Among the Big Nine’s best

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 13, 2001

For most athletes, being named to an All-Big Nine Conference Team is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

For most athletes, being named to an All-Big Nine Conference Team is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

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Nick Cunningham has done it twice.

The Albert Lea High School senior was the Tigers’ lone representative on this year’s elite 15-member squad, which is determined by a vote of the Big Nine coaches. It’s the second year in a row he’s received the honor.

Three other ALHS seniors received honorable mention – Chris Rebelein, Matt Ladwig and David Dahl.

Cunningham, a 6-foot-5 forward, was the Tigers’ second leading scorer this past season with 12 points per game. He led the team with an average of 6.6 rebounds.

&uot;Nick is a great person, a threat from inside and out, an all-around complete player,&uot; said ALHS coach Jason Bakke.

Cunningham plans to play football at the University of South Dakota.

Rebelein, a 6-4 center, led the Tigers with 12.1 points per game while averaging 6.5 rebounds.

&uot;Chris has super scoring ability from inside and a great 12 to 15-foot jumper,&uot; said Bakke. &uot;He’s a strong player who uses his body well.&uot;

Ladwig, a 6-2 forward, averaged 7.7 points and 5.3 rebounds.

&uot;Matt is a super rebounder for his size,&uot; said Bakke. &uot;He works extremely hard and was a leader on the defensive end.&uot;

Dahl, the Tigers’ point guard, scored 8.6 points per game while averaging two steals.

&uot;Dave was a nice surprise this year,&uot; said Bakke. &uot;He was a positive leader on and off the floor.&uot;

The Tigers finished 5-13 in the Big Nine, in a three-way tie for seventh. Mankato East won the championship with a 14-4 record, followed by Rochester Century at 13-5, Austin 12-6, Faribault, Owatonna and Rochester John Marshall 11-7, Albert Lea, Rochester Mayo and Winona 5-13 and Mankato West 3-15.

Joe Madson of Mankato East was the coach of the year.

Here’s the rest of the all-conference team, by school:

* Austin – Andy Erichson, sr.; Corey Christopherson, jr.;

* Faribault – Andy Matzke, sr.; Shaun Johnson, sr.;

* Mankato East – Ben Kaus, sr.; Doug Espenson, sr.;

* Mankato West – Dennis Baker, jr.;

* Owatonna – Andrew Olson, soph.;

* Rochester Century – Jarred Verdoorn, sr.; David McAlpine, jr.;

* Rochester John Marshall – Ryan Steele, sr.; Michael Hardy, sr.;

* Rochester Mayo – Chris Kirckof, sr.;

* Winona – Jason Pehler, soph.

Honorable mention:

* Austin – Zach Tufte, sr.; Adam Kasper, jr.;

* Faribault – Jarred Breitenfeldt, sr.; Ross Peroutka, jr.;

* Mankato East – J.R. Schulte, jr.; Brady Larson, sr.; Mark Rivers, sr.;

* Mankato West – Geoff Mead, sr.; Nick Nuebert, sr.; Jordan Stolp, fr.;

* Owatonna – Pat Quam, sr.; Pete Kenow, sr.; Andy Schottler, sr.;

* Rochester Century – Scott Burnoski, sr.;

* Rochester JM – Mike Kinsella, jr.;

* Rochester Mayo – Justin Zygmunt, sr.; Carlton Fogan, sr.; Tim Porterfield, jr.;

* Winona – Andy Fisch, jr.; Cory Smith, jr.