, Derek Van Ryswyk of Glenville-Emmons, Noah Jiskra of Lyle-Pacelli, Liam Dorn of Lanesboro and Morgan Rusert of Hope Lutheran.

A few of their achievements include a conference-best, 98-made free throws by Bunne, 2.4 blocked shots per game by Van Ryswyk (second highest), while Jacobson lifted 3.1 steals per game (fifth-best). Van Ryswyk also tied Vaughn for fourth-best on the boards, catching 9.2 rebounds per game.