The Lewis-Clark State men’s basketball team was picked to finish fourth in the Frontier Conference in a preseason poll of league coaches, released Tuesday by the league office.
Warriors senior forward P.J. Bolte (pictured left), the 2011-12 Newcomer of the Year in the conference, was chosen as a preseason All-League honoree after leading LCSC with 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game as a junior.
“It’s especially nice for P.J. because we have no say over that. It’s the other coaches in the league that decide that and it’s nice that P.J. has their respect,” LCSC second-year coach Brandon Rinta said. “I think he’s poised to have a very good final year of college basketball.”
Westminster was the top vote-getter in the poll, receiving seven of nine first-place votes and 62 points overall.
Lewis-Clark State earned 41 points, behind second place MSU-Northern and third-place Montana Western.
MSU-Northern won the 2011-12 conference tournament and shared the 2011-12 regular season conference championship with Montana Western, which received the other two first-place votes.
After LCSC, Carroll College was fifth with 40 points, followed by Great Falls and Rocky Mountain. Montana Tech and league newcomer Dickinson State tied for eighth with 12 points.
Westminster senior forward Jake Orchard was the league’s preseason Player of the Year.
“The league was so senior-heavy last year that every team is an unknown except for Westminster,” Rinta said. “We can’t put too much emphasis on the preseason polls, but I think how close the voting was shows that there’s not going to be much difference between the top and bottom teams.”
The Warriors finished the 2011-12 campaign 16-13 overall and 5-9 in Frontier Conference play, and were eliminated in the first round of the conference tournament.
Lewis-Clark State returns a solid senior core in Bolte, guard Donte Archie and forwards Danny Marshall and Nick Fromm. The Warriors are also buoyed by the addition of seven junior college transfers.
Men’s Preseason Player of the Year:
Jake Orchard, Westminster College, 6-4, senior forward
Men’s Preseason All-Conference Team:
P.J. Bolte, Lewis-Clark State, 6-6, senior forward
Devin Jackson, Montana State-Northern, 6-1, senior guard
Ben Cutler, Carroll College, 6-0, senior guard
Matt Lee, Dickinson State, 6-6, senior forward
Marcel Towns, University of Great Falls, 6-2, junior guard