WEST FARGO — Twelve players were selected to represent Class A boys for this year's North Dakota Lions All-Star Basketball Series.
Class A will take on the best 12 players from Class B in a two-game series Monday, July 15, at Bismarck Legacy High School, and Tuesday, July 16, at West Fargo High School with both games scheduled for 8 p.m. The girls games are set for 6 p.m. each night.
For some, like Luke Lennon, these games represent the end of competitive basketball. The West Fargo graduate will be playing NCAA Division I football at the University of North Dakota starting this fall.
"I am definitely more in football form. I am getting ready for that more than basketball, so it’s definitely a different feeling," Lennon said, adding his conditioning could be better. "Obviously there is more running, so I have to kinda get back into shape that way."
Despite transitioning from football to basketball so quickly, Lennon is excited for the opportunity to represent Class A boys for North Dakota.
"It’s awesome. Growing up I would watch this every summer on TV, and I saw those guys I knew from West Fargo and somewhat idolized them," Lennon said. "So for me, it’s pretty cool, and overall it’s gonna be a fun experience."
While running up and down the court alongside former competitors, Lennon says it’s been a unique experience trying to make each other better.
"I played against a lot of these guys and you want to beat them, but now we are playing together, trying to make each other better because we all have the same goal, which is to win," Lennon said.
Once the two games are finished, Lennon will pivot his attention back to football and Grand Forks, where he has been the past week, moving in and preparing for the upcoming season.
"I am already up at UND, in the dorms, and have been working out with the team this past week," Lennon said, adding he can’t wait to start his new journey. "For me, it’s just about getting better. I got to watch the older guys there and they definitely know what they are doing. They are veterans."
The 6-foot-5 Lennon, who will be playing defensive end and outside linebacker, hopes to add some muscle and learn a thing or two from his new teammates.
"I am just going to follow them and hopefully get better and put some weight on and try and take on the new role," Lennon said.
While Lennon won’t be on the courts much after the two basketball games, the same cannot be said for Braeton Motschenbacher. He's preparing to play men's basketball for Concordia.
"I have been in the gym every day since baseball ended in the spring," Motschenbacher said.
The Fargo Davis graduate says it’s an honor to be selected for this year’s all-star team.
"There’s 12 guys, which means you were top 12 for Class A," Motschenbacher said.
Motschenbacher is looking forward to the two all-star games and has enjoyed getting to meet his new teammates.
"It’s definitely a cool experience to play against the best players from your class," he added, saying these games will help in his preparation for Concordia.
The 6-2 guard hopes to simply take his game to the next level. He said he's mainly focused on improving his cardio, as well as hitting the weights.
"Concordia has had a couple open gyms this summer, and they also request weightlifting, which I have been doing,” Motschenbacher said.
Despite starting a whole new role with a whole new team, Motschenbacher says he's more excited than nervous about the upcoming season.
“I am really excited. I am ready to get to know the new teammates and should be a playing style that fits me pretty well," Motschendbacher said, adding his goal is to help boost the program, citing the recent struggles the team has had.
Along with Lennon and Motschenbacher, Christian Kuntz from West Fargo Sheyenne, and Kiir Mabor from Fargo South make up the other players from the Fargo-Moorhead area selected to compete on the Class A boys team.